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Carol



I met Carol my first week on the job at USEPA when by
some great good fortune I was assigned to the regional air
toxics inventory project.  That was back in January of 1993
and I was not supposed to spend much time on it.  But the
inventory project had a commitment and enthusiasm of its
participants and a magic and momentum that was unique
and highly unusual for such workgroups.  I discovered much
of that was due to Carol's expert management, vision, and
her (seemingly) untiring work.  Contrasted with the plodding
bureaucracy, inertia, and endless talking inherent in most of
my agency's work, the inventory group was irresistible!  The
usual impediments in a work environment seemed invisible or
insignificant to Carol.  In a perfect world, Carol Ratza would
run everything.  Our meetings and emails were my morale
boost and I was never able to adequately explain my love and
admiration for the group to my fellow employees at EPA
precisely because it WAS so unusual - I don't think people
believed me that things could go so well or a project be so
enjoyable.  I used to say it would have taken EPA twenty
years to accomplish what Carol and the group did in two. 
What Carol and the group under her leadership have
accomplished in the area of air toxics is, and will continue to
be, of enormous benefit to the environment and to those
agencies and groups working with issues of air quality.  Carol
never sought to take credit for the project's success, and,
indeed, the only time I ever heard her refer to her role, she
called herself "the shepherdess of the group".  But she was
the light and the engine behind the project, inspiring us all. 
Every minute spent with Carol on this project was a gift to
me, personally.  I learned so much from her and my heart
was just lifted up in her presence.  She was the person I
most wished I were like.

I will always remember her at one of our meetings here in
Chicago about two years ago in a beautiful olive-green plaid
flannel shirt, her fabulous hair that I was always so jealous of
gathered behind her, typing away on her computer with one
hand, the other directed toward our contractor, clarifying
some point that was necessary and insightful, but with her
trademark humor.

I will treasure the memories of being with her in Ann Arbor
this past May - laughing over the mural of "the delivery of the
deliverables", stopping to buy a hat for Orlando's cold head,
our jokes about salmon and mangos and an onion (I think
Orlando is working on a recipe), alongside the zipping around
to the IJC meeting in Detroit and seeing Carol participate with
her usual sublime focussed urgency in the workgroups there
that seemed to think they had all the time in the world.

Carol - I've been trying to write this for over a week, but I had
to get the project's "Phase 5" grant award package out by
the deadline (and you know what that grant process is all
about) - but that's what you would have wanted me to be
doing.  Now, though, I want to say thank you for every minute
you gave to this project, thanks for your leadership and
ideas, for always making time for everyone who asked for it,
for your kindness and humor and the fun.  I miss you.

May all of us who knew and worked with Carol continue to be
inspired by her.

Suzanne King
USEPA, Region 5