Sunday, December 11, 2016

A Tribute to Mike Moses, R.I.P., by Greg Pfeifer

Mike Moses, November 2013, Kona, Hawaii. Photo by Will Maguire
Recently, on December 6, 2016, veteran LACo Ocean Lifeguard (Ret.)/Santa Barbara City Fire Department Captain (Ret.), Mike Moses, passed away after battling cancer for approximately six years.  Mike's good friend, LACo OLS, Greg Pfeifer (Ret.), penned the following eulogy in honor of Mike.  We are most grateful to Greg for sharing his remarks with all of us.

"When we think about our friend Mike Moses the first thing that comes to a lot our minds is: "He was just a great guy." It is cliche, but true. What was it about Mike that made him such a great guy? Well, he was friendly, kind, generous, compassionate, intelligent and funny. He also had the gift of equanimity. He had the uncanny ability to remain cool, calm and graceful, even in the most stressful, challenging situations.

You can say Mike was cool, but "cool" often has the connotation of false ego and cockiness and Mike was as devoid of that as anybody I have ever known. In an age dominated by insecure, egotistical narcissists Mike was an anomaly; he was so secure in who he was that he was able to be sincerely humble. He was who he was and that was that. This attitude allowed him to take his work seriously when he had to, but not to take himself too seriously. Even when he knew he was not long for this world Mike was able to maintain his sense of humor and was a joy to be around.

It was an honor and a privilege to be Mike's friend. It was always a pleasure to work with him, surf with him and just hang out with him. He was kind, generous, stoked and funny right up to the end of his life.

Mike was a great all around waterman and lifeguard. He was also intelligent enough to "play the game" and get promoted in the Fire Department without badmouthing and backstabbing others. He loved the ocean and the beach. He loved to surf but he just loved getting in the water. If the waves were not good he was happy just to go for a swim or a paddle or a bodysurf.

When I was living on the North Shore in the early 1990's Mike came to visit. I took him out to Backyards on a Hawaiian 8-10' day. I had been living there and surfing it everyday so I was right at home at that time but, looking back at it now it was kind of gnarly--especially for someone just off the jet from Santa Barbara who had never surfed that spot in those conditions before. It was triple overhead and breaking in about 2' of water over a sharp reef known as "The Boneyard." Mike followed me out, I showed him the lineup and picked off a few. I could see he was a little intimidated but, as usual, he stayed cool and he ended up picking off some good ones. He was totally stoked!

Years later I was working as the lead permanent lifeguard in charge of Malibu Surfrider Beach and Mike had risen to the rank of Captain in the Santa Barbara City Fire Department. Fire fighting was a good career but his real love was the ocean and surfing--so lifeguarding still called him in the summer. For a couple of summers Mike was able to work his schedule with the Fire Department to be able to work an opening 4/40 schedule at Malibu with me. Those were some of the best days of my lifeguarding career! Mike always showed up with copious offerings of organic avocados from his ranch overlooking Rincon. When you worked with Mike you knew you were going to have a good day. We would do our job very well and have a great time doing it. We would get our workouts in and laugh--a lot!

The last summer Mike worked with me at Malibu he was having issues with pain in his back and ribs. Eventually he got the diagnosis. Through his long battle Mike faced his mortality with grace and dignity and he somehow managed to maintain his sense of humor. Between rounds of chemo, sometimes with the help of some medicinal herbal cookies he was stoked just to be able to get in the ocean when he could.

The last time I saw Mike was at my retirement party last summer at the Reel Inn. I am so grateful he made that drive down to Malibu because I know he was hurting more than he let on. He said they had run out of drugs and options for him so he was just gonna go surfing. He had made peace with his mortality. A Jewish Rabbi in the Middle East a couple of thousand years ago reportedly said something in Aramaic that has been translated into English as "Blessed are the peace makers." Mike was always a peace maker and now he is at peace.

Thank you Mike. Thank you for being a great friend, thank you for your kindness and generosity, thank you for the love and the aloha spirit and thank you for the laughter. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, thanks for the avocados!


Many Thanks to Greg for sharing this wonderful eulogy with all of us.  Rest in peace, Mike.  You will be missed.  We extend our sympathies and condolences to Mike's family, friends and colleagues.


Additional References:






From: Lifeguard Alumni
Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2016 8:59 PM
To: Lifeguard Alumni
Subject: Passing of Northern Section Lifeguard Mike Moses


It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of former Northern Section lifeguard Mike Mosses. The Lifeguard alumni family passes along our condolences to the family of Mike Moses.
Merrill Riley passed along the following message from a member of The City of Santa Barbara Fire department regarding a Memorial service for Mike.

From: McCoy, Jim
Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2016 7:16 AM
To: FIRE_Everyone
Subject: Mike Moses Funeral

I sat with Pat, Katie and Shauna Moses yesterday and shared with them all the nice calls and texts everyone has been sending. They is very grateful for all the support and love. They are doing OK and are adjusting. The funeral details are done. Thursday December 15, 2015 10:30 am at St. Joseph Church in Carpinteria. There will be a reception that follows at the Carriage Museum starting around 12:30. There also will be a paddle out at some point, I do not know when that will be but is in the planning stage. Any questions give me a call. JM


Respectfully submitted,

Will Maguire, Editor
"County Recurrent" News

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1 comment:

Pat Mc Elroy said...

Mike Moses Memorial Services

Memorial services for Retired Santa Barbara City Fire Captain and Retired Los Angeles Lifeguard Mike Moses will be held this Thursday, December 15th.

This will be a Catholic Mass with a Fire Department presence but not a Fire Department style funeral service. If you would like to have Fire Apparatus or Lifeguard vehicles there, Pat Moses has requested personnel wear Class “A” uniforms if possible. We will be supplying more information about parking during the next few days.

There will be a reception in Santa Barbara following the service. If you are in uniform please bring a change of clothes. The reception is very casual. Times and locations are listed below.

Please RSVP if you are sending apparatus to:

Memorial Mass: 1030 AM. Thursday December 15th

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
1532 Linden Avenue
Carpinteria, California 93103

Flag Ceremony for SBFD Members: 1200 Thursday December 15th

Santa Barbara City Fire Station #1
121 West Carrillo
Santa Barbara, California 93101

Reception for all attendees: 1230 Thursday December 15th

Santa Barbara Carriage Museum
129 Castillo Street
Santa Barbara, California 93101

If you have any questions please contact Pat McElroy 805-331-6751 or Lee Waldron @805-331-6761.