Our beloved father, William A. Eddy, M.D., died peacefully at home last month. He was surrounded by his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and extended family members. Known as Bill to friends and family and Papa to his grandchildren, he lived a full and action-packed life with our mother Joan.
Our dad’s early days were modest. He was born at home in Cleveland, Ohio in 1927. His father, a blind piano tuner, died when he was three years old and when our grandmother was expecting our dad’s only sibling, Jim Eddy. His mother worked multiple jobs and raised her sons in public housing in Cleveland and Youngstown. Our dad would look back fondly on his youth and reveled in memories of playing stickball in the streets with his pals, walking to school through the snow and riding on the city street trolley.
Dad attended Catholic schools through high school, largely on scholarships. He entered college at age sixteen and graduated from Western Reserve University (now Case Western University). His education was disrupted in 1946 when he was drafted into the Army and served our country in Alaska, Virginia, and Petaluma, California. The latter posting sparked his lifelong love for California. In 1948 he returned to Case and graduated at age twenty-one. He enrolled at New York Medical College under the G.I. Bill and graduated with an M.D. degree in 1952.
Dad met our mother at a Halloween dance at Flower Fifth Avenue Hospital in New York City, where he toiled as a medical student and she as a nursing student. Both frequently reminisced about their sweet courtship. They married in 1952 during a blizzard in Malvern, NY, a union that would last for six decades. The couple began their new life together in Brooklyn, bearing four children. Sadly, two of our siblings perished as infants before we could know them. In 1958, the family of four made a bold journey across the country and arrived in Long Beach, California. Five more children were added to the family and we were raised in a home centered on family, friends, and church. When asked how he and Mom could handle seven kids at once, Dad would casually reply, “Well, the older kids took care of the young ones.” Our parish, Our Lady of Refuge, was fundamental to our upbringing.
Our father operated an independent OB/GYN practice in Long Beach from 1958 to 1995, while also working on the St. Mary’s and Memorial Hospitals’ staff. He was supported by an exceptional office staff and talented colleagues. Our home phone would ring at all hours of the day and night, mostly calls from the hospital, to which he never hesitated to respond. Along with providing primary medical care for women, it is estimated that he delivered over 7,000 babies. He continued to review medical journals into his 90s.
Dad wrote a biography towards the end of our mother’s life and said that “Joan and I were almost always together, with few exceptions.” Together they traveled extensively to faraway places, including all seven continents. They were not deterred, even after being shipwrecked off the coast of Antarctica. They biked in the Solvang Century, the Tour de Tucson and other bike races with their faithful group of friends. They managed to balance their careers and family life with social time, friendships and bridge nights. Together, they made life a wonderful adventure.
In addition to their own children, our parents were blessed with fifteen grandchildren and four great grandchildren. They cherished their Eddy, Finney and Buonocore nieces and nephews scattered across the country. Mom and Dad welcomed our spouses and partners into the family and Dad often bragged of his in-law’s successes. To our parent’s many friends and neighbors, thank you for making their lives complete and so much fun.
Our father was preceded in death by our mother Joan, his brother, Jim, our sister, Rosemary and brother, Paul. He is survived by his children Peter, Jane, John, Mary, Margaret, Bill Jr. and Sally. Dad, we miss you immensely, but your spirit lives strong among us.
Private services are pending, in lieu of flowers, please send a donation to Our Lady of Refuge Church or the Boys and Girls Club of the Los Angeles Harbor.