"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom" Albert Einstein

"A dame who knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up." Mae West

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Another family member gone

My father-in-law died Sunday evening.  That makes two parental deaths in seventeen days.  He donated his body to science.  I am not sure what science can do with a 99 year old body, but perhaps someone will learn something from it. 

Here's an article (edited for this post) I wrote four years ago for a local paper about him:

Just after 7:30 weekday mornings, a small, elderly, slightly hunched figure crosses the Patton Street bridge, his pace much quicker than most people half his age. Mr. Moore is making the daily trip to his office, walking seven blocks from his home and later back again. He still has a license to drive his car, but he just prefers walking.


Although he finally retired in December, 2006 (after his 95th birthday) from his long career as a civil engineer, he still goes to his office located at his son’s land surveying business, and helps with outside field work, holding poles or finding stakes.

“Dad can out-walk most of our clients who accompany us while doing field work,” said his son. “They’re always amazed when I tell them how old he is.”

The elder Mr. Moore grew up on a farm near Rushville, IL, where he and his sister attended a one-room schoolhouse. They would ride to school together on the family horse, then slap him on the rear, which would send him back home again. He later attended the University of Illinois where he obtained a civil engineering degree, but it was the middle of the depression when he graduated and any job was hard to find.

He headed to Chicago, where he sold hats. He also pulled rickshaws and sold ice cream at the World’s Fair. There was no job beneath him; he felt any work was better than nothing. He eventually obtained an engineering position in Texas, later moved to Decatur, and to here in 1959, where he opened his own engineering business and was city engineer.

Then in 1962, an accident happened that would have changed most people’s lives. While he was supervising a construction project, a cable line broke that had suspended a construction bucket from a crane. The large metal bucket fell onto Mr. Moore’s head. This was before hardhats were required on jobs.

“I remember going to bed that night and wondering if I would still have a Dad the next morning,” his son reflected. He was 12 years old at the time. “They gave Dad a 50/50 chance of surviving the night.”

The doctors removed over 200 bone chips in Mr. Moore's head, which left a huge dent in his forehead that is still very visible. He had numerous injuries requiring blood transfusions. When he tried to get out of bed several days later, they discovered he also had a broken leg. After only a three week hospital stay, Mr. Moore said he had a business to run and that he was leaving. He did so, despite doctors’ orders. That was the last time he spent a night in a hospital.

Besides the noticeable dent in his forehead, he lost his sense of smell, and therefore cannot taste anything. He is able to discern salty, sweet, and sour, but not individual flavors. He also lost 3 inches in height. All were just minor inconveniences of which he rarely speaks and never complains.

Now 45 years after the accident, Mr. Moore remains healthy and active. He mows his own lawn with a push mower. Until two years ago, he would climb the tree in front of his home to clean gutters, until his son finally put a stop to that. He takes no medications, completes a crossword puzzle or cryptogram every day, reads 2-3 history related books per week, enjoys watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, and eats like a farm-hand.

7 comments:

GoingLikeSixty.com said...

What an amazing man. My sympathies to you and your husband.

Red Shoes said...

God Bless him... what a great life!! Included in what was written about him, are some great Life lessons.

I am so sorry for all that has fallen upon you and your husband in the past two weeks...

You are all in my thoughts and prayers...

~jim~

the sandwich life said...

My thoughts and sympathies are with you. I'm so sorry for your loss. You have been a wonderful caregiver.

Jon said...

A truly remarkable man. I hope things start going better for you.

oldgoat1957 said...

I hope you will accept my condolences upon your loss, but what an inspirational article! "There was no job beneath him; he felt any work was better than nothing" - we could all learn a lot from that alone...

Alice said...

My sincere condolences on your recent losses . . . late, but no less sincere.

Red Shoes said...

Hey you... thinking of you and hoping all is going back to some semblance of normalcy...

Jim