Dad died today, December 31, 2013. Josiah Lawrence Moore went into the hospital on Christmas Eve and was diagnosed with pneumonia following a cold. He was 82 at the time of his passing. He was the son of the late Harvey Preston and Verla Moore.
Dad lived a good and interesting life. Born in Washington D.C. at Fort Washington to Harvey Preston and Verla Moore, he relocated with the family to Utah. Harvey served in the Army for 33 years before retiring. The family relocated often, eventually settling in Amma, West Virginia where Harvey had been born and raised. They relocated once more to Charleston, WV where Dad attended high school and met my Mom.When Dad first saw Mom he said, “That’s the girl I am going to marry,” according to Mom’s sister, Joan Mildred Sheets.
Dad was a Marine in the West Virginia Reserves and was one of the units called up for the Korean Conflict. He reported to Camp Pendelton and stood in rank and file waiting for his assignment. The sergeant asked if any of the reservists could type. Dad, who felt confident he would not be considered for a clerical position, answered the sergeant, “I can type 14 words a minute.” The sergeant said, “That’s good enough!” Dad ended up processing most of the marine regulars as they reported for duty. When the lines thinned, he served as a supply sergeant in Korea. He returned home without a scratch.
Then I was born in Charleston, the first son and the first grandson, but there would be other children that followed. My sister was followed by my brother. Dad and Mom parted ways and after a brief second marriage, he married a third time to Patricia “Pat” Thomas, and became the step-father of Frank Thomas. His fourth son Jason was born a few years later. Dad’s beloved wife Pat passed away last year. He is survived by eight grandchildren, four sons and a daughter, and preceded in death by one grandchild and his loving sister Sarah Yvonne Moore of Pocatalico, WV.
Dad was a soft-spoken man. He loved people; loved to entertain, and was content to sit and listen as others spoke. In his youth, he was a charmer and a ladies man, mannerism he retained throughout his life. He believed in proper conduct. His greatest moments were realized when he was surrounded by his family. It was his lifelong dream to have a family business which employed all of his children. Instead, he worked in sales positions leading to management and retired. For the remainder of his life, he was an adviser to his children, always optimistic, willing to listen, and eager to help. He carried no grudges; held no pretensions. He expressed his greatness through simplicity. He lived the way he typed – at about 14 words a minute. He was never hurried and never embraced the tempo of his peers. Dad loved to eat. He ate everything that is supposed to kill the rest of us. Bacon, eggs, potatoes, corn and second helpings. He was happy to snack on a tomato sprinkled with a little salt. He played the gut bucket.
It will be said of my father that he is in Heaven, but such an explanation does not suit me or agree with my views of life, although I do acknowledge that stories of eternal life excite the passions and imaginations of most people. Heaven and Hell are all around us. Dad made his own Heaven while he was here, and he went through Hell more than a couple of times in order to find his Heaven. Now his spirit will live in the memory of those who survived him. It seems too callous for most that we are simply biological beings whose lives end. One can hope for a different outcome, but such revelations are beyond our comprehension. In these matters I can only agree that Dad will be remembered and celebrated. There is sadness associated with his passing, but there is no sadness associated with the memory of who he was, how he lived, and the values he embraced.
And so the year ends, a year which was quite incredible by all other measures. Death is as remarkable as birth. We live and we die. What we do with that life leaves us only with a question, “Was it a good life.?”
My Dad lived a good life. He loved many, and was loved by many.
He will be missed, but more than that: he will be remembered and celebrated with love.