In Memoriam --
Dr. Richard Stacey (Staff)
March 14, 1936-March 12, 2017
Born March 14th, 1936, Dr. Richard Stacey died March 12 at
home from cardiac arrhythmia and complications of peripheral vascular
He loved science - and marveled at the complexities of the
human body. But he also loved people, voraciously discussing the human
experience with anyone who would listen; friends, patients, family,
literally everyone sitting next to him on the plane. He loved history and
developed a pathological focus on the Mutiny on the Bounty trilogy. He loved
Turkey and the Turkish culture. Those that played tennis with him will
remember him by his first serve.
He entered the world in Westfield, N.J., 25 miles from New
York City. He later graduated from Dartmouth College in 1957, and then Tufts
Medical School in Boston. He married Connie Moore in Spokane in 1962. The
two of them went into the Peace Corps, where he was a physician in Turkey
for two years. They would ramble around in a Jeep, helping Peace Corps
volunteers (and all others in their path).
After returning from Turkey, he spent 4 ½ years at the Mayo
Clinic in Internal Medicine/Rheumatology. He practiced at the Rockwood
Clinic in Spokane for 27 years.
He was president of the Spokane County Medical Society in
1980, and was largely responsible for closing the city immediately after the
Mt. St.Helens eruption on May 18th.
After retiring in 1991, he participated on several boards -
helping his community in areas where he had passion: music, health, and
growing the city of Spokane.
In 1997, he was honored by the Medical Society as the
“outstanding physician citizen of the year.”
In retirement, he attempted to write a spy novel, which his
estate would like to offer to any potential publisher at an extremely
He also travelled extensively, becoming one of the very few
people on Earth to set foot on Pitcairn Island - the infamous and incredibly
remote “hiding spot” for the mutineers on the HMS Bounty. One of his prized
possessions was a small piece of the Bounty’s keel. Another valued
possession was his extensive collection of Bounty books, now available to
the public in the Cowles Rare Books Collection at Gonzaga University.
He leaves behind three children, and eight grandchildren: Eve
in Seattle (husband John VanNewkirk and children Gus, Jesse, and Lucy); John
in San Francisco (wife Monica Morse, children Piper and Holland); and Chris
in Washington D.C. (husband Sam Stebbins, M.D., step-children Jonathan,
David, and Anna).
He was a glinty-eyed Captain among us: loud, happy, smart,
caring, and fully engaged with the world around him, and the family he
helped to make. He will be tremendously missed.
A Celebration of Life will be held in the Isabella Room at
the Davenport Hotel on Saturday, April 22nd at 11:30 a.m. Please self-park
at Davenport’s Lusso Parking garage on the southwest corner of First Avenue
and Post. Memorial donations may be made to the Inland Northwest Community
Foundation or the Spokane Symphony.
--from Hennessey Funeral
Home & Crematory, Spokane, WA
Dr. Richard Stacey, the Spokane doctor who shut down the city after Mount
St. Helens erupted, dies
UPDATED: Fri., March 17, 2017, 4:24 p.m.
ash blanketed Spokane after Mount St. Helens’ 1980 eruption, Dr. Richard
Stacey worried about the long-term effect on people’s lungs.
president of the Spokane County Medical Society at the time. Working
with others, he helped devise emergency plans that closed schools and
distributed tens of thousands of facial masks to the region’s residents.
largely responsible for shutting down the city,” his son, John Stacey,
recalled this week.
longtime Rockwood Clinic physician and civic volunteer, died Sunday at
his home. He was 80.
family remembered Stacey as a doctor who connected with patients and
helped spur innovations in treating rheumatoid arthritis. He was an avid
traveler who spent two years as a Peace Corps doctor in Turkey early in
his career. Through his volunteer work, he also helped the Spokane
Symphony and other nonprofits achieve greater financial stability.
“He was a
larger than life kind of guy – a doctor and a world traveler,” said Mark
Hurtubise, president and CEO of the Inland Northwest Community
Foundation, where Stacey was a board member and board chairman. “And he
was kind and encouraging.”
as Dick to family and friends, was born March 14, 1936. He grew up in
Westfield, New Jersey, outside of New York City. He graduated from
Dartmouth College and Tufts Medical School in Boston.
to Spokane in 1961 while scouting out medical internships. His sister,
the late Allison Cowles, had married The Spokesman-Review publisher
William Cowles III, and was living in Spokane. Stacey ended up doing his
internship in Philadelphia, but he met Connie Moore, the woman who would
become his wife, in Spokane on a blind date. They married the next year.
couple’s stint in the Peace Corps, they moved to Minnesota, where Stacey
spent 4 1/2 years at the Mayo Clinic. He eventually joined Rockwood
Clinic in Spokane, where he practiced rheumatology for 27 years.
rheumatology because it was a young specialty, and he thought we needed
to find breakthroughs in treatment,” said Dr. Rex Hoffmeister, a
longtime colleague. “He was interested in serving people.”
In the late
1960s, Stacey was involved in pioneering the use of a new drug –
methotrexate – in treating rheumatoid arthritis. It’s still in
widespread use today, Hoffmeister said.
retired from Rockwood Clinic in 1991. He was honored by the Spokane
County Medical Society in 1997 as the “outstanding physician-citizen of
retirement years were busy with volunteer work.
“He felt that
when you are part of a community, you need to give back,” said his wife,
Connie. “It was both a duty and a joy to him.”
Stacey was on
the boards of Blue Cross Washington & Alaska/Premera, Whitworth
University, the Spokane chamber of commerce, Rockwood Clinic Foundation,
WSU Spokane and the Spokane Symphony.
He was board
chairman of the Inland Northwest Community Foundation from 1997 to 2000,
and was proud the endowment increased from $5 million to $35 million
during that time.
“We are the
region’s savings account when it comes to philanthropy,” said Hurtubise,
the foundation president and CEO. The endowment has $100 million now, a
result of the “strategic dreaming” by leaders such as Stacey, he said.
was involved in a $30 million fundraising effort to renovate the Fox
Theater, the home of the Spokane Symphony.
“It was quite
an endorsement to have his name on the campaign,” said Jennifer Hicks,
the symphony’s director of development.
commitments to his family, his medical practice and his volunteer work,
Stacey had what his family called “an obscure passion” for the historic
events depicted in the novel “Mutiny on the Bounty” and later films.
retired, Stacey and three friends visited Pitcarin Island near Tahiti in
the South Pacific, which was settled by British sailors who took part in
a 1789 mutiny. Stacey gave his collection of books about the event to
the Cowles Rare Book Library at Gonzaga University.
wrote an unpublished spy novel in retirement. The plot featured stolen
nuclear engineering plans and took place in Turkey (where Stacey and his
wife often returned to visit), Europe and Idaho.
survived by his wife, Connie; three children and their spouses, Eve and
John VanNewkirk in Seattle; John Stacey and Monica Morse in San
Francisco; Chris and Sam Stebbins in Washington, D.C.; and eight
grandchildren and step-grandchildren.
-- from The [Spokane] Spokesman-Review
He certainly is remembered by us fondly perhaps more for his
humor and his "call to prayer" than for his medical help. And Alex
too...how sad. I last saw them both in Princeton post Peace Corps.
Joan H. Grant