Gary F. and Iris J. Moore
Dec 27, 2018 12:03PM
By Gary F. Moore
Gary F. Moore, M.D., FACS, 67
I thought I had everything figured out...until I met Iris.
I was valedictorian, a National Merit Scholar, and top of my dental school class. I knew exactly where I was going. She had been my organic chemistry lab partner, and because Mama didn’t raise no fool, I asked her to be my partner forever. When her green eyes and priceless tenacity left to pursue medical school in Omaha, I could not follow her fast enough. I switched from dentistry to medicine and let the cards fall where they may. That is why, for 45 years, I’ve introduced myself as “Iris’ husband.” I thought there was no greater title.
Until we had children. Being called “Papa” usurped any letters that might follow my name. As a father and a physician, I’ve learned people are willing to go much further when they feel they are being led and not pushed. I have trained 100-plus surgeons and raised three children, and I have tried to impress upon them two things: be your own boss, and first impressions matter. Which is why investing in yourself—not just in education and business, but in your appearance—is tantamount to success. In today’s culture of anything-means-business-casual, it is easy for performance to mirror attire. Dress like you give a damn.
As I have aged, I have discovered I enjoy the simple things in life. I want to spend as much time as possible with my family, drink good red wine, and be the best-dressed guy in the room. Because moderation is a wonderful thing…as long as you don’t overdo it.
Iris J. Moore, M.D., FACS, 67
I grew up on a cattle ranch in Colorado, then moved a world away to spend my teenage years helping my parents run an orphanage in equatorial Brazil. The last place I thought I’d end up was Omaha. But it’s worked out pretty well.
Before medical school, I didn’t even know what an ear, nose, and throat surgeon did—I just wanted to find solutions to problems. Not only was I the first person in my family to graduate college, I earned six degrees from the University of Nebraska and have made Omaha my home for nearly 40 years.
I fought gender politics in medicine while building a practice, raised three wonderful children despite working 80-hour weeks, and stayed married to my best friend and partner when it would have been easier to quit. I just don’t quit. That’s probably the best advice I can give—whether someone’s starting out or barely hanging on.
Even though no one thinks I will ever retire, I am actually looking forward to it. I’ll spend more time mentoring prospective physicians through the Nebraska Women’s Leadership Network, care for those the world has forgotten, and ride my horses at sunset. Maybe I will even slow down enough to enjoy some “coffee with my cream,” as friends say.
I will probably be late to my own funeral, but until that day, I am going to embrace my age, my wrinkles, and my failures. Because all of them tell the story of who I am and whom I have yet to become.
This article first appeared in the January/February 2019 edition of 60PLUS in Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.