Rememering Bobby Moody
Robert L. 'Bobby' Moody, scion of iconic Galveston founding family, passes away at 88
Robert L. "Bobby" Moody has died, Galveston County's Daily News reported on Tuesday, November 7. Diagnosed with Alzheimer's 10 years ago, Bobby Moody was 88 years old and passed away in his sleep, per the report.
Part of the family that helped turn Galveston into an early-20th-century regional economic powerhouse, Moody himself was a businessman whose family owned or managed banking and insurance companies around the state.
"As a child growing up in Galveston, I respected Bobby Moody and recognized him as a Galveston icon," Tilman Fertitta, chairman, CEO, and owner of Landry's, Inc. — and a Galveston native — noted in a statement.
"Later in life, even when we were at odds, I always regarded Bobby as a formidable adversary known for his tenacity and grit. The Island has lost a true island champion. He has left a legacy of a wonderful family who will continue the Moody's impact on Galveston and Texas for generations."
The Moody name is among the most recognizable on the island and beyond. The Moodys lent their name and philanthropic dollars to several of the city's museums and attractions, including the Moody Mansion, located on Broadway and bought by W.L. Moody, Bobby Moody's grandfather, from its original owners following the Great Storm of 1900; Moody Gardens, the popular Galveston theme park and resort; and Rice University's Moody Center for the Arts, established with a $20 million grant from the Moody Foundation.
The Moody Foundation's biennial report for 2014-2015 described Bobby Moody as a "dreamer and doer," who led by example. Moody retired from helming the foundation in 2015.
In addition to heading the foundation that bears his family name, Moody created the Transitional Learning Center (TLC), a post-acute brain injury rehabilitation facility offering patients physical, occupational, and vocational therapies to transition back into their daily lives, as CultureMap reported. Moody founded TLC following his son Russell's traumatic brain injury, the result of a car accident.
Throughout his career, Moody was lauded for his vision, forward thinking, and game face. “Robert’s game face will stay with me forever,” his brother-in-law Doug McLeod once told the Moody Foundation, “the way he closed one eye and looked at you with the other. It was as if he was examining you.”
“[He] was an absolutely brilliant man,” McLeod later told The Daily News. “Although he was dyslexic and therefore didn’t achieve academically, he was one of the smartest men I’ve ever encountered.”