Remembering Louis Moesta

Yesterday we laid Rebecca’s father Louis Moesta to rest in Ft Logan National Cemetery in Denver.  He was 89 years old and I was honored to know him for 25 of those years. He was my father-in-law, but I never had any problem at all calling him “Dad.”  You will see his name in the acknowledgments page of many of my books, and on the dedication page of several.

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He was a former English teacher, a stickler for details, a science fiction fan (he let his little daughter Rebecca watch Star Trek with him when it was originally on TV), and he worked for me as a trusted test reader and proofer on my novels for about 18 years.  In that time, I think he worked on about forty of my novels, as well as Rebecca’s, and he also proofed many titles for WordFire Press. He edited all of my Dune and Hellhole novels with Brian Herbert, as well as my Saga of Seven Suns books. During our group discussions of my manuscript drafts, he always had great insights, digging down to the core of what was wrong with a scene or a section and offering excellent suggestions on how to make the book better.  He went through life with a surplus of commas, I think, because he never met a sentence that couldn’t use an extra comma or two.  He insisted that everyone in real life should speak with proper grammar even in everyday conversation, and he never stopped trying (even when I usually vetoed him) to make even my most deadbeat characters speak with the proper usage of “who” or “whom,” not to split infinitives, and to know the difference of “between” and “among.”

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On August 12, 1998, I took Louis to climb his first Fourteener, 14,036-ft Mount Sherman. He made it all the way to the summit—he was 72 years old.  We took Louis and his wife Louise on cruises to the Mediterranean—Egypt, Rome, Turkey, Greece—and the Panama Canal, and Alaska. He loved to travel and went to six of the seven continents.  He was a cook in the Army in World War II, and I just learned yesterday that he joined up going into pre-med so he could be a battlefield surgeon, but was transferred to pilot school, but when the Army learned he was color blind, they transferred him to being a cook. He loved playing card games.

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For Rush fans, Louis had a very small part in Rush history, in that when Neil Peart arrived at our house in ~2004, bedraggled and distraught because he’d lost one of his motorcycle saddlebags containing many items, including all his clean clothes (as he described in ROADSHOW), Rebecca’s dad was the only one in the family with pants that could fit Neil. So, Neil played the following night’s concert at Red Rocks wearing Louis’s pants. Without him, Neil might have had a commando performance.

Last July Louis edited his final book for me, the massive 830-page manuscript for BLOOD OF THE COSMOS. He was just a few months shy of his 89th birthday.

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Just before Rebecca and I left on a trip to Oregon to teach a writing workshop, Louis had us sit with him, and he made a point of talking with me about my books to be sure that everything was going well, and he wanted to be reassured that Rebecca’s health was well after all her spinal surgery last year (it was). I only had an inkling then that he was saying goodbye. He passed away at home a few days later surrounded by loving family. We will all miss him tremendously, but he also gave us a tremendous legacy.  Thank you for so many years of love and support.

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