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Triathetes, running, life

Paul J ‘Puzzy’ Mooter….My Dad


Paul J ‘Puzzy’ Mooter and Matilda ‘Mattie’ Mooter

Click here to see a photo album of Dad.
Click here to see a photo album of Mom.
Click here to see Dad’s Obituary.
Click here to see Mom’s Obituary.

It’s funny I wrote this about Mom back in 2008 – “It’s difficult to put into words a lifetime of memories about my Mom.  For me, I have a million images that have been burnt into my memory.  If I was an artist I would paint a “Life Scape” of warmth, patience, commitment, understanding, humor & Love that would span 53 years and many many canvases.”

So 9 years later I guess I could use those same words for Dad.  He was very patient, had a great sense of humor.  It wasn’t till his later years that he actually could ‘give’ a good hug as I don’t think he was raised to be a touchy feely kind of guy.  But as he got older he did.

Dad passed away on the 13th of September, 2017 after living 91 years.  It was during hurricane Irma when he passed at a hospice house.  I know that’s not what he wanted, he wanted to be home but it just wasn’t possible.

Dad was a great father and friend.  I loved talking with him and would often call him 3 times a week just to hear his voice and laugh with him.  Whenever I was walking home from work, or driving on an errand I’d call just to check on him and I could always tell how he was doing on how he answered the phone.  Sometimes he was really energetic and talkative and would want to share what went on with his days.  Other times I could tell he was a little down, but he would go through the motions of telling me the daily events anyway.

He loved going out to breakfast at Bob Evans.  I think that was his big social time of the week as well as working out with his good friend Dave at the gym.  Dave and Dad worked out together for many years and they didn’t just pass the time..they WORKED OUT!  I mean really pushed themselves but of course paying close attention to their heart rates to make sure they didn’t over do it.  Dave is still working out 3 times a week, but I know it’s not quite the same for him.

Another thing that Dad loved was going to church at Lighthouse Assembly of God and listening to Pastor Pete preach.  My Dad was never a church goer when we were growing up but once Mom passed he found this church and he grew to love the people and they loved him back.  In particular he really loved ‘Birdy’ who is a real pray warrior and whenever Dad needed someone to pray for something he would talk with Birdy and she would always check back with Dad to see how things were going.

Pastor Pete was a real integral part of Dad’s life and whenever Dad was struggling, especially near the end, Pastor Pete was there.  He had a way with Dad that cut through right to the heart of the matter and he was able to get Dad back to focusing on what was right and important. Thank you so much Pastor Pete for always being there for him and for us the family.

There’s so much to say about Dad that I almost don’t know where to start.

So Dad’s grandparents owned a grocery/gas station right on the border of Illinois and Indiana called Sanford, IL.  Here’s what it looked like back when he was a kid.  That picture is so funny!  It’s Dad, his grandfather, and his cousin Wanda.  And here’s a picture of Dad and Wana looking at the back of that building back in 2009.  This is the Google Map location and it’s difficult to see but the house now has a fake brick front and it’s still being worked on here in 2017 compared to the picture back in 2009.  And one more of a very young Wanda and Dad (looking cool) and his Grandma and Grandpa.  If you look closely you can see the gas was .17 cents a gallon.  And those were the REALLY old gas pumps where you pump up the amount of gas someone wants, say two or three gallons, and it puts it into the glass container on top and then you take the nozzle down and let it flow into the car’s gas tank.

Dad lost his father when he was 2 years old from a mining accident.  His Dad, who I was named after, was leading some mules into an elevator while walking backwards to make sure the mules were behaving.  The guy who was ‘supposed’ to be operating the elevator was taking a “break” and had left the door up…but the elevator was down.  So he just fell to his death.  A terrible way to die.  Here’s a picture of Dad at his Dad’s grave when he was two.

I was at that site back in 2009 with my Dad and it was really that trip that I really felt I connected with my Dad’s side of the family.  Here’s a picture of Dad and Wanda in 2009 and the grave stone that Wanda had made.  You can see Wanda’s mother Bertha Selvia, 1907 – 1929 and Dad’s father Paul, 1904 – 1927.  Dad was born in 1925.  This was at the Pisgah Cemetery in …I’m thinking Illinois, but still trying to track that down.  Here’s a picture of Wanda and Dad in front of the sign.

Dad was was born with good sight in both eyes but he said something went wrong with his left eye due to looking at something while he was in the crib…not sure I have the story exactly right, but it was something like that.  But if you look at this picture of his Dad and him, you can see his left eye is a bit off.

So here’s the story of Dad and Wanda, who were very close growing up due to some tragic circumstances.

When Wanda was a baby, her mother was killed in a house fire, but before she died, she was able to toss Wanda and her older brother out into the snow which basically saved them both and which cost her her life.  So at an early age Wanda went to live with her Grandparents Bessie and Frank Mooter.  I am going to try and talk with Wanda to see if she can fill in some of those years.  In the meantime Dad was being raised by his mother Ethel who at some point married someone else and they had a boy named Carl.  As they got older his mother realized that his half-brother was a bad influence on Dad so she sent him off to live with her parents, Frank and Bessie.  I’m not 100% sure, but I believe this picture shows Ethel, Wanda & Dad and the new husband which I think was named Charlie..but again, not 100% sure.

He said when he joined the army he had his half brother, Carl, go in and take his eye test for him as he was almost completely blind in it.  He said that if he moved his eye around he could detect a little light but otherwise it was useless.  He did say that he was a good marksman while in the Army and he didn’t have to close an eye, so that worked out pretty well.  I remember when he would come home from working at RCA over in Palm Beach Gardens that once in awhile he would play catch with me and as long as I didn’t throw too hard or too low he was able to catch the ball.  Try it sometime.  Have someone throw you a ‘soft’ ball while you have one eye closed. Not easy.  And yet, he did it just to please. That was my Dad.

I’m going to add more to this blog, but this weekend, October 28th 2017, my sister is having a memorial for Dad mainly for his friends and her family that are close by.  My brother and I are ‘planning’ on going down sometime next spring to finish Dad’s wishes of having his ashes placed in the ocean just like he did for Mom.

In the meantime, go back to the top of the blog and click on those pictures.  I’m hoping to add more as time allows.

Until then..I’ll just continue to miss my Dad and mourn the loss of a good man and try and learn how to move on.

Love you Dad.





October 27, 2017 Posted by | triathlete | Leave a comment