One Less Chip

Blockhead Bash 2013

This morning the message light on the kitchen phone was blinking when I went downstairs to make coffee. It was my cousin Cathy, providing a number and asking me to call. She said she had sad news.

Well, her news was like a kick in the teeth. Her brother and my first cousin, Tom Moeser, passed away today following triple bypass surgery. His heart, damaged in an earlier heart attack, just couldn’t pull him through following surgery. He faded fast and soon was gone.

Tom and I were close. We graduated in the high school Class of ’66, and I can still see us standing on his porch, he is his brown Ferndale High School cap and gown; me in my blue Berkley High School outfit. That was 51 years ago, and now he’s gone. It hurts to lose a close relative, especially one your age.

Now family and relatives are heading for Midland, Michigan where Tom and his wife Rhonda lived. Funeral plans have not been finalized at this writing, but if I can somehow make it, I’ll go.

This was unexpected and unpleasant news, especially on the heels of losing my father-in-law a few short weeks ago. I hoped that after the rough year I had in 2016, that 2017 would be easier. Now I’m beginning to wonder about that.


Condolences from relatives and friends rolled in following the facebook post in which I published the pictures of Tom and I and included these words:

First cousin Tom Moeser and I go back a long ways together. His journey on earth ended today; mine continues. In the first picture, we’re in our Class of ’66 high school graduation gowns. In the second picture, we’re together at a family reunion in 2013. Tom was not only a relative, he was a dear friend. I will miss him.

  • Justin Sowa – “Sorry for your loss Phil.”
  • Cathy (Moeser) Alcorn – “Great to see these pictures. Thanks Phil and I know you will miss Tom as much as we do. Love you.”
  • Laurie Bendickson – “Tom’s death makes our blockhead reunion that much more special.”
  • David Kocol – “Peace to you and his family. Saddened for your loss.”
  • Nancy (Bue) Rossow – “Phil, my sympathies to all of you. Prayers to all. Love you.”
  • Ceil Radick – “So sorry Phil for the loss of your family member and dear friend.”
  • Susan Omalley-Larson – “So sorry Phil. I’m sure you’ll miss him a great deal.”
  • Erv Raasch – “Sorry for your Loss Phil!”
  • Ellie Mixter-Keller – “Sorry, Phil.”
  • Tom Dubrico – “Uncle Phil Block sorry for your loss. May he RIP.”
  • Sue (Block) Tolin – “So so young brother. RIP Tom.”
  • Tom Ivinson – “Sorry for your loss.”
  • Douglas James Moniaci – “Terrible.”
  • Jim Moroney – “Phil, I’m sorry for your loss of a great friend. May you and your family treasure the memories of the memories of Tom’s life and contributions to those he touched.”
  • Cheryl (Bue) Karst – “Cathy, Chuck and Anne, Paula and Fred, Phil and Kathy, Sue and Tim, Peggy and Hal, and Tom’s children and their families — I am so sorry to hear of Tom’s passing. His life was too short. I am so thankful that we all were able to get together for our first ever “Blockhead Reunion” almost four years ago now. Although the miles separate us, we share your loss and pray for strength and comfort for all of you in the difficult days ahead. Rest in peace, Tom.”
  • Peggy (Block) Losey – “And to you and your sisters as well Cheryl Karst. All Blockheads weep.”
  • Cathy (Moeser) Alcorn – “Thank you Cheryl and all of the Bue sisters. We can all be grateful that we were able to get together for our reunion and have all of us there sharing with one another. Yes we are all Blockheads.”

And Then There Was One

May 21, 2017

Last night I dug into my photo archives, found, and shared the photo below.

Father and Sons
Father and Sons

This short statement accompanied the photo. Little more needs to be said.

And then there was one: Otto, Chuck, and Tom Moeser

One Less Chip

My sister Peggy Losey also expressed her feelings on facebook, including this picture from our 2013 Blockhead Bash family reunion.

Blockhead Bash 2013
Blockhead Bash 2013

Peggy said,

We’ve lost a chip off of our Block. So very grateful for our one and only opportunity for all of the Blockhead cousins to reunite a few years ago. Rest in peace Tom. Until we meet again…love, your Blockhead family.


Tom’s older sister, Cathy (Moeser) Alcorn, posted this photo on facebook this morning.

Beginnings, Circa 1949

Cathy wrote,

This one really goes back a few years. Dad is holding Tom. The beginnings of Blockheads crew. Mom (Margaret) and Dad (Otto), Uncle Lloyd and Aunt Ginny, Uncle Red and Aunt Shirley.

That’s my Dad holding mini-me in the center. My Mom, standing in front of him, holds my sister Sue. My Dad’s sister Shirley (Block) Bue is second from left. That’s Cathy standing in front of her Mom, Margaret (Block) Moeser, on the right. Otto Moeser holds Tom at far right.

More comments followed from family members:

Sue (Block) Tolin – Cathy sure it had to be on 13 mile and/or even at our house on Columbia. I am probably about 6 months old and that would put it in Aug. – Sept. that year.

Cathy (Moeser) Alcorn – They did in a large house like the Columbia house. They were renting it and Grandpa decided he wanted to buy it. But it was $1,000 and that was much more money than they had. So they ended moving to the 13 Mile house. The Lawrence house was only a couple of houses from the Pastor’s house. The same Pastor baptized all three of us: me, Tom and Chuck at the old white Methodist Church that both mom and dad and Aunt Shirley and Uncle Red were married in.

Sue (Block) Tolin – Rev. Vosburgh? married my mom and dad.

Cathy (Moeser) Alcorn – Maybe I am not sure of the name right now. The church also finally had a plaque with Grandma and Grandpa’s name on the back of one of the pews when I went there many years ago. They now have a newly built church (maybe 10-15 years old).

After some serious hunting, I found some pictures and a history of St. John’s Methodist Church in Royal Oak. The history contains information about the Block family members. Follow the link below to read the PDF (3.5 mb download):

History of Saint John’s Methodist Church (1922–1960) (PDF)

Tom’s Obituary

May 23, 2017

The following obituary was published in the Midland Daily News.

Thomas Alan Moeser, 69, of Midland, was called to Heaven May 19, 2017. Tom was born in Detroit to Otto Paul and Margaret Elaine (Block) Moeser, May 8, 1948 and he graduated from Ferndale High. He then attended Michigan State University and was proud to join the Hazel Park Police Force as a patrol officer where he received several commendations for bravery.

Tom married Lynn Madion, Dec. 6, 1969 and they had three children: Jason, Melissa and Jonathan. He was then called to establish CTM Painting, LLC where his commercial brush strokes have left a mark across Michigan and Ohio. It was during this time he had a passion for attending his children’s activities and serving numerous volunteer roles.

Tom relocated to the Midland area and married Rhonda Vance, Jan. 6, 1996 and they remain lifelong partners in love and sharing fun activities. Tom was a member of First Baptist Church where he was an usher and held a strong value for his Life Group. He was a past kitchen coordinator for Open Door where his love for cooking was rooted and he was able to continue this passion by working at Nottingham Place.

Along with Rhonda Vance-Moeser, he is survived by his three children and five grandchildren, Jason and Tricia, Oliver Moeser (Royal Oak), Melissa and Brian, Otto and Eli Zoll (Owosso), Jonathan and Sarah, Max and Lucy Moeser (Commerce Township). He is also survived by three stepchildren and two step grandsons, Jim and Orlanda, Alistair and Alden Vance (California), Erik Vance (Midland) and Elizabeth and Matt Denten (New York). He leaves siblings, Chuck and Annie Moeser (Traverse City), Paula and Fred Austin (Clare) and Cathy Alcorn (Redford Twp); along with numerous nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to First Baptist Church.

Tom’s Memorial Service

A celebration of Tom’s life was held Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 11 a.m. at First Baptist Church, 915 E. Sugnet Road, Midland, Michigan. Rev. Lara Heise officiated. The family received visitors at 10 a.m. in the chapel prior to service, which was attended by well over 100 relatives and friends. After the service, a luncheon was served to all guests in the church fellowship hall.

The following photos are from the Memorial Service. The final photo, a dish of Peanut M&Ms, is dedicated to the memory of Tom’s love of that sweet during game-playing sessions with family and friends.

View Memorial Service church bulletin (PDF)

A Final Toast

The evening of Tom’s memorial service, my sister Peggy Losey and I relaxed at her Northern Michigan Red House. We shared a glass of sangria as a final toast to Tom’s memory. Peggy posted on facebook,

One last toast to our dear cousin. Rest in peace Tom. You would have loved your service, I sure did. Thank you for the beautiful flowers Rhonda.

A Final Toast
A Final Toast

We all loved you and will miss you. Rest in peace, Tom. You’ve  earned your reward.

Your cousin Phil