John Howard Moe was born on a farm near Grafton, North Dakota in 1905. His parents were Norwegian immigrants, and he was the youngest of six children. Moe arrived at Gillette Children’s Hospital in 1932 as a physician-in-training. He went on to become a spine surgeon and in 1935 he is credited with performing the first spine fusion surgery at Gillette. In 1958 he succeeded Dr. Wallace Cole as the chief of staff at Gillette and he became to head of the division of orthopedic surgery at the University of Minnesota.
Engineer Marty Carlson worked with Dr. Moe in the 1970s to develop new braces for children. He fondly recalls Dr. Moe’s legacy.
“He was always teaching. He was a man of immense reputation and respect. There was one technique that he had when he taught or lectured that was very unusual. He displayed his mistakes, cases where, in retrospect, he had done the wrong thing or made the wrong decision. That said something, not only about his ability to teach in a way that helped students remember but also about his security as a man and a surgeon.” –Marty Carlson about Dr. Moe in 1996.