Mary Shimoyama

Mary Ellen Shimoyama PhD

Sunday, November 9th, 1952 - Wednesday, February 19th, 2020
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(Nee Walsh) Age 67. At peace February 19, 2020. *PLEASE NOTE: The memorial service is being postponed and will be rescheduled for early summer. Please check back for exact day and time.

Mary Ellen Shimoyama, PhD

Dr. Mary Ellen Shimoyama, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), died suddenly on February 19th, 2020 at the age of 67 at her home in Greendale, WI. Although Mary left this world way too soon, she left a legacy of love, strength, and determination.
Mary was a life-long learner and educator. She graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Science in Music Therapy, and received her Master’s in Leisure Studies at the University of Florida. Decades later, she received her PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at the age of 58, with a Doctorate in BioMedical Informatics. She earned respect and admiration from her colleagues during her twenty years of achievement at MCW. Mary served in many important professional roles:
• Principal Investigator of the Rat Genome Database (funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, NIH)
• Vice Chair of Research and Clinical Affairs of the Department of Biomedical Engineering for the Medical College of Wisconsin
• Associate Professor and Co-Director of Bioinformatics for the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering of Marquette University and MCW
• Adjunct Professor and Co-Director of the Doctoral Program of Biomedical and Health Informatics in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and MCW
• Scientific Advisory Board appointments to the Center for ELSI Resources and Analysis, the Mouse Genome Database, Wormbase, and the NIDA Center for GWAS in Outbred Rats
• Co-Principal Investigator of the Somatic Cell Gene Editing Consortium’s SCGE Dissemination and Coordination Center (funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH)
• Principal Investigator for the MCW subcontract of the Alliance of Genome Resources (funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH)

Dr. Mary Shimoyama will be remembered by her colleagues not only for her impressive achievements and perseverance in advancing science, but also for her generous mentoring of students and colleagues in advancing their individual careers.
Mary was born in Milwaukee on November 9, 1952 to Willard and Arline (nee Lex) Walsh, who preceded her in death. Her brother, Michael, also preceded her in death. Mary is survived by her sisters, Pat (Sarah) Walsh and Anne (John) Gorski; her beloved children, Takuma (Miku), Keito, Naoki (Shannon), and Makishi (Kat); her grandchildren Kai and Mei; and her canine companion, Dexter. Mary had many, many friends around the world whom she held close to her heart.
Mary is remembered fondly by her loved ones for her small, everyday acts of strength and support. She was a sister who always had her heart and arms open. She was a superhero mother who faithfully supported her children and who rejoiced at their every minor and major achievement. She was an ardent advocate of peace, love, and equal rights for everyone. Like Carole King, who was her favorite artist, Mary encouraged others to follow their dreams. She was a pillar of strength for her family and friends and an abundant source of hugs and love. She will be dearly missed.
Please join us in a celebration of Mary’s life at Hartson Funeral Home this summer at a date not yet determined.
In lieu of flowers we encourage donations in her name to support Women in Science or the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) at the Medical College of Wisconsin; the Mitchell Park Domes; Milwaukee County Zoo; or the Wisconsin Humane Society (where she adopted Dexter). MCW donations can be made online at (
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Sue Madden

Posted at 06:03pm
To all of the Shimoyamas,

I was so very sad to hear of your mom’s passing. After reading the obituary, I was not at all surprised at her many achievements and accomplishments. Her best one was, however, being your mom. You and your success was her number one priority.
I would love to celebrate her life with you. Please let me know.


Sue Madden
College Park



Posted at 08:59pm
Hi Dr. Shimoyama!
Thank you so much for your mentorship this past month. We've never met in person, but just over email, you've given me so much knowledge and led me to discover so much more about what you dedicated your life to. Everything that you taught me in this too short of a period will help shape me into a better person.

Vivien Bonazzi

Posted at 06:28pm
Mary you were fabulous and fearless. A great scientist whom I was grateful to know and work with. I will miss you.
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