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William Edward Moody, MD

Dr. William Edward Moody, 1966

Name:  William Edward Moody, MD

Date:  1966

Image Number:  DrWEMoody1966

Comments:  William Edward Moody was born on January 16, 1908 in Cleveland, Ohio, and was the son of Fred Elvin Moody and Martha Ida (Kroenke) Moody.  He attended public schools in Cleveland, and after graduation he first attended pharmacy school.  He practiced pharmacy and taught that subject from 1828-1936, after which he entered Western Reserve Medical School in Cleveland and received his medical degree in 1941.

Dr. Moody married the former Eleanor Smith of Cleveland on June 26, 1929; Eleanor was the daughter of Arthur D. Smith and Stella (Wyandt) Smith.  In 1941, Dr. and Mrs. Moody moved to Charlottesville where Dr. Moody was a resident physician at the Martha Jefferson Hospital.  In 1942, Uncle Sam claimed him, and Dr. Moody was an Army doctor for four years.  During his Army service, Dr. Moody served for two and one-half years in the South Pacific war theatre with an infantry division, doing duty at emergency hospitals.

In 1946, Dr. Moody and his wife and their two children, Edward and Jean Moody, moved to Scottsville. Dr. Moody became Scottsville's only full-time general practitioner of medicine.  Dr. Moody also played an active part in community affairs in Scottsville and served as the first Commander of the Scottsville Post of Veterans of Foreign Wars when it was organized in 1946.  Dr. Moody also served as Department Surgeon of the Virginia VFW organization and did much to keep the Scottsville VFW organization a successful one. Dr. Moody also served as a member of the Albemarle County School Board, the Scottsville Presbyterian Church, and the Scottsville Masonic Lodge.

Following is an article about Dr. Moody by David A. Maurer which was published in The Daily Progress, Charlottesville, Virginia, on February 3, 1991:

Country Doctor Served 40 Years

In all, Dr. Moody served as a country doctor with a busy practice in Scottsville for 44 years until his retirement in 1990.  As an example of 'busy', Dr. Moody once hurried for more than a mile between trees and pushed through the underbrush in the Buckingham County woods, clutching his black medical bag.  All he'd been told at his Scottsville office was that a man was injured out in the woods.

"When I finally got to the injured man, a big husky fellow, he was laying on the ground in considerable pain," Moody recalled.  "The men had been out cutting pulpwood and were kicking up these five-foot sections onto a pile with their knees."   "The injured man had knocked his kneecap clear off to the side of his leg -- a right painful thing," he said.  "I put him to sleep with some ether, got it back into place, and wrapped it up."

"When he came back around, I told him he should go into the hospital, but I doubt if he did," he said.  "I know I never got paid, but there were a lot of times I never got paid."

Other doctors have come and gone from the small town of Scottsville, but from the time Moody arrived there, after serving as a U.S. Army physician in the South Pacific during World War II, he stayed.  From 1946 until his retirement in 1990, he administered to the sick and injured in his community and surrounding areas.

Moody was one of the last stalwart souls who called themselves country doctors.  Originally, he'd come to Charlottesville to practice, but when he learned Scottsville was in need of a doctor, he went there.

While performing his job, he sloshed through mud and snow and been drenched in rainstorms.  On uncountable occasions, he's been jarred awake in the middle of the night by a knock on the door or a ringing telephone.

"I never minded getting up in the middle of the night to help somebody out," Moody said.  "That was a part of the job, and I think people appreciated and respected doctors more back then because they'd do that."

"It could be aggravating at times when someone would pull a stinker on you though," Moody said with a smile.  "Sometimes when people would call, they'd give me an exaggerated picture of the situation, making sure I'd come, I suppose."

"I'd rush right out there and instead of the woman being almost dead, she'd be playing with the kids or something," he said.  "I'll tell you the best thing that ever happened to the country doctor were these rescue squads they have now."

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1908, Moody first became a pharmacist before attending Western Reserve University medical school where he graduated in 1941.  At the time when many doctors were becoming specialists, Moody opted to become a general practitioner, a decision he's never regretted.

Going into medicine for money is abhorrent to Moody, who feels a person should choose the profession to help people and do a little good in the world.  On many occasions, Moody's fee would be a sack of tomatoes or a front seat full of turnips or just a heartfelt thank you.

When he first started his practice in Scottsville, the doctor said the cost of having a baby, including prenatal and postnatal care, was about $50.  A house call was $20 plus mileage.  Being able to improvise and good common sense were two qualities that served Moody well during his career as a country doctor.  Often, when he made house calls, his skill as a physician and his imagination were both tested.

"I got a call once that a woman was in pain and, when I got out to the place, here she's having a baby," Moody said.  "No towels, not even a newspaper around, and no hot water." "I pulled the white shoelaces out of one of the kid's tennis shoes, sterilized it, and used that to tie off the umbilical cord," he said.  "Actually shoe strings are very good for that because they won't cut into the cord."

A. Raymon Thacker, Mayor of Scottsville, has know the doctor since he first drove into town in a 1946 Ford sedan.  If the town ever had a better doctor, or a more loved one, Thacker doesn't know about it.

"Doctor Moody was an exceptionally good doctor, who kept up on all the latest medical procedures," Thacker said.  "He was always in and out of doctor meetings learning about new techniques and better ways to treat his patients."

"He took a great deal of interest in the welfare of the community; a very sincere, kind man," he said  "He was always accessible at any time, and when you gave him a call, he was there in not time flat.  He is sorely missed by the townspeople," Thacker said.

Although a doctor now visits the town a few times a week, there's no longer a full time physician.  On more than one occasion, Moody's availability saved a life.  "A little after lunch one day, a man walked into my office downtown and said he thought he was just wasting my time but he had just been bitten on the head by a half dozen bees," Moody said. "He said he felt all right but thought he'd tell me about it anyway."

"Just then he went down, and I thought he either had a heart attack or had gone into anaphylactic shock from the bee stings," he said.  "It was shock, and I brought him out of it, but if he would have gone down to work, he'd have been dead." Except for two weeks a year, when Moody and his wife would vacation in Florida, he was available around the clock to the people for help, encouragement and advice.  Like any good physician, Moody said he took patient/doctor confidentiality as seriously as a priest takes the vows of the confessional.

"People get used to you and many times, especially with older people, they just want to talk and upload their problems," he said.  "So you listen and maybe give them a little advice, and they fell better because they know whatever they'd tell me would go no further."

After giving so much to his town, Moody said the hardest job he ever had was retiring.  Putting away his black medical bag with, "a little bit of everything in it," was a necessity brought on by age.

"I wouldn't mind repeating the last 40 years, but, of course, we can't do that," Moody said.  "But I'm still the happiest guy in the world.  I have a wonderful wife, and I got to help a lot of people, which always made me feel good, like I'd done a good deed."

1)  Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes, 1810-1973, Marriage Record of William E. Moody and Eleanor Smith, June 26, 1929; Reel086MarriageRecords 1929June-1929Nov.

2)  William E. Moody, Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014; Number: 288-12-1160; Issue State: Ohio; Issue Date: Before 1951;, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 (database on-line), Provo, UT, USA:

3)  "Country Doctor Served Town for 44 Years" by David A. Maurer; The Daily Progress; Charlottesville, VA, Sunday, February 3, 1991.

4)  "Dr. Moody Active in Community Affairs Since Coming Here in 1946" by Elizabeth Wimer; The Scottsville Sun, Scottsville, VA, Thursday, August 19, 1954.

5)  "Scottsville Veterans Day Parade Set"; Scottsville Sun, November 3, 1966.

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Image Located On:  Capturing Our Heritage, 'C'mon Home Celebration', 10 June 2017



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