Tribute to a Great Man


My Uncle, R W Moffett, died last Thursday. To most of you this won’t mean a thing, until I tell you that he was one of the wittiest men I’ve ever known and as tough as any Scotsman who’s ever walked this earth. Though he was American through and through, Scotland was his heritage way back when.

The Moffetts were among the first Scots-Irish to settle the Shenandoah Valley where RW lived until the day he died. As do I with that same intention. He was a WWII vet who fought in some of the fiercest battles in the South Pacific and was honored with medals, but rarely spoke of the war. Never to me. To the women he was all civility.

A man’s man, he was a farmer who loved to hunt, fish, and tell bawdy tales. He knew every ridge of his beloved Blue Ridge Mountains. A crack shot, he’s quoted as saying, ‘your aims improves when your target fires back. ‘ A sobering thought only a soldier can truly understand. Odd, that RW died not long after Memorial Day.

No one who knew RW had anything but respect for him. One sharp look from him and even small children came to attention. But they–we–loved him. He could be gruff but he was kind. A person’s rank in life didn’t impress him, only their character.

At his funeral, I realized we were burying a legend. The irony of it is that he detested lengthy services and his went on and on with fond remembrances. Then the lights dimmed as if to clue the speaker it was time to wind things up. Only, no one dimmed those lights. RW, maybe?

Most of all, he was married to my dear aunt for 60 yrs and had a deeply loving relationship. That’s an achievement in itself. His passing has sent me into a pensive frame of mind as I think of all the grand folks who have gone before me and how blessed I am to have known them. I believe they are still with me, somehow, in spirit. And that I will see them again someday on the other side.

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