Dr. Frank G. Moody, 88, McGovern Medical School’s second chair of the Department of Surgery, died Aug. 12, 2016, from complications of pneumonia while vacationing in Sweden.
Internationally recognized for his research and surgical treatment of diseases of the digestive system with special emphasis on peptic ulcer, gallstones, inflammation of the intestine, and the treatment of morbid obesity, Moody was recruited to the medical school to lead the Department of Surgery in 1982 by former dean Dr. Ernst Knobil. He served as the Denton A. Cooley Professor and Chairman until he retired from the position in 1994, and he remained an active member of the faculty and the medical school community.
A native of New Hampshire, Moody graduated from Cornell University Medical College and completed post-graduate training at Cornell’s New York Hospital. Although he originally intended to become a psychiatrist, his interests in medical school soon turned to academic surgery with a commitment to research and teaching that lasted a lifetime.
Prior to joining UTHealth, Moody held faculty appointments at the University of California in San Francisco (1963-66), the University of Alabama (1966-71), and the University of Utah where he chaired the surgery department from 1971–82. Over the years he took great pride in the fact that he had trained dozens of outstanding academic surgeons with more than a few becoming chairs of surgical departments around the country. When asked about his many accomplishments, he always shared credit with his parents and key academic mentors, including Drs. Richard Durbin and Bert Dunphy (San Francisco) and Dr. John Kirklin at the University of Alabama.
In retirement he found more time to spend with family and pursue his love of mountain hiking and skiing at his homes in Utah and Sweden that he shared with his partner, Inger. Never one to fully retire, he commuted between Utah and Houston on a regular basis to continue his research interests at UTHealth’s Trauma Research Center. Research, along with the opportunity to work with medical students during their third and fourth year of training, supplanted any idea of full retirement. He had recently penned his autobiography, Frank Reflections, and was honored by the American Surgical Association with the 2016 Medallion for Advancement of Surgical Care.
Moody is survived by his three children by first marriage to his late wife Barbara Schmelzer – Anne, Frank, and Jane. His second wife, Maria (Maja) Charlotta Stolpe, who was a beloved partner for more than 40 years, died at the age of 89 in 2004. His third partner, Inger, has been a constant support and companion during the final decade of his life that was filled with travel, research, and his lifelong passion for skiing and mountain hiking.
Details regarding memorial services will be forthcoming.