My Father

I’m going to share a brief history of my father and some personal memories.

Robert Raymond Moser was born on Aug 9, 1927 and grew up in Philadelphia during the depression.  He enlisted in the Army for WW2. These are events that shaped who he was throughout his life.

My father obtained his modest dreams of owning a home with a yard in the suburbs, having a wonderful and long marriage, having a secure and steady job and having two children, a boy and girl.  This brought him joy throughout his life.

He was proud of being a boy scout and got together every year with his troop up until very recently.  He took pride in illustrating and writing for their monthly newsletters.

He was a caring man, working during his summers in high school at The Pennsylvania Society for Crippled Children and Adults.

Dad was a loyal and very intelligent man, working for General Electric from 1956 until 1990.  Everything in our household had to be a GE appliance with no exception.  He was not allowed to discuss work with anyone due to the level of clearance he worked under.  We knew not to ask about work.  He worked on such projects as the Mil Space Program, The Mercury Program (which included the monkey in space) and the Satellite Recovery Vehicle and the Corona Trailblazers Reconnaissance Team.  I remember being catastrophically late to a date in high school because my dad, suddenly started talking to me about work, something I would not walk away from for anything.  At the time he was working on the master budget for the Italian Space Program.

He attended Penn State on the GI Bill with his brother, also a vet.  He was a die hard fan of Penn State Football and spent hours watching old football games and doing endless research creating depth charts of potential high school players he shared with friends, colleagues, family, as well as the coaching staff at Penn State.  At one point he reached out to the coaching staff stating they had too many players on their roster and that they would face fines.  They took action and responded with a thank you letter.  In his eyes, the national championship was always just around the corner, and the polls always put his team far too low.  His passion and loyalty to Penn State Football bordered on obsession.

He was an adventurous man, traveling the world often alone.  He was known to hang out of moving bus windows to take photographs.  On one of these trips he met my mother, someone he consistently referred to as “his bride.”  They were in BC in the Rocky Mountains.  Shortly after meeting my mother, while on the trip, he proposed to her.  This seems out of character at first, but he knew what he wanted and was a very determined man.  He courted my mother for one year, flying every other weekend from Philly to Minneapolis, before finally winning her hand.

My mother was the love of his life.  My family continued to be moved and inspired by their love.  During his illnesses, he would insist on holding her hand and gazing up at her like a love struck teenager, smiling blissfully.  They would have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this Fall.

I remember as a child, every night without exception, he would come home from work, walk in the house and up the stairs stopping to sigh occasionally, and then walk into the kitchen where my mom would be cooking and kiss and hold her for what seemed like hours as a child.  This is something I try to do in marriage.

My dad was a detailed man with a great memory and was someone who knew his children better then they knew themselves.  I clearly remember calling my father while I was in college a few states away in an apartment he had not seen, trying to find my keys.  He walked me through what he knew were my actions, and I was able to find them.

He was a creative playful man.  We had a yard with many trees, which seemed to be constantly being cut down. After one particular time he built a 12-15 foot teepee wrapped in burlap for me to play in.  It stood for quite sometime and we played in it constantly.  I will always fondly remember my time with him in Indian Guides, where the other fathers came to him for advice and guidance.  Our Indian Guide names were Running Fox for me, and Walking Fox for him.  He created all kinds of odd costumes and was capable of scaring even the teenagers when they came around through some really unexpected things such as his hand exploding out of his chest to offer candy.

My father was a great provider, something he saw as his most important role.  We never wanted for anything, and without his love and support my sister and I would not have the lives we have now, nor would his grand children.

He was a fighter, and faced many health challenges throughout the later part of his life.  He was forced to repeatedly learn to walk and eat again after some of these challenges, and always did so with vigor and discipline.  He endured such unpleasant things as lettuce sandwiches and boiled chicken for his diet.  Up until his last week, he would do bicep pumps and let us know he was still strong and could fight.

He was a wise man.  I remember taking him fishing for his birthday one year so we could just sit and talk.  I am not a fisherman but kept catching fish, which I found very distracting.  My father had not caught any fish all afternoon.  I asked him why this was and he simply replied, I never baited my hook because all he wanted to do was to talk with me.

Dad was a gentle man and would sing my sister and I lullabies when we were young.  He maintained that any song could be a lullaby if it were sung correctly.  Some of the songs included, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”, “Down By the Old Mill Stream,” “On the Road to Mandalay” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”  He sang some of these songs during this last set of challenges attempting to clear his lungs, this brought joy to his family and the staff of the facility he was at.

My father was a spiritual man, and told me he would be nowhere without prayer.  He seemed to have an expression of bliss these last few months when we were with him.  He lived on his own terms and died on his own terms.

Thank you for all that you’ve done and we love you.

Dave Moser

Philadelphia Photographer Dave Moser is a commercial and editorial photographer who specializes in advertising, portrait, and corporate photography. To see more of Dave's work, visit

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10 thoughts on “My Father

  1. Dave- Your Dad was an amazing, loving husband, father, grandfather, brother & uncle! He would have been very proud of your beautiful tribute at the funeral (and here on this page). We are truly blessed to have had such strong yet soft, loving and compassionate fathers! Brothers who were so close, leading very similar lives (even dying within a few months of each other). My heart goes out to you, Judy and most of all your Mom!

    1. Thanks Kim. I feel the same about your father and mother and miss them dearly. We are truly fortunate to have the parents we had/have. My heart goes out to you and Bill for loosing your parents to close to together. I cannot imagine the loss like that so close together. I have such warm memories of sharing the holidays with you and your family. They are every part of who I am today. I’m glad Ruby had a chance to know your parents and clearly remembers them, although she did not see much of your father in the last few years, as your family did not see much of mine.

  2. Thanks for this very personal tribute to your dad. Your love is evident. Tell me about the picture? When was this taken?

    I hope Ruby and Loretta and your friends will help you heal.

    Please be gentle on yourself.

    With deep sympathy,


    1. Thank you for these kind words of wisdom, they are helpful. Such a unique and personal experience is oddly universal. This is something I keep in mind when sharing. Ruby and Loretta have been gold, as has my sister-we have made a good team to support my mother. I do count myself as fortunate in many ways.

      The picture was taken around 1991. I was photographing folks, at this time my family, as busts, as in sculptural busts. I loved how my father looked at peace and how it had an other worldly feel to me, something that seemed to transcend the present. It felt like my father to me, but connected in a more universal way. This image has always been close to my heart, and I many folks have connected with it over the years. I always wanted to retake the image and as recently as 1 week prior to him passing asked if I could and he shrugged and said yes. Ultimately, he had quite a few serous health issues over the past 30+ years, and I often felt that my time was better spent being present with him rather then photographing him. I was always aware of the possibility of missing this opportunity and was willing to let go.

      The “zipper” scar on his chest is from a triple by-pass done in 1982. His odds for survival were not good at that time. There were some serious problems that arose during the surgery due to human error. I see this as the beginning of my father’s struggles with health. They severed nerves in his legs which caused his leg muscles to atrophy. He had to learn to walk again. He refused to consider legal action, despite the admission from the hospital that a non qualified surgeon ended up doing the surgery.

      What do you feel about the picture? This interests me greatly.

      1. So profound Dave. You are a very deep thinker and feeler. You have an amazing ability to write and people can feel your words.

        And I saw your dad’s picture and obituary in the paper.

        On the photo, my first thought was, is this his corpse? So peaceful and still and contented, ready to go to the next world. Raw truth of our common humanity.

  3. I am very saddened to learn of your father’s death. Over the past months you told me how ill he was and death was a possibility. Even when death is “expected” it is never easy to lose a parent and death leaves a big hole in one’s life. For me, my dad’s death also closed a chapter on a book.

    Yes, funerals can be healing in that they are a celebration of one’s life. We can be thankful for the time our parents are here and not so sad about when they are gone. And we will always have memories and carry them in our heart.

    You can be thankful you had a good relationship with your dad over so many years. As you know that is not always the case. And I can tell you are proud of him. During his illness I am glad you had a good chance to talk as that is sacred and special time.

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