Friday, August 8, 2014

Passing of Zoo Director Mary Healy

We are devastated to share that Zoo Director, Mary Healy has passed away. Mary had left port in Ecuador on her way to the Galapagos Islands on Thursday when she suffered a cerebral aneurysm. Later that day she was declared brain dead and then suffered a massive coronary heart attack.

Born in 1953, Mary began her career in the zoo profession as a bird keeper at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in South Carolina. Years later, after a stint with a Disney animal park, she made her debut as the Sacramento Zoo Director in December of 1999. Under Mary’s direction, a full-scale veterinary hospital was built at the Sacramento Zoo and renovations for new habitats have been completed for lemurs, Thick-billed Parrots, Giant Anteaters, Ground Hornbills, Burrowing Owls, Yellow-billed Magpies, Tamanduas, giraffes, Red Pandas and North American River Otters.

Throughout that time, Mary dedicated time to serve as Chair of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. She also served on the Accreditation Commission. Mary was the president of the California Association of Zoos and Aquariums and was one of nine international council members for the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Last year, Mary was presented with a Women Who Mean Business award by the Sacramento Business Journal.

Mary Healy was a leader in the community and a passionate advocate for animals.  She will be greatly missed by zoo staff, colleagues, supporters and the larger zoo community.

A memorial in Mary’s honor will be held at a later date. Her family has requested that no flowers be sent and donations in her memory be made to the Sacramento Zoological Society.


  1. Mary was my boss and my friend for several years at Disney's Discovery Island. She taught me much about animals, zoos and life. I will treasure those memories and emulate her zest for life and making a difference. Prayers and hugs for Steve and her family.

  2. Our hearts were saddened to hear of the sudden loss of Mary Healy. Mary has left a legacy in Sacramento as she transformed the Sacramento Zoo, with her dreams and leadership. Everytime we visit, now as grandparents, we comment the transformation. May her family and collegues be comforted during this difficult time. Her life will live on in the zoo-

  3. I'm so sorry to hear of Mary's passing. I had met Mary at a Zoo event and have watched the growth and transformation of the Zoo under her leadership. She will be greatly missed.