If you mention the name Gary LeRoy, M.D., around the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, nearly everyone knows the person who is a leader and mentor with the school and a physician and volunteer within the community. What they may not know is that LeRoy is also an author.
“Quotes from the Edge of Nowhere: The Art of Noticing Unnoticed Wisdom,” is the title of LeRoy’s first book. It was released in late January by Dorrance Publishing Company, Inc.
The book is about a 20-to-40-year life journey. It recounts randomly selected personal quotes, saved in a cookie jar, to create a life-learning narrative using the origin of each quote.
LeRoy’s motivation behind writing the book goes back about 20 years. He recalls it was New Year’s Day, when he opened a small leather journal given to him that Christmas by his daughters.
“They had written a message about the importance of taking time to do something good for myself, like writing down my thoughts,” said LeRoy. “Their message made me think about the many little quotes that I had dropped spontaneously into my consciousness without warning.”
LeRoy, associate dean of student affairs and admissions at the Boonshoft School of Medicine and a family physician in Dayton, decided to write down all of those consciously stored quotes from over the years. He eventually transposed each, more than 70 in total, to small slips of paper, placed them in a cookie jar and pulled out 10 at random. LeRoy wrote a story on each that evolves by looking back at the signs or hints of wisdom sprinkled throughout his life experiences.
Each quote and its story became a chapter in “Quotes from the Edge of Nowhere.” Each chapter begins with a random story or poem, followed by a narrative explaining where or why the quote may have originated, and ends with one of the other quotes not selected to be a chapter in the book. The chapters appear in the same order in which LeRoy pulled the quotes from the cookie jar.
The book is short and easy to read by design. LeRoy hopes that young people, including the students at the Boonshoft School of Medicine, will want to read it, and use it as a way to learn how to see life’s potholes before they step into them.
“I want them to see the life experiences I stumbled over during my youthful years, in hope that they will learn the art of noticing unnoticed wisdom,” LeRoy said, adding, “Wisdom should be welcomed, not avoided or lost in the noise of 24/7 social media tower of babble.”
When asked about the significance of storing and pulling the quotes from a cookie jar, LeRoy said, “When I was a child my mother had a cookie jar that she kept out of my reach on the top of the kitchen refrigerator. When I did something good, she took the jar down and gave me a reward of a cookie.”
Pulling 10 quotes out of a cookie jar to create a book was LeRoy’s way of rewarding others. It is his desire that this book of quotes and stories provides some hope and inspiration, help the reader create their own personal quotes and serve as a light to illuminate their journey toward a more joyful life, filled with knowledge, truth and wisdom.
In addition to his role at the School of Medicine, LeRoy has been a medical director and staff physician with East Dayton Health Center, serving patients for nearly 30 years. He is board chair of the American Academy of Family Physicians, having served the organization as president from 2019-2020.
He earned his medical degree from the Boonshoft School of Medicine in 1988 and remained at Wright State to complete his family medicine residency.
LeRoy has served on several Dayton-area community and nonprofit boards, at one point as many as 13. Volunteerism and service to others is his passion. He has two grown daughters, Julia and Ciara, and is a native Daytonian.