Final Words: Reflections of a Forensic Pathologist


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Mary Jumbelic is an author from Central New York, and former chief medical examiner of Onondaga County. Performing thousands of autopsies in her career, she elaborates a strong voice for the deceased. She explores through creative non-fiction the imprint the dead have made on her humanity.

Biography of Mary Jumbelic

First Place

Dreamers, 2021

First Place

Women on Writing, April 2021 

First Place

Tortoise and Finch, 2017 

Leslie London Neulander Murder Investigation

Final Days on Earth Podcast, Episode 16

May 4, 2022

 Jill Cahill Murder, 20/20

April 25, 2017

October, 2005

Hurricane Katrina, St. Gabriel, Louisiana

 January – February 2005

Boxing Day Tsunami, Thailand

September 2001

September 11 Terrorist Attacks, New York City

Mary Jumbelic Resume

Mary Jumbelic attended Seton High School in Baltimore, Maryland, graduating in 1974. The Daughters of Charity gave her a lot to think about between her favorite class of English with Sister Andrea and her least favorite of Chemistry with Sister Dolores. She worked part=time, evenings and weekends at TASCO, telephone answering service company, just two blocks from school. Highlights from those years include being on the team “It’s Academic” a TV quiz show, volunteering for the Red Cross, and lettering in Library Club.


  • The Morgue

    The Morgue

    The bleak, gray foyer matched the concrete stone of the outside foundation. A plaque on the wall read, “Let conversation cease. Let laughter flee. Hic locus est ubi mors gaudet succurrere vitae. This is the place where death delights to help the living.”

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  • Stairwell


    A crowd gathered outside as Joe watched through a grimy kitchen window. People huddled in groups of twos and threes facing a deserted apartment building. Joe scanned the area then checked the time on the microwave—7:00 a.m. Folks were getting ready to leave for work. He didn’t recognize most of them; he had moved to…

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  • Death as My Colleague

    Death as My Colleague

    My mother was diagnosed with terminal metastatic pancreatic cancer two months prior to her demise. The moment her internist palpated her liver edge during an abdominal exam I knew the prognosis. The enlarged liver meant the disease had already spread.

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Mass Disaster Work

First Place

Response Team to aid in Mass Disaster of TWA Flight 800 in Suffolk County, Long Island, New York

July 1996

First Place

Response to aid in Mass Disaster of KAL Flight 801 in Guam

August 1997

First Place

Response to EgyptAir Flight 990 Crash

November 1999