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Passing of a Legend

Today, we lost another legend in Kentucky Optometry with the passing of Dr. Ron McCoy. He was a dear friend and colleague who embraced me as soon as I arrived in Kentucky in 2018. He served on the UPIKE Board of Trustees as one of two OD's. He took this role seriously and always wanted the very best for me and KYCO. I will miss him dearly. In May 2023, at the UPIKE KYCO and KYCOM Commencement Ceremony, Ron brought the graduation address to our students. I had the honor of introducing him. Here is what I said about this wonderful gentleman.

It is my pleasure to introduce today’s commencement speaker. Our speaker is, Dr. Ronald Gene McCoy. But, he doesn’t stand on formality, so he’d likely tell all of us to just call him, Ron.

Ron is a retired Optometrist and UPIKE Board of Trustees member serving on its Executive Committee. He is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and he received his doctor of optometry degree from Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee.

Dr. McCoy was in private optometric practice for over 41 years in Pikeville, Kentucky. He is a lifetime member of the Kentucky Optometric Association and the American Optometric Association. During his career, he was a member of the Lions Club, served on the board of Habitat for Humanity, and traveled on international eye care mission trips. His service to the University of Pikeville goes beyond the Board of Trustees. He has been instrumental in the development and growth of the Kentucky College of Optometry. He has served our college in so many ways- including supervising students in our primary care clinic when we needed him the most.

Dr. McCoy exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism and commitment through his outstanding contributions to the local community and service initiatives. In 2021, the Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO) created and designed the Ronald McCoy Community Service Award to honor a KYCO graduate that embodies the same spirit of service as Dr. McCoy.

At that time, I was quoted as saying, “Dr. Ron McCoy is a skilled and talented optometrist who has provided eye care for countless patients in Eastern Kentucky throughout his career, but you are likely to see him dragging tree limbs out of the road after a storm or on top of a ladder painting a community member’s house. His spirit of giving back extends well beyond his optometric career.” Dr. McCoy’s response to my statement sums up his beliefs. He said, “Community service and helping others is a significant part of my life. The Lord has richly blessed me throughout my life, and I believe we should pass those blessings on to others.” Ron, you have certainly done that!

As an avid golfer, McCoy has served on the board of directors at the Green Meadows Country Club in Pikeville for more than twenty years. He is an active member of the Gideons International local chapter and a member of the Pikeville United Methodist Church, serving on various committees and boards over many years.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention his wife, Mary and their four grandchildren. He loves them all deeply. For the past year or so, Dr. McCoy has had some significant health challenges. And, as is his character, he has faced them all with a deep faith and unwavering spirit. Please help me welcome someone that truly inspires me, Dr. Ron McCoy!

I hope that someday my legacy will be a fraction of Dr. McCoy's. May he rest in peace.

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