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Bellville Times


Richard “Dick” Eugene Leigh, Jr., M.D., peacefully passed from this life on Saturday, the 18th of May 2013, at the age of 95.

Dr. Leigh was born in Houston, Texas, on the 15th of February 1918, to Richard Eugene Leigh, Sr. and Inez Procter Leigh. He graduated from San Jacinto High School in 1935, received his Bachelor of Arts from Rice Institute in 1939, and his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Texas Medical School, Galveston, Texas, in 1942.  He completed his post-graduate work in Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School.

With the onset of World War II, Lieutenant Leigh joined the United States Navy and performed a rotating internship at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1943.  He was then assigned to the School of Aviation Medicine in Pensacola, Florida, and was designated a Naval Flight Surgeon.  Afterward, he was Medical Officer in Charge and Flight Surgeon at the United States Naval Facility, Litchfield Park, Arizona, followed by an assignment as flight Surgeon to the Spotting Squadron, VOC-2

He participated in the Battle of Okinawa and numerous combat actions off the coast of Southern Japan on the aircraft carrier USS Fanshaw Bay.  For this meritorious conduct, he and his air group were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.

His service in the United States Navy and studies at Harvard Medical School from 1946 to 1947, were followed by a three-year preceptorship in Ophthalmology at Kuhn Clinic in Hammond, Indiana, with emphasis on Industrial Ophthalmology under Dr. Hedwig Kuhn.  From 1950 to 1951 he concluded his training in Ophthalmology at Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas.

Dr. Leigh entered into the private practice of Ophthalmology in 1951, in Houston, Texas, and later expanded his practice to Bellville, Texas, before his retirement.

Dr. Leigh taught at the Department of Ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine and the Department of Ophthalmology at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital.  While at St. Luke’s, Dr. Leigh and Dr. Thomas Van Zant established the Department of Ophthalmology at St. Luke’s.  There he also served as Assistant Chief of Ophthalmology, succeeding Dr. Van Zant as Chief of Ophthalmology upon his retirement.

Dr. Leigh served on numerous committees of the Harris County Medical Society, including Chairman of the Public Relations, Medical Jurisprudence Committee, the Executive Committee, and the Nominating Committee.

He was President of the Houston Ophthalmological Society, a member of the Texas Ophthalmological and Otolaryngological Society, the American Association of Ophthalmology, and the American Medical Association.  In 1966, the House of Delegates of the Texas Medical Society voted Dr. Leigh an “honorary” member for his outstanding contribution to the profession of the medicine and to the people of Texas.  Upon retirement he was named an Emeritus Member.

Dr. Leigh was a charter member of the Texas Ophthalmological Society, member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, diplomate of the American Board of Ophthalmology and Life Member of the Southern Medical Association.  He helped charter the former Doctors Club of Houston, serving on the Board of Governors.

In 1960, the Lighthouse for the Blind recognized him for his contribution to rehabilitation progress in work with the blind in Harris County.  Dr. Leigh was a cofounder of the first eye bank in Houston, which later became the Lions’ Eye Bank.  He established the Lighthouse for the Blind Optical Aids Department and served on the Board of Directors.

Posted by Joy Neely



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