When Harry Lynn Moore, MD, graduated from Medical College of Virginia in 1958, the standard medical resources of the time were penicillin, aspirin and X-rays. Although the breadth of medications, treatments and imaging options have expanded by an almost astronomical degree since then, two important things haven’t changed: the fundamentals of being a good doctor and Dr. Moore’s dedication to them.
Throughout his more than six decades of practice as a family medicine physician, Dr. Moore has always seen medicine as a service — almost a calling — rather than just a profession. And as he prepares to retire, it’s clear that patients and the entire community will remember him for his willingness to listen and understand, his compassion and good humor, and, most of all, his deep desire to help.
“As physicians, we’re there for the patients — that should never change,” says Dr. Moore. “To ensure that medicine is useful, we can’t sacrifice the fundamentals of service. If there’s one thing I hope to see live on past me, it’s that. Doctors need to always make sure they’re listening to what patients are trying to tell them and making that incredibly important connection with them.”
Decades of Dedication
Growing up in Blacksburg, Dr. Moore first became interested in medicine by getting to know his own physician, who was also a neighbor and close friend of the family. He was struck by his doctor’s consistent friendliness, concern and integrity, and decided to follow that path.
After attending college, he completed his internship in Springfield, Ohio, and then became a staff member at Kings Daughters Hospital, eventually transitioning over to Augusta Health.
Through 61 years of family medicine, Dr. Moore says he enjoyed obstetrics the most because of the delight of delivering a baby. He jokes that he knew he was getting old the first time an expectant mother revealed that he’d delivered her as well.
In many cases, he has been the family doctor for multiple generations — for a few families, five generations have been to his exam room.
“I’ve been honored to have so many wonderful people as my patients,” he says. “I don’t think I’ve done anything unusual or outstanding in my career, but I’ve tried to be as available and knowledgeable as possible.”
That level of humility is another hallmark of Dr. Moore’s personality, according to Rob Marsh, MD, who’s been fortunate to have him as a mentor and colleague since 1990.
“He’s a legend for so many reasons. He’ll tell you he’s not, but all of us in this community know differently,” says Dr. Marsh. “His nickname is ‘Honey,’ because he’s so sweet and modest, and he is committed to the community.”
Commitment to Community
Dr. Moore’s dedication goes beyond the exam room. At Riverheads High School, he has served as the physician and advisor for the athletic teams, a role he’s planning to keep during retirement. In 61 years, Dr. Moore has only missed one football game — that includes away games — and that was when his father died.
“The words that best describe Dr. Moore are integrity, quality, authenticity, vision and exuberance,” says Tim Morris, athletic director at Riverheads. “The man never tires, and if there’s a ballgame around, people are more surprised when he’s not there than when he is. I have never known a more generous and giving man.”
It’s not just his manner that’s worth noting, Dr. Marsh adds.
Dr. Moore’s level of skill as a physician is impressive, because he’s had to be on the front lines of medicine over so many years, keeping up with monumental shifts that are continuing to speed up in terms of innovation and change.
That ever-quickening pace of medicine is part of what’s leading him to retire, Dr. Moore says. Most of all, though, he’s ready at age 86 to spend his days with his wife, five children, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He laughs at the thought that he certainly won’t stop being busy.
And he’s happy to keep watching how medicine changes, as long as new physicians keep the most important aspects in mind.
“If anything, I hope my time as a doctor has shown the value of being part of patients’ lives, and caring for them deeply,” he says. “That’s what I want my legacy to be.”