It takes a special kind of doctor to deal with frantic first-time mothers, dispense advice to anxious fathers and calmly teach life lessons to young children, but by all accounts Dr. Richard Moore was that kind of physician.
And, despite more than 10 years since his retirement, many in Elyria are saddened by his death, which occurred Monday.
“I think you can find a thousand people to say the same thing about Dr. Moore. He was just tremendous,” said Elyria school board member Don Boddy.
Moore was the Boddy family’s pediatrician for years. The kind of doctor who would thoroughly examine a young patient, then call their parents into his office for a chat.
“As a parent, you can understand how important it was to have that,” said Boddy, a father of three now-adult children. “Often he would subtly request to my wife that I come once in a while so I could hear his method of medicine and so he could hear my concerns. He brought a comfort level to young parents with young children who didn’t know any of the answers. He was very supportive in helping you through that time in your life.”
Moore practiced in Elyria for more than 30 years.
Kristin Davis, a spokeswoman for EMH Healthcare, said Moore was not an EMH employee, but he had privileges to practice at EMH from December 1967 to March 2002 when he retired from his private practice. He was chairman of the hospital’s Department of Pediatrics for many years.
Prior to settling in Elyria, Moore received his medical degree from Yale University and completed his internship and residency at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.
To fellow doctors, Moore was a friend, colleague and mentor.
“One day I asked him why he became a doctor, and I will never forget his answer,” said Dr. Paula Farner. “He said that despite all the hardships and difficulties in being a pediatrician, or even a doctor for that matter, it was still the noblest profession in the world. He really just couldn’t think of anything else in the world he wanted to do.”
Farner, who often cared for Moore’s patients while he was out of town or unavailable, said he eagerly did the same for her, offering up his astuteness and keen sense of observation to any patient.
“If he had a suspicion that something wasn’t right, it was generally correct,” Farner said. “Very quickly upon meeting him and getting a sense of that, you had an immediate respect for him. When he retired 10 years ago, we knew we would miss him very much, even though we understood he wanted to be with his family and his wife, who he was very devoted to all these years.”
Farner said Moore had a dry sense of humor and always tried to look on the lighter side of things. And, if he was spotted going to and from his East River Street office, it likely was on foot because he was always walking — rain, sleet or snow.
For many years, Moore lived on Hamilton Avenue and would walk to work to preserve his health and skip the wear-and-tear on an automobile. Nearly 15 years ago, a photo in The Chronicle-Telegram showed a snowy scene — Farner said it was taken near the intersection of East River and Broad streets — and it was well-known in the medical community that the figure standing to the side carrying an umbrella was Moore heading to the hospital.
Family friend Charles Hyman, a retired local attorney, said Moore was dedicated to every aspect of his life and his friends often benefited from that kindness.
“If he was your friend, he was a very good friend,” he said. “He was a very caring person.”
After leaving Elyria and moving to the Cleveland area, Moore became the girls’ lacrosse coach at the Hawken School, a private school in Gates Mills. But few people could probably guess that he did not know much about the game before taking the job, Hyman said.
“He bought every book possible to learn about lacrosse, including a book on Lacrosse, Wis.,” Hyman said jokingly. “If he was going to do something, he was going to do his best at being the best. So, he just learned and, ultimately, he had winning teams.”
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.