Richard Lazaroff – the newly elected president of the St. Louis Bridge Center in Olivette – became a Life Master of the game of bridge in only 3½ years. A retired, board-certified pediatrician, Lazaroff says he loves tacos, burgers, tennis and golf but adds that, above all, “I love being a grandfather. Our four grandchildren come first. We call ourselves ‘The Ice Cream Gang.’”
Lazaroff is proud to have devoted his medical career to helping parents raise successful and emotionally healthy children. Inspired by his personal and professional experiences, he authored Some Assembly Required: A Guide to Savvy Parenting. Published in 2018, the book offers advice on topics backed by actual patient encounters and vignettes about his own children.
“My goal in writing the book was to help parents understand themselves and be intentional in their parenting choices,” he says.
Lazaroff shares his lessons learned with humor, guidance and wisdom and delves into what often lies just beneath the everyday challenges of parenthood. He also offers a pediatrician’s advice for parents attempting to raise successful, healthy children: “This is done by making intentional choices starting in infancy and continuing through adolescence.”
A former associate professor of pediatrics at Washington University in St. Louis, Lazaroff retired in 2016 after practicing pediatric medicine here for 35 years at the metro area’s Esse Health, where he served as chairman of its department of pediatrics.
“Going to work and doing the right thing medically became second nature,” Lazaroff says. “Being alert to the more unusual medical problems was an exciting challenge.”
Born and raised in St. Louis, Lazaroff graduated first from Ladue Horton Watkins High School in 1970 and then, magna cum laude, from Providence, Rhode Island’s Brown University in 1974. After that, he returned to the Gateway City for medical school at Saint Louis University and completed his residency education in pediatrics at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Lazaroff and his wife, Trish Kelly Lazaroff, met at St. Louis’ indomitable City Hospital in 1976. “I was a third-year medical student, and she was a certified nurse midwife working in labor and delivery,” he recalls. Married since 1978, they are the parents of two children.
“I enjoy children more than adults or dogs,” Lazaroff confesses. “It was a great job holding babies and being there for teenage patients and their families when trouble would strike.”
He credits his parents for instilling in him a work ethic. “They gave me the opportunity to develop my own sense of self by allowing me to attend summer camp each year,” Lazaroff says. “I believe that I relate to others well and have the self-esteem that I do because of my time at [Washington State’s] Camp Indianola.”
He admits to being “addicted to bridge in a positive way. Bridge challenges the mind in a very healthy way. Some studies suggest that it might hold diseases like Alzheimer’s at bay.”
With the St. Louis Bridge Center temporarily closed because of COVID-19, Lazaroff says he’s thrilled that many members are now playing online in the center’s own virtual game. When asked about the importance of achieving the status of Life Master through the Horn Lake, Mississippi-based American Contract Bridge League, Lazaroff says, “I have more to learn about the game than I currently know. This is one more opportunity for continuous learning.”
An innate storyteller and award-winning photographer and writer, Alice Handelman provides Ladue News readers with a glimpse into lives that enrich St. Louis.
The business news you need
With a weekly newsletter looking back at local history.