Richard Pugh, 67, sipped coffee in Meadowood Mall’s food court Tuesday, contemplating his next shopping move. He’d returned a shirt and tie to J.C. Penney’s on Monday but returned in hopes of finding a gift for his wife, Charlotte, during post-Christmas sales. Pugh, retired, served as the executive director of the Nevada State Medical Association from 1973 to 1987. He’s also worked as a health care administrator in the Washoe Health System. These days, when he’s not bargain hunting at the mall, Pugh spends his days researching and writing medical history books for the University of Nevada School of Medicine and the Great Basin History of Medicine Program. He’s published two books: Serving Medicine: The Nevada State Medical Association and the Politics of Medicine (2002) and The Cutting Edge: Reflections and Memories by Doctors on Medical Advances in Reno (2003). He’s putting the final touches on two more books, Nevada Veterinarians: Profiles of Doctors in a Caring Profession and Comstock Doctors: From Virginia City to Carson City.
What brought you to the mall today?
I’m looking at electronics that I hoped would go on sale today. But the stores have been stingy on the big ticket items. They aren’t going on sale, and if they are, the reduction is minimal.
Anything specific on your list?
I’m going to get a TV for my wife for the kitchen, to put on top of the refrigerator. Flat screens are going for around $300 or $400, but I’d like to see them come down before I buy.
What stores have you tried?
Sears has an electronics department, and the Sharper Image has some nice things. Macy’s used to have a nice electronics store years ago but not anymore. I might well be going to Circuit City or Best Buy.
Are you enjoying a holiday break?
I’m retired, so I’m always on break.
Get any terrific Christmas gifts this year?
I asked for shirts and ties to replenish my supply, and I received many shirts and ties. I’ve worn one already and got some nice compliments.
Any New Year’s resolutions?
You know, this year I’m going to [make resolutions]. I haven’t in years past. But this year I’m going to get those two books published. I’ve been researching them for years.
One of those books is on veterinarians.
The history of medicine is not limited to medical doctors. I interviewed 20 veterinarians, the older doctors who’ve been doing this for 20 or 25 years. They have stories to tell. We like to get stories from them before they’re gone. … I’ve read that kids are very interested in reading real-life biographies.
Do you read biographies?
I’ve read everything I can on Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Thomas Jefferson is a little harder to read sometimes. He’s such a stickler for detail.
Have your holidays been happy, Christmas merry, Hanukkah good …?
I enjoy the best of all holidays and celebrate all of them. There was a nice article on Kwanzaa in the newspaper today. I may go back and read that in detail.
Good luck finding that TV.
Yes, I’ll have to get something soon while I still have money.
Before you get your credit card bill?
You had to say that, didn’t you?