Raymond J. McGroarty, MD, FAAP, died on April 13, 2013, in Tacoma, Wash., after being fatally injured by an automobile.
Ray was born on Feb. 25, 1937 to James and Alice McGroarty, and raised on West Liberty Street, Ashley. He graduated from St. Leo's High School and King's College with honors. Upon graduation, Ray attended Dickinson Law School until deciding that medicine was his real calling. In his words, "I realized that law school was a bad place to become a doctor."
Ray graduated from Jefferson Medical College in 1964, the last all-male class. He interned at Jefferson and completed a residency in pediatrics in Philadelphia's St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. He was assigned to Madigan Hospital while serving in the U.S. Army
and chose to settle with his family in Tacoma. Ray practiced pediatrics for more than 35 years, never refusing care to a child regardless of their family's ability to pay.
Ray's smile and unique wit will be missed by those who knew and loved him. He had an unending intellectual curiosity and optimism that propelled him through life, no matter the circumstances. Ray loved to converse and derived great joy from the people around him.
He cared deeply for the community, spending his adult life in its service as a pediatrician and community activist. He set up the Urban Ecology Science Foundation, a non-profit group that created outdoor learning laboratories in the city's untended open spaces. He enlisted a core group of experts in botanical studies from the University of Washington
, the State Department of Fish and Wildlife and various Northwest Indian Tribes. In addition, Ray founded an organization for the families of the graduates of Jefferson in need of assistance and worked with the homeless at St. Leo the Great Church, Tacoma.
Ray is survived by children Sean McGroarty, Erin Becker (Brad) and Jill Piacitelli (Mike); five grandchildren; sister, Mary Alyce McGroarty, and her son, Ray's nephew, David Weise, Levittown; sister, Maureen Mulrooney (Mike), Lake Winola; niece, Megan Mulrooney, Fla.
Friends are invited to attend a memorial Mass, celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday in St. Leo the Great Church, 33 Manhattan St., Ashley. The Rev. Thomas J. O'Malley will officiate. Interment will be in St. Mary's Cemetery, Hanover Township. A Celebration of Life service was held by his family in Tacoma.
Memorial contributions, if desired, may be made to Ashley Food Bank, c/o St. Leo's Church.
For more information, visit the funeral home's website at www.lehmanfuneralhome.com.