No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Mark Moss

February 14, 2018

Mark and Wendi

Mark Moss

We got the call yesterday that we knew was coming at some point, but that you never want to actually transpire. As soon as Kathy saw the caller id, she rushed my cellphone to me in bed where I had been laying ill, under the weather with bronchitis and a sinus infection. As poorly as I felt, the news I received from my long-time family friend, Judie was far worse. He son-in-law and our good friend Mark Moss has passed away after a long, tough battle with some form of leukemia, which certainly doesn’t matter other than it sucks.


He had passed quietly and with-out pain surrounded by his lovely wife Wendi and daughter Chantez after an extended period under hospice care that had allowed all of his family to enjoy some wonderful shared moments prior to the inevitable, which at some point will take us all. It wasn’t so much that he had passed that got to me so much as that he was gone way too soon as he had so much more good to accomplish. Combined with the additional tragedy of the loss of their beautiful son Carson, who had just graduated from the Citadel, just a few years ago in a freak accident and it is almost unthinkable that one family should have to endure so much grief way too soon.


But it is not Mark’s death that I want to focus on, really but his remarkable life and perhaps those reading this will either recognize aspects of the man they knew or appreciate what they missed by not knowing him. I really came to know Mark through his marriage to his wife Wendi, though I know I had previously crossed paths with him in Indianapolis where we all grew up, his sister Anne was a classmate of my sister Marika and I am sure I recall hearing how all the girls had crushes on Mark.
Wendi was the lucky woman who captured Mark’s heart and as I mentioned before, her family and ours had what for me a lifelong connection. Her mother Judie and my mother Marta were business partners during most of my early years, owning a retail store called the Emporium in Indianapolis and part-time in Nashville, Indiana and our families were constantly together. Later after the business eventually closed, Judie was by happy happenstance one of my high school English teachers at Cathedral High.

Mark and Anne

Our families never really lost touch and it was Judie whose suggestion ultimately led to the life-changing decision for me to come to Key West. Wendi and Mark were living here and were going to be gone for the summer before I was scheduled to begin law school and I was welcome to stay in their home for the summer. That was 27 years ago and my life was changed for the better as I never made it back for law school and instead found a life and home here.

I remained friends with Mark and Wendi over the years as their family grew with the addition of Chantez and Carson. And when I met my wife Kathy, she of course was already friends with them both as well having met the kids through her early childhood business ,and of course you couldn’t really know them and not become friends. Over the years we have remained friends and neighbors as they live just up the street. They are some of the most wonderful people that I have ever known.
Mark has always been something of a role-model to me. He was as kind and generous of both his time and spirit as anyone I have encountered. A devoted husband, father and community member, always willing to help others and never one to seek the spotlight or recognition though he spent most of his life in the service of others, whether through his job as Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity or just helping friends and neighbors in his day to day life. 


Mark and Chantez

He was one of the smartest individuals that I ever met, yet at the same time he was always accessible, never talking down and always taking the time to listen and consider what others had to say, Ironically in all the years I have known him I could not tell you what if any religion he practiced, yet he was also one of the most spiritual people I have met. You could always sense a wealth of depth and consideration far beyond what most people offer when they interact with you and it was a constant learning experience being around him.

He found great joy in his work with the Friends of Fort Taylor and he would lead the Civil War reenactors with great relish during Civil War days and at various parades and events in town. This was something that he shared with his son Carson and they would spend vacations visiting famous Civil War battle sites and share their love of history. I know how proud he was that Carson selected the Citadel as his college choice and just how devastated he was by his son’s tragic passing. Mark delivered one of the most beautiful and moving eulogies that we have ever heard delivered at Carson’s memorial, one that not only captured the amazing person that Carson was, but that offered those present to experience the healing kindness of who Mark was. I will never forget it.

Mark and Carson

Just before Mark was diagnosed, I would see him often at the gym and he was as strong and healthy as I had ever seen him, he was at a place where he had come to grips with his loss as much as you can and he seemed to be looking forward. It made his illness all the more painful to hear about when we learned of it. Yet as with all things in life, it seems Mark handled it with all the grace and strength that he brought to everything. 

There are so many things that I will miss about Mark, his crooked smile, the serenity and grace of just being around him, the quiet strength and resolve which he displayed, the magical conversations especially when he spoke of what joy his children provided him, his incredible kindness and thoughtfulness for others, his commitment to his family and community but most of all the quietness and stillness of his character. I never knew him to display any real anger though many things about the world around us certainly caused him uncertainty, he would always look for ways to improve things rather than just complain. It isn’t hyperbole to call him simply a beautiful human being, one that I am better to have known and one that I truly loved. Kathy and I extend our sincerest sympathy to Wendi and Chantez and to all his extended family and friends and want to thank Mark, wherever his blessed soul may be for all that he did to make us better people and to improve our island.

* All photos courtesy Chantez Alegria Neymoss