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Occupational Therapy Association of Oregon

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OTAO History

Respectfully submitted by Sara Pickett, OTR/L, OTAO Past-President, Past-Historian.

Information was submitted to Devereaux Archival Project, sponsored by the American Occupational Therapy Foundation.

All states’ histories are housed in the Wilma L. West Library.


Date of Admission into AOTA:   The original constitution for Occupational Therapy Association of Oregon was approved June 25, 1947, and AOTA approved it during the annual conference in October 1947.

Date of State Licensure: July 27, 1977, signed by Oregon Governor Bob Straub


Names and Descriptions of Important Occupational Therapists in Oregon

  • Mary Boce: First President of OTAO, 1947-1949. Became an OT in 1944 when as a school teacher one of her students became interested in Occupational Therapy. After WWII she along with Julia Strode started the Portland Oregon VA OT Department.
  • Walter Ludtke: Attended University of Puget Sound and graduated in 1956 in OT. From 1956-1959 he worked in Seattle, WA at the University of Washington Hospital. He taught psychiatry at the OT Program there, where at first he only had one student. In 1965 he also taught psychiatry at UPS. In 1967 he started the OTA program at Mt Hood Community College in Oregon. OTAO President 1968-1989.
  • Sue Nelson: Graduated from University of Minnesota in 1956 in OT. Moved to Oregon 1958 and worked at the site of Rehabilitation Institute of Oregon, focusing on testing pre-vocational skills for people with cerebral palsy. President of OTAO 1976-1978. Spear-headed licensure effort for OT in the stated, completed 1977. Has written a book on the history of Occupational Therapy and in particular the influence of OTAO in the state of Oregon. She has elaborated on the 1980 publication of Reflections: The History of Occupational Therapy Association in Oregon.
  • Kay Rhoney: Attended the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, graduating in OT in 1967. Moved to Oregon in 1973 and worked as Director of the OT department until 1979 as what is now the Oregon Health and Sciences University. Vice-President of OTAO during licensure efforts with Sue Nelson. President 1978-1980.
  • Jean Vann: Graduated from Washington University in St. Louis MO in 1950 with a degree in OT. Moved back to Portland OR and worked at Holladay Park Hospital with both clients with psychiatric issues and those who had polio. She was involved with OTAO in many functions including being President two separate occasions, 1952-1954, 1963-1965 and remaining historian until 2014.
  • Lillian Crawford in the 1970s worked with the Clackamas County community mental health. Also was coordinator for the OTA Mt. Hood Community College program. President 1986-1988.
  • Edna Ellen Bell attended Reed College in Portland, OR, then transferred to the University of Oregon and received a BA in Music in 1929. Became an OT in 1944 from Washington University, St. Louis, MO. Founding director of University of Puget Sound OT department, 1944-1952. Presented final draft of constitution for the formation of OTAO to the National Association in 1947. In 1958 was back in Portland, OR, and became the director of OT at the Rehabilitation Institute of Oregon (RIO). Also started the OT department at Columbia Memorial Hospital.
  • Grace Black, chairwoman of committee that originated constitution regarding the formation of OTAO in 1946. Established the OT department at what is now Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU). Involved in many aspects of OTAO, President, 1950-1952. OTAO established Award of Appreciation in 1976 to express recognition to a member of OTAO for contributions to the advancement of OT in Oregon. In 1981 this award was changed to the Grace Black award, as an honor of being a charter member and who throughout her career contributed to the advancement of OT in Oregon.


Name of Past Presidents and Terms

Lori Taylor, 2021-2023

Elizabeth Miller, 2019-2021

Nicole Pavenick, 2017-2019

Jan Cuciti, 2014-2017

Sara Pickett, 2010-2014

Sybil Hedrick, 2006-2010

Robert Love, 2004-2006 (deceased, 2013)

Karen Foley, 2000-2004

Geri Aman, 1997-2000

MaryJo DeVito, 1995-1997

Roberta Wimmer, 1993-1995

Nav Jiwan-Kahlsu, 1990-1993

Candace Shorack-Tatum, 1988-1990

Lillian Crawford, 1986-1988

Cathy Vorhies, 1984-1996

Martha Toynee-Bogrand, 1982-1984

Charlotte deRenne, 1980-1982

Kay Rhoney, 1978-1980

Susan Nelson, 1976-1978

Grace Malpass, 1975-1974

Corky Muzzy, 1974-1975

Bonnie Hardwood, 1972-1974

Linda Johnson, 1970-1972

Walt Ludtke, 1968-1970

Judy Rowe, 1967-1968

Connie Weiss, 1965-1967

Jean Vann, 1963-1965

Pat Evans, 1962-1963

Dorothy Richards, 1960-1962

Elizabeth Callahan, 1958-1960

Robert Glass, 1957-1958

Elizabeth Irle, 1956-1957

Louise Weidlich, 1954-1956

Jean Vann, 1952-1954

Grace Black, 1950-1952

Mary Boyce, 1947-1950

Listing of Who Established OT Departments

Child Development and Rehab Center: Virginia Hatch

Columbia Memorial Hospital: Edna Ellen Bell

Dammasch State Hospital: Wenda Lloyd

Edgefield Manor: Melinda Wayne

Emanuel Hospital: Jean Haase Cooley

Holladay Center: Jan Beelan

Holladay Park Hospital: Jean Vann

Morningside Hospital: Martha Mae Lasche

Oregon State Hospital: Flora Fisher Barrows

Oregon State TB Hospital: Kitty Kemmer

Portland Adventist Hospital: Mary Fender

Providence Hospital: Linda Reed

Portland Rehab Center: Shirley Bowing

(part of Good Samaritan Hospital, which became RIO)

Portland Veterans Administration Hospital: Mary Boyce

Sacred Heart Hospital (Eugene, Oregon): Sister Jean Marie

St. Vincent’s Hospital: Molly Paley

Oregon Health Sciences University: Grace Black

Visiting Nurses Association: Corky Muzzy


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