Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Son's Farewell

It has been twenty-two days since my husband breathed his last. It seems like years; it seems like seconds. Rather than post his obituary I decided to use his son Martin's eulogy, delivered at Cecil's memorial service at Fellowship Baptist Church in Aurora, Missouri, on October 4th, 2010, following the Honor Guard. Here it is in its entirety:

"I am Cecil Moon’s son. I would like to thank my mother Marjorie and [also] Jan for their help getting the information together for this. Cecil L Moon Jr. was born in Marshalltown, Iowa on March 31, 1932. His parents were Cecil L. Moon, Sr. and Anna (Frank) Moon.  He attended a campus school at Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls, Iowa. In 1945, When he was thirteen he moved West Liberty, Iowa with his mother.  She taught business subjects at West Liberty High School. He played on the basket ball and football teams, but his talent was really with music.  He sang baritone solos and sang in the chorus, in addition he had parts in some of the musicals and was in the church choir. Delivering papers and working in a grocery store he saved up money for a new Conn Trumpet.  He was talented trumpeter in the school band.  In his senior year of High School he won first place in both trumpet solo and baritone voice solo work.  He was also chosen for Boys' State while in high school. 

After high school Cecil and two friends took jobs with the FBI in Washington D.C.  He was a record's clerk and also worked in the photography lab developing film.  When he received notice of being drafted into the service, he enlisted for a 3 year stint in the Army Security Agency.  He trained at Ft. Devons, Massachusetts for Morse Code Intercept Operation. In 1952 before that training started he married Marjorie Wilkerson, they had attended high school together.  They lived in Boston and he commuted to Ft. Devons, Mass.  He was then sent to Germany in January 1953 and remained there until his enlistment was complete.  Marjorie joined him for two years in Heilbronn, Germany.  He never did use the Morse code training.  He volunteered to be a driver for officers on a part time basis and also ended up being the supply sergeant at the base.

After returning from Germany He and Marjorie resided in Denver CO. In 1956 they had their first child, Cecil Lee the Third and in 1960 had Martin Thomas. In 1962 The Family moved to Boulder CO where Cecil managed a Homestead house Furniture Gallery.

The family moved to small farm in Missouri in 1965. In addition to farming 120 acres, He worked selling carpet as a manufactures representative all over the mid-west. In 1972 Cecil and Marjorie were blessed with the birth of Jennifer Cathleen. During that same time Cecil went to work for a Catalog Showroom chain called Ardan’s and sold the farm.

Cecil worked in management and helped open and establish other new stores in Topeka Kansas and then in Las Vegas Nevada. A quick study and masterful salesman, he earned an excellent reputation as a Sales Manager. Both his sons also worked for the same company.

In 1976, Cecil and Marjorie were divorced and he started his own business. He traveled around selling Indian Jewelry and Art. Cecil operated this business for many years and opened two stores during that time called Cochise Trading Company.

In July 1983 Dad met Jan Rames at a Blue Grass Festival, and married her a year later. Cecil and Jan moved to Colorado Springs, CO where he operated his own store. In 1988 he took a job as a bus driver with Greyhound. While working for Greyhound He and Jan moved to Wisconsin. During a strike on Greyhound, he left and went to work for Rite-way Bus.  

There he planned and drove bus tours for German tourist to the western United States. Using some German he picked up in the Army and all of the knowledge of the west he picked up in his travels, made him a consummate tour guide, probably his favorite job.

Cecil retired 1999.  He and Jan moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, lived there for five years [and] then they decided to move to the Midwest. They found a nice place close to Verona and moved there. He worked for a Honeycreek Golf Course part time and became an avid blogger with his own site, Zion Beckons.

So those are his resume' points, but there is much more to Cecil Moon than that.

I will try to tell you about my Dad and what he did in his life, but what I really would like you to do is this, while you are listening to me or later on when you reflect on his this, if you knew my Dad, remember him fondly and know what I know. He had a deep and abiding faith in his Lord, a love for his family and a huge desire to preserve our great country. He was about God, Family and Country.

He was a lot of people, a soldier, a salesman, a farmer, a mechanic, a carpenter, a painter, a salesman, a musician, a manager, an entrepreneur, an author, and for sure he was an American.

He was a fun guy, quick to laugh and tell a joke. He was an entertainer. He could pick up his guitar and sing old country songs to crowds of people or sometimes just to his family. In a crowd he was the one laughing a little loud and enjoying those around him. My dad liked to be happy, he was not one to mope around and be depressed. Very much extroverted, he had a talent for bringing other people out of their shell. It may have been why he was such a good salesman.

He loved travel. When he was only six years old he rode a bus all by himself to Waterloo Iowa to see his dad. During his teen years he had a motor bike, and that is just what it was, a bike with a motor, called a whizzer which he rode all the way to Colorado from Iowa. He would even hitch hike, just to travel. Most of his jobs, especially the ones he liked, involved travel.

Driving was favorite. His last big trip was to Prudhoe Bay Alaska, which is in the Arctic Circle. If you have seen the show Ice Road Truckers, that is were he went. No fear, just slapped a couple of extra spare tires on the roof, and threw a bed in the back, and off he went to dip his toes into the icy waters of the bay. He even golfed the northern most golf course in the world while he was there.

Many memories of my dad involved driving, and cars. When he was teaching me to drive, we went out on a decent, but deserted stretch of highway outside Las Vegas. He told me that “since I would do it anyway, to mash the pedal and not let up until we were at a hundred!” We were in a 1968 Buick Rivera, with a four hundred and thirty cubic inch V-8. I stepped on the pedal and off we went. When we got to a hundred he coached me on how to handle the car. First he asked me if it felt like the front end was floating, I said it did. He told me, 'that’s because so much air is going under the car, the front end is floating and the tires don’t have as much contact.' He told me not to make any quick steering changes and that if we had a blow out, we would die. Then he asked if I had enough, and I had, so he had me slow back down.

I have lost track of how many road trips I have been on with him. Always the same, Oreos, peanut M&Ms, bologna, Coke, diners for dinner, gas up and get going. If you knew my dad you know we aren’t making any time standing here. Funny thing though, he taught me how to read a map, but he never needed one much.

My dad traveled in cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, ships and planes. He sailed both oceans, even drove the destroyer USS Fitzgerald. He had been to all fifty states and a few foreign countries. He could navigate his way around Paducah Kentucky as easily as Los Angeles. Johnny Cash had a song called “I’ve been everywhere”, Dad used to sing it and for him it was true.

Many of you probably don’t know that he was on a couple of TV game shows, he was on “Wheel of Fortune” with Chuck Wullery, for couple days and won a bunch of prizes, he and my brother were on “Block Busters” with Bill Cullen, but that time lost pretty quickly. He did stuff like that. Things we might not try, he would try. He was not one to feel constrained by convention and I think that his life reflected that.

We could refer to him as Colonel Cecil L. Moon, because he was a Kentucky Colonel. Membership in the Kentucky Colonels can only be given by the sitting Governor of the Commonwealth. Only the Governor knows the reason for bestowing the honor of a Colonel’s Commission on any particular individual. An I must admit my dad never shared that reason with me. I can tell you this a recent Governor made this comment about the qualities he considered for membership; 'Each time I have the pleasure of bestowing a membership to this exceptional organization on an individual, the great tradition established by Kentucky’s first governor, Isaac Shelby, lives on. The name Kentucky Colonel has become synonymous with strength of character, leadership and dedication to the welfare of others. Just as Isaac Shelby declared his trusted militia members to be his Kentucky Colonels, I see in you those things that place others above self' Sounds fitting to me.

When Christmas came around he and Jan would go to the local Sears store and buy something to wear and a toy for every grandchild. He had a lot of grandkids. All told, he had twelve grandchildren and four great grandchildren, ranging in the ages of thirty-two to one. I remember when our daughter had her second child I called dad to let him know. He asked what the “little critter’s name was”, I told him Masina. There was a pause and he asked what sort of name was that? I told him it meant Moon in Samoan, (my son in law was from Samoa), there was another pause, and then he came back and said, “well that’s very respectful, how is the mother? I know he loved his grandchildren, but the real deal is, he liked the girls more. 

You really can’t talk about my dad’s life and not mention the Green Bay Packers. I think it was some kind of virus he and Jan picked up in Wisconsin. He was an avid supporter and is on the list for season tickets. My sister and I visited Jan and dad in Wisconsin, and he gave us the grand tour. We went to Oshkosh to visit the airplane museum, we went to the paperweight museum (yawn), and much to my sisters consternation we went to the Koehler museum, yep the folks that make toilets, she actually loved it. The real prize for me however, was the visit to the Packer hall of fame and Lambeau field. After all of that he took us to a Brewer’s game, (who he liked almost as much as the Packers). It was a good time, and was a good glimpse of who my dad was, we drove everywhere.

Dad had just got his thirty year chip from Alcoholics Anonymous a short time ago. Actually he told me about getting the chip an hour before he died. He was proud of his affiliation with that organization. He traveled to give talks at meetings, and sponsored new members. He even had me attend a meeting one time to see what it was all about. He felt very strongly about how AA changed his life, and believed in the program. 

He defended what he believed in passionately, but always had an open mind. When I was in grade school, he was asked to play guitar and sing at the local Elks Club. His performance was enjoyed and they asked him to join. A lot of my friend’s dads were members and I thought it would be cool if he was too. When I asked him why he didn’t join his answer was straight on. He told me 'I won’t join a group that won’t allow a black man to join.' He wasn’t trying to teach me anything, although he did, and he wasn’t grandstanding, he was just holding to his beliefs.

Some of you may have read his blog, Zion Beckons. If you have, you know his political stance, you know how strongly he felt and you how eloquently he could state his position. Without a doubt my father loved America, and was an unapologetic patriot. He was a life time member of the NRA and attended the 9/12/09 Tea Party march to Washington D.C. Whether you agree or disagreed with his politics, you have to admire the tenacity he showed supporting what he felt was absolutely critical to preserve what he considered good and decent about his America.   

He was an interesting collection of qualities that seemed somewhat incongruent. He was an eloquent speaker, but I’ve heard him cuss like a sailor. I’ve seen him crank start a John Deere “A” tractor with a breaking bar, and sell a two carat marquee diamond. He has been to Broadway plays and truck shows. He could play the classics on his trumpet and Blue Grass on his Guitar. His life had a very wide range.

I have seen my Dad in many, many situations. The most memorable to me are ones that reflected his love and faith in God. Cecil Moon had a strong faith in God, and Christ as his Savior. He was far from perfect, trust me, but I never saw his faith waiver. He got himself in some tight spots, but I never saw his faith waiver, I saw him face horrible tragedies, but I never saw his faith waiver, and I saw him see success and good times, and his faith did not waiver. He was a sinner, he knew it, but he kept his faith in Christ always.

This Eulogy is just an attempt to summarize a life of seventy-eight years. I told you he was a lot of people, however If you asked him he would tell you, I was a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great-grand father, a friend to many and a child of God. That is my father’s life."

Cecil Moon is missed more than you can possibly know.

In His amazing love



Pamela D. Hart said...

Jan: Thank you for posting the eulogy from Cecil's son. It has given me a glimpse into Cecil as a man and his life outside of blogging. It seems Cecil lived, I mean REALLY lived! The adventures he had during his travels! And the stories he was able to pass onto his children and grandchildren! How amazing!

I know you are all still grieving. But hold those memories close as they will help you all get through this most difficult time.

And thank you again for allowing me to share Cecil and his amazing life!

One of the Moons said...

Thank you, Pamela. I'm glad some of you can gain a little insight into this incredible man's life. As his ex wife and my dear friend said in a note to me yesterday, he was one of a kind. I feel privileged to have shared twenty-six years with him. I was truly blessed.


Rational Nation USA said...

I have visited Cecil's site only occasionally. I always enjoyed his insight when I did occasion over.

While it is late I offer my deepest condolences to the family.

A wonderful eulogy to a man who experienced a wonderful life and lived it.