American Surgical Association Transactions

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1952 - 2017

JEFFREY F. MOLEY, M.D., 1952 - 2017

Jeffrey Fletcher Moley, M.D., a highly regarded Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Section of Endocrine and Oncologic Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, died Sunday, October 15, 2017, at his home in Kirkwood.

Dr. Moley was born in New York City, September 13, 1953. He graduated from Harvard University Magna Cum Laude in Biological Anthropology. He then received his MD degree from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, where he received the Dean's Fellowship for Medical Student Research. Dr. Moley performed his internship and residency at Yale New Haven Hospital, taking three years out to do oncology research at the Surgery Branch of the National Cancer Institute. He finished his residency in General Surgery and served as chief resident at Yale New Haven Hospital. Dr. Moley was initially appointed to the faculty at Yale University School of Medicine, but was quickly recruited by Dr. Samuel Wells to join the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine, in St. Louis. He was appointed Assistant Professor in 1988 and was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure in 1994. In 1997, he became chief of the Section of Endocrine and Oncologic Surgery. In 2001, Dr. Moley was promoted to Professor of Surgery.

Dr. Moley held many important leadership positions at Washington University School of Medicine. He was the acting chief of surgery at the John Cochran V.A. Hospital from 2003 until 2005 and then became chief of the Surgical Service at the St. Louis V.A. Medical Center from 2005-2008. In 1997, he was appointed co-leader of the Clinical and Translational Research Program of the Siteman Cancer Center and also held the position of Associate Director of the Siteman Cancer Center.

For more than two decades, Dr. Moley was a pioneer in researching and treating Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN) along with Samuel Wells, Jr., M.D. former head of Washington University's Department of Surgery. Dr. Moley was an important contributor to the team that identified the genetic mutations responsible for MEN syndromes. Under Dr. Wells' guidance, Dr. Moley helped gather and catalog one of the largest collection of kindred MEN syndrome patients in the world. Dr. Moley led many clinical and translational research projects, including surgical management of recurrent disease, preventative thyroidectomy in MEN2 gene curriers, and identification of novel molecular targets in thyroid cancers. He also developed and led clinical trials of systemic targeted therapy for thyroid cancer. He had 124 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 48 book chapters, 3 books and 5 movies.

Dr. Moley was a master surgeon. He was comfortable in performing operative procedures on patients with complex, recurrent medullary thyroid cancer and equally capable performing preventive thyroidectomies in infants as young as three months. Although he loved endocrine surgery, he was also adept at performing other types of complex oncologic surgeries.

Because of his expertise and comfort in the operating room, he was loved by trainees. He was recognized as Clinical Teacher of the Year, from Washington University School of Medicine on several occasions. He also received the Mentorship Award from the General Surgery chief residents, and was responsible for mentoring a large number of successful surgical oncologists in academic positions. Numerous teaching sessions with pizza in his home were very popular.

Dr. Moley maintained a lifelong interest in history and politics. The latter was likely influenced by his grandfather, Raymond Moley, who was a member of President Franklin D. Rossevelt's “Brain Trust”, a group of advisors who helped shape policies of the New Deal. Dr. Moley's compassion, empathy and attention to detail were no doubt influenced by his father, Malcolm Moley, M.D. who was a surgeon in New York City. Jeff would often recount stories of making rounds on patients with his father.

Dr. Moley was married for 30 years to Kelle H. Moley, M.D., the James P. Crane Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University School of Medicine. Jeff was so proud of Kelle's many research accomplishments and watched her receive the 2nd Century Award from Washington University shortly before he passed.

Anyone who knew Jeff knew that he loved sports and music. Jeff was an accomplished jazz guitarist and mandolin player. He led the Fletcher Moley Group, a local jazz and rhythm & blues band. He was also an accomplished bluegrass band player.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Moley is survived by three accomplished, athletic and supportive sons, Patrick, Charles and John; his mother, Janis Walton Moley; a sister, Janis McCarthy; and a brother, Roger Moley.

In recognition of his many contributions to the field of Endocrine and Oncologic surgery, and his many contributions to the Department of Surgery and to Washington University School of Medicine, his colleagues in the Department of Surgery created the Jeffrey F. Moley Professorship of Surgery in the Department of Surgery. He will be remembered fondly by all, and forgotten by none.