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
FRED T. “BLACKIE” MOSER
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.