Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Battle's Over and the Victory's Been Won

Dick Moore

April 16, 1934 - September 22, 2009

I'll have more later.

UPDATE from Dick's son Rick, and crossposted at HolyCoast.com:

I've had some time to regroup after a very long night and I'd like to bring you a little more information about Dad. This morning ended a very tough months-long battle with Pulmonary Fibrosis, a terrible disease that robs you of your ability to breath. His last months were very difficult, especially following a fall he took on August 14th after blacking out during a coughing spell. After seven days in the hospital he came home a very weakened man.

It required us to get a full-time caretaker to live with my parents (mom has mobility issues and couldn't really care for him - he'd been caring for her), and it got to the point where even a short walk across the room left him winded and often coughing. This was a guy who only a year before had been walking a mile or more around his hilly neighborhood every day without any problems.
The disease was diagnosed after a lung biopsy on St. Patrick's Day, and despite trips to UCLA to visit specialists and work with a pulmonologist near home, this disease pretty much defies treatment. They don't know how you get or how to fix it. The only question is how long it will take to run its course. In Dad's case, it was very quick.

Last Thursday he was not looking good at all. The doctors told us to call the paramedics and he was back at Mission Hospital. We thought it would be a few days and out, but the disease continued at a fearful pace and by noon yesterday it was clear the end was a matter of hours away. We spent a fitful day and night in the Intensive Care Unit as Dad struggled, but as the dawn broke this morning he peacefully passed away, surrounded by his family, including his wife of 54 years and his two children. He's now free from the pain and the struggle and home with the Lord he served all of his 75 years.

If you would like to honor his memory in a way that would really please him, go read the blog he started a couple of years ago. He wanted a place to put his memories and cherished stories, and MooreTheBetter became the place.

The last entry he posted involved the night he handed the keys to his "Little Red Chevy" to his first grandchild, my daughter, so she could have it at college. That was August 13th. He realized he could no longer safely drive because of coughing spells, and he couldn't play golf anymore, and that car was his golf car. He fell the next day and the real downhill slide started.
He had also been an accomplished singer, and if you work your way through the blog you'll find videos of him singing at various events, including just last December when he played the Angel Gabriel in a children's production with two of his granddaughters. He was also the one who got me in the quartet business. He co-founded The Watchmen Quartet in 1971, I joined in 1974 as bass player, and when he retired in 1982 I took over his bass singing spot. One of the great joys I had as a teenager and 20-something was spending 8 1/2 years traveling and singing with my dad. Here's the first publicity shot I took with the group back when I was a long-haired 18-year old. Dad's on the right.

One of the frustrations with this disease was he could no longer sing. As the long day and night progressed yesterday the hospital chaplain, who is a family friend, brought in a CD player and we played favorite recordings of his non-stop. One was a recording he had done, another from a live concert he and his cousin did one year ago this month, one from his Uncle Ray who had taken him in when he was a teenager, and one of flute performances by my daughter. It was all very moving and difficult for us, but hopefully helped him as he moved on.

Well, he's singing today, and with a choir made up of many friends and family who have gone on before. Heaven can always use another bass.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Goodbye Old Friend

My 1992 Chevrolet Cavalier

In June 2000 I saw a 1992 Chevrolet Cavalier on a Chevy dealers lot and fell in love. I had a 1985 Chevrolet Celebrity that was going to the shop for repairs for the last time under my care. I saw this car on the lot and told the salesman to look at the 1985 and tell me if he would take $1500 for her and $3500 additional for the red Cavalier. He liked the deal and we brought her home for the first time.

I can’t say that she hadn’t cost me a lot of money because she really did. But I was willing to keep her in running shape and spent what was necessary to do that. In June 2007 my grandson and I went to an Angels ball game which was sold out. They had fireworks that night and instead of being wise, we stayed for the fireworks. Then all 43,000 of us went to the parking lot and created another parking lot -- the 5 freeway. CalTrans decided to repave the freeway and took us down to 2 lanes going south. Came to a stop and stayed there. The car overheated but we didn’t have any choice but to stay with the car and hope it doesn’t burn up. I finally got the car home at 1:00 a.m. and the next day filled the radiator and drove the car to the dealer - about 4 miles.

The car overheated again and I left it for repairs. I believe I spent another $600 and they pronounced it well again. Didn’t ruin the engine and everything was fine now. I took it to Newport Beach for a luncheon with former co-workers at State Farm and on the way home it overheated again. Drove it directly to the dealers and this time they did $300 worth of work before they declared the engine is toast. A rebuilt one could be installed for $3,100. I said no and had it towed home where it sat in my garage for 14 months. After calling a friend of mine in the repair business, he had me tow it to his shop and after looking it over said I had blown the head gasket. A labor intensive job of $900 plus some other things I okayed. Total cost $1200.

This was the car that I used when I was alone like running errands and going golfing. Otherwise it sat in the garage. I am the only driver in the house with two cars so it came to the time to consider parting ways. Our granddaughter, Emily, is a Junior in Sonoma State University and needed a car. I wish I could have just said you can have it but I agreed with her dad for him to buy it for $1000 plus money in her account we saved up for her which came to roughly $1500 total.

Rick took the car back to my friend who has a car repair shop to check out if anything needs to be corrected before Emily takes possession. It did! New brakes and a new radiator and it is like new once again and ready for a Junior in college. I helped pay for the repairs from my “car repair savings account” so the car is a real bargain dollar wise.

On August 13th my friend had a new owner and I had a tear in my eye. Rick drove it up on August 22nd to Sonoma as his wife drove another car with Emily’s things packed away and a way for Rick and Anne to come home. I am very happy that the car stays in the family and that Emily will get some use out of it. She is excited and that makes her Papa happy. But it still is hard parting company. Here are some pictures of the changeover of owners.

Granddaughter Emily Moore and Papa standing by her new car!

Papa turning over the keys to his first grandchild Emily.

Emily ready to go one her own for the first time! Papa with a tear!