Posted on: January 26, 2022
Eric “Rick” Livers passed away on November 7, 2021. Rick courageously tried to live a full life, even after Alzheimer’s disease made it difficult. He grew up in Centerport, New York. His Mother and Father, Peggy and Jim, used to say that Rick’s grandparents lived with them because Peggy needed reinforcements raising Rick. He was adventuresome and ready to accept a challenge, whether it was building a boat from which he dug clams, or sailing up the Hudson River with friends exploring along the way. His childhood was filled with Boy Scouts, delivering papers, sledding, skating, and frog and turtle hunting. He graduated from Greenlawn High School and Colgate University earning a degree in Religion and Philosophy. At Colgate Rick was in the Glee Club, Swim team, and Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. Rick and Sue met in1963, and began their 3 year courtship that summer while they both were teaching Vacation Bible School. During his college years, his summers were spent coaching swim teams and clamming. They were married in 1967, and thus began their 54 years together. Rick studied medicine and graduated from the University of Virginia in 1970. The next five years he lived in New Mexico, training to be a pediatrician and serving as a General Medical Officer for the Indian Health Service in Gallup. Rick discovered that he loved to motorcycle, hunt, hike, and go to John Denver concerts. He felt akin to Rocky Mountain High. Sue’s brother Woody lived with them during the summers and joined in all these new activities, many of which weren’t possible back where he lived on Long Island. Living in and loving the Rocky Mountains lead them to find the perfect small college town of Bozeman, Montana. They moved to Bozeman in 1975 with their older son Gregory and expecting their younger son Andrew. There, Rick became a beloved pediatrician, friend, and partner in Medical Associates. His practice of medicine was empathetic and supportive of mothers and their babies. He generously shared his expertise and care with patients, caring little whether they could pay. The ethics by which Rick lived his life were always guiding his thoughts and actions. He was honest, curious, wise, cerebral, and straightforward. He considered his medical training a training in science and science directed many of his actions. In his practice, Rick was intolerant of smoking mothers and parents who would not vaccinate their children, often suggesting they “find another pediatrician.” He advocated for his patients, most of whom were children who could not advocate for themselves. Rick loved staying current with the interests and achievements of the adults who had been his patients. Sharing in their lives brought him great joy, such as the time Rick and Sue flew to Antigua to be present at a “White Coat Ceremony” of Shea, who had been Rick’s patient and Sue’s student. A trip to Costco literally took hours because he would see so many patients who were now grown, and he wanted to hear all about their lives. In retirement, Rick’s days were filled with the people and activities he enjoyed. One of his favorite adventures was exploring coral reefs with Sue and his grandsons. He worked on his golf game so that he would have a decent round of golf with them. Other favorite activities were swimming on the Masters Swim Team, learning to play bridge with Karen and Greg and laughing at his mistakes, sharing a bottle of Butter Chardonnay and lively discussions with Adele and Frank, Old Men’s Baseball, skiing with the Dorks and working out with Janessa. Rick would often visit with Glover and they would discuss religious or philosophical issues while sharing Pickle Barrel sandwiches. Rick leaves behind a loving family: his wife Suzanne, son Gregory and Julie and their sons Charlie and Will, son Andrew and Heather and their sons Barrett and Finn, his brother Peter and Barbara and their children Beth and Steven. Sue’s dear brother, “Uncle Woody” and Lee Hughes, Katie Winn and her son Aaron and his wife Shelley, and cousin Glen and Lisa Kattenhorn and their daughters Lisa and Debbie will dearly miss him as well. As Alzheimer’s progressed, Rick found the climate in Bozeman too difficult. He often fell on the ice because his balance was poor. Staying indoors throughout the long winters was too hard. He also wanted to “decline” privately with Sue. As they loaded their car to leave Bozeman, Trent who had been a patient during his childhood, drove up and placed his newborn son in Rick’s arms. Trent wanted his son to meet Dr. Livers, who had been his pediatrician before he left town. Rick and Sue had an abiding love. Together, they met the challenges of aging and Alzheimer’s with pragmatism, and a deep commitment to one another. Rick entered three studies at Mayo Clinic researching his disease. They attended classes in which they were taught strategies useful for those living with Alzheimers. Rick and Sue traveled to most of the places on Rick’s Bucket List. He loved this travel and the memories of that time. Sue and Rick moved to Davis, California to be near Gayle Norman, their “adopted” daughter and her family Stan and daughter Alexandra. Their days were often spent in nearby gardens watching birds and the antics of their dog, Pourquoi. During this time, Molly, who had been Rick’s patient and was dear to Rick, visited them in Davis. Years before, Rick and Molly had often spoken about her possibly becoming a doctor. She had just finished her residency, and wanted to visit him. It was such a beautiful day, Rick was still able to understand and find enormous joy in her accomplishments. Rick loved these visits and the many cards handmade by Dell. He was a source of strength and connection back to Bozeman, the town they so loved. Pourquoi and Sue were by his side as he peacefully slipped away.