Dr. William Edwin Moak
William Edwin Moak, Richton's steadfast, brilliant, beloved doctor, died on Wednesday, surrounded by his family, at Forrest General Hospital. He was 88.
Dr. Moak was born in Philadelphia, MS on July 25, 1925, to Conway Columbus Moak and Katie Elizabeth Bridges Moak. After graduating from Philadelphia High School, he attended Millsaps College where he was a member of the V12 Navy College Training Program. Dr. Moak met his beautiful and loving wife, Lucy Gerald Moak, while they were both students at Millsaps College. They were married for 60 years. Dr. Moak went on to attend medical school at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Following his medical training, Dr. Moak served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Sitkoh Bay as the ship's doctor during the Korean War.
In the early 1950s Dr. Moak and Lucy moved to Richton, MS, where Dr. Moak opened his first medical office in the back of Carley's drug store. Dr. Moak's energetic dedication to the Richton community spurred him to build the Richton Medical Clinic, which provided residents with exceptional medical care and included a full operating lab. Multiple nurses could hardly keep up with Dr. Moak's daily routine of hospital visits, surgeries and patient office appointments; it was common for Dr. Moak to see over 100 patients in just one day. But despite his demanding work schedule, Dr. Moak nearly always made time to join Lucy for lunch before returning to his patients.
The town of Richton honored Dr. Moak in 2010 with a reception and the establishment of a scholarship fund through The Greater PineBelt Community Foundation. One tribute at the reception characterized Dr. Moak as, "much like the comfort a security blanket gives to a young child while he sleeps. Dr. Moak has been this to the town of Richton - our security for 60 years. We can rest better at night knowing he is here, always available to those of us in need."
Not only did Dr. Moak help secure the Richton community for over 60 years, but he also served as medical director of the Perry County Memorial Hospital for 30 years, president of the Rotary Club of Richton and member of the Richton School Board. Dr. Moak was a Board Certified physician and a Diplomate of the American Board of Family Medicine. For over 10 years he served on the board of the Mississippi State Medical Association, and he was a diligent member of the Southern Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Dr. Moak was predeceased by his beloved Lucy in 2007. He is survived by a proud and loving family: his sister, Sarah Moak Godwin of Athens, GA; his daughter, Susan Moak Sheldon and her husband, A. Jerry Sheldon of Jackson, MS; his son, Thomas Edwin Moak, M.D. and his wife, Mary Neely Moak of Atlanta, GA; grandson, Jason Edwin Sheldon and his wife, Rhea Hudson Sheldon of Purvis, MS; granddaughter, Catherine Sheldon Strawn, her husband, Bradley Eugene Strawn and great grandsons, Jack Eugene Strawn and Samuel Hughson Strawn of Atlanta, GA; grandson, William Edwin Moak, of New York City and grandson, Thomas Edwin Moak, Jr. of Atlanta, GA.
The life of Dr. Moak will be celebrated at Richton United Methodist Church on Saturday May 3, 2014. Visitation will be at the church from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. in the fellowship hall. Services will begin at 11:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary. The family invites everyone in the Richton community to attend and pay their respects, as this town was the light and life of Dr. Moak for over 60 years.
In remembrance of Dr. Moak, please honor God's work of caring for the sick and indigent by donating to the Greater PineBelt Community Foundation's Moak/Cole scholarship fund. This scholarship is awarded to students in Perry or Greene County who are pursuing higher education in the medical field: The Greater PineBelt Foundation, 1507 Hardy Street, Suite 208, Hattiesburg, MS, 39401 - Attention: Theresa Erickson. Jones & Son Funeral Home was in charge of the arrangements.
Published in Clarion Ledger on May 2, 2014