Friday, January 27, 2023

Fred "Blackie" Moser Obit

Blackie was my neighbor after he moved to Ephrata after retirement.

BIRTH-10 Oct 1931

Everett, Snohomish County, Washington

DEATH-11 Nov 2013 (aged 82)

Ephrata, Grant County, Washington

Eulogy by VWB Pete Peterson, District Deputy of the Grand Master, District 28


We are here to Honor and remember our friend

Blackie Moser…Husband, Brother, Father, Grandfather, mentor & teacher.

Blackie was born October 10th 1931 in Everett

Washington. He passed on November 11th 2013 here in Ephrata.

He was preceded in death by his wife Barbara of

29 years, a son Michiel and a granddaughter

Mariah. He was survived by the second love of his

life, Norma Burleson, and by children Dennis

Meyers (Karen), Timothy Meyers (Theresa), Misty

Noel (Michael) and Deana Moser (Dale). He was

blessed with 8 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

He was a Mason with 57 years, 11 months and 3

days in the craft. He belonged to Skykomish Lodge

#259, Ephrata Lodge #167 and Thomas M. Reed Lodge

#225 after they consolidated with Occidental Lodge #72.

At the time of his passing to that Celestial

Lodge, that house not made with hands, he was a

Past Master of two Lodges having previously

served in several positions within those Lodges,

Past District Deputy of the Grand Master in

District #28 and Senior Grand Deacon of the Most

Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted

Masons of Washington. He was also a member of the

Photography Committee for Grand Lodge. He was a Man who lived Masonry.

He was also heavily involved in the Order of

Eastern Star for over 52 years. He had belonged

to Occidental Chapter #28, Pyramid Chapter #257

of which he was twice a Past Patron, and Oasis

Chapter #191 of which he was Associate Patron at the time of his passing.

He was a member of the Central Washington Amateur

Radio Club, having been a Ham Radio Operator for

more than 50 years. He served as President of the

club in 2012-13. He was usually found on Tuesdays

and Thursdays at Time Out Pizza here in

Ephrata sharing the company of the Romeo’s

(retired old men eating out) and talking about

Ham Radio and other topics. Don’t get me wrong,

there are women at these informal

get-togethers…usually female Hams, but not always.

He was also active in the Sassy Sams, an RV group

that also included many of the Hams in their

number. He was the cook on Sunday

mornings…serving blueberry pancakes, eggs and

bacon. I will definitely miss those breakfasts.

He was also a member of the Basin Carriage Club

where he served as President and Board Member.

His antique cars, a Hudson and a Ford Model T were his pride and joys.

He could usually be found of a Thursday evening

at the Hot Rod Garage enjoying the company of

Mick Qualls and company taking part in the lively

discussions regarding issues relating to Grant

County and its future. He even had his own chair

in the room…a fact I only discovered recently at a Toast in his Honor.

These are some of the statistics of his life, but

they only begin to tell the story of this incredible man.

The following song may well express Blackie’s

outlook on life. The words are taken from the Old

Testament Book Ecclesiastics and put to music by

Pete Seeger. This version was sung by the Byrds.

I’m sure you will recognize it. (Turn, Turn, Turn)

I met Blackie at an Eastern Star meeting sometime

in 2006. He and Norma had sold his house in Lake

Havasu and moved to Ephrata to be near Norma’s

family. I remember being immensely impressed by

the man and by the love the two of them shared.

Over time, we became much better acquainted and

even started to share our souls to each other. I

for one am not generally inclined to do this.

But, such was the character of this man that I

found myself opening up and sharing my life

willingly with him and he with me.

He was elected to become Worshipful Master of

Ephrata Lodge #167 at which time the Brothers of

Skykomish Lodge #259 came over to install him.

That was my first acquaintance with Skykomish

Lodge and I was so impressed with those Brothers

that I knew I needed to join with them. I have

been a Mason for 43 years and this is the only

time I have felt compelled to belong to another

Lodge besides Ephrata. I have never regretted it.

They took me in and made me a part of that

special group of Brothers. I have Blackie to thank for that!

The drives to and from Skykomish and later other

parts of the state, provided the time to really

share with this great and good man. I learned a

great deal about him and his life. In telling the

stories, he taught me a lot about himself and his

philosophy. There was much to think about.

First and foremost, Blackie was Cherokee! He was

quite young when he was sent to live with his

paternal Grandmother in Oklahoma. What a

wonderful woman she must have been. His father

and mother were having difficulties and his

grandmother took him in and provided stability in

his life when he sorely needed it. I remember

Blackie telling me that she would send him to the

White church one week and to the Cherokee

teachings the next so that he would have the

necessary foundations to decide for himself which

way he wanted to follow. He opted for the

Cherokee Way, because to him, it was a kinder way to live.

His Grandmother passed when he was twelve. The

Whites wanted to place him in an Orphanage or

with a White family to try to turn him into their

conception of what he should be. This was common

in those days as the Whites were intent on

turning the Indians or Native Americans as is

politically correct now, into Whites. The

children were sent to Indian Schools, forbidden

to speak their native language and forced to

adopt the White ways. The Cherokee, Navaho and

other tribes were forced into this regime with great harm done to both sides.

Blackie rebelled and hopped a train to the

Northwest to try and find his father, Fred F.

Moser who worked for the Great Northern

Railway. I believe that he arrived in the

Auburn/Seattle area where he was discovered by

one of the employees of the Great Northern

Railroad. He was questioned by this man who then

discovered whom he was looking for. The man told

him to wait right there. Shortly thereafter the

man returned with his father who happened to be

at this train yard that day. There began

Blackie’s lifelong relationship with the

railroad. Some things are just fated! This was obviously one of them.

He and his father became much closer then. I

remember Blackie telling me of his time in

Everett. Because he was Indian, he suffered much

torment from the other kids. I took it that a few

fights ensued and his life was a living hell. But

still he persevered. Learning had become a beacon

for him…a way to express himself. Blackie was a

very intelligent man whose quest for knowledge

was a driving force in his life.

I know that he and his father lived in Skykomish

while his father worked for the Great Northern

there. It was one of the highlights of Blackie’s

life. Blackie also went to work for Great

Northern, eventually becoming the lead engineer in that district.

One time, Blackie and his father went elk

hunting. The terrain was very steep and they

hiked in quite far. Blackie spotted a bull and

was about to shoot it when his father said “Shoot

him if you want Buckie, but we’ll have to eat him here”.

Somewhere in this time, he won a scholarship

provided by the Great Northern to go to Princeton

to study Mechanical Engineering. He got his

degree and obtained his certification as a Professional Mechanical Engineer.

He worked for the Alaskan Railroad for a time

before going into the Army and the Korean

conflict. He drove trains for the Army at this

time. Blackie was probably at his best in the cab of a locomotive.

One night, he was driving one of those trains

when North Koreans infiltrated a fuel dump and

set it on fire. Vern Corkins happened to be on a

ship in the harbor when the barrels of fuel

exploded while Blackie was driving the train

though that area. It was definitely a memorable

time. It was only many years later that they

discovered their proximity to each other at that time.

Blackie returned to the states and joined the

Northern Pacific driving trains until their

merger with Burlington Railways in 1995. That

relationship became untenable and Blackie

retired. He then worked for the Mount Rainier

Railway until his final retirement.

Blackie grew up in the steam era, first with

coal-fired and then with oil fired steam engines

and only later with diesels. Steam, I think, was his first love.

Not only an Engineer, but a machinist as well, he

made several steam whistles for friends and if I

could find one of them, I would love to have one.

The music of those whistles invades you soul and lives there forever.

He would set up dipole antennas when staying in

motels overnight so that he could communicate

with the world while traveling with the railroad.

His tales are one of the reasons I am now an

Amateur Radio Operator. He was an inspiration to

others. I am one of those others.

He loved Astronomy and wanted to pass on that

love to others. Skykomish High School had an

Astronomy class but no telescope. Blackie gave

his old telescope to the school when he purchased

a new one. He was that kind of man.

Blackie was a very passionate man. The death of

Barbara nearly killed him. If it hadn’t been for

the support of his Eastern Star Sisters and

Brothers and his Masonic Brothers, he would have

likely, by his own admission, embalmed himself in

alcohol. But, eventually, he found solace in

Norma. Blackie and Norma’s husband Doyel had

worked together for many years…the two couple had

known each other and been friends for a very long

time. Doyel passed in February and Barbara in

June of 1993. It took a while, but they finally

came together and found a love to sustain

themselves through the rest of their lives.

Remember that Blackie was Cherokee. Women are

highly revered in their culture. Women own the

land. A man will build her a house and protect

her, but when she places his moccasins outside

the door of that house, they are divorced. Thank

you Norma for keeping his moccasins within your home.

There are two men who have been major forces in

my life…my own father and Blackie Moser. I honor

them both and regret their passing.

I think Blackie knew that his time on this earth

was short. One Thursday evening about nine months

before his passing, he shared the following poem

with the folks at the Hot Rod Garage. The poem is

from the Makah tribe, but could easily have been written by Blackie himself.

I give you this one thought to keep -

I am with you still - I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow,

I am sunlight on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awake in the morning's hush

I am the swift, uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not think of me as gone -

I am with you still - in each new dawn.

This is Blackie Moser K7FTM over and out.