Michael Ray Moody: 1947-1994
From: Carl Kunath, August 2008
It is with great sadness that I announce the death of a good friend and a major figure in Texas caving. Please note that this information is coming long after the fact.
Mike Moody, 47, died on April 7, 1994 only a few days after suffering a stroke at his home. Unfortunately, he had been absent from the caving world for quite a while and his whereabouts was generally unknown to his former companions. At the time, his death passed without a ripple in the caving community.
Mike was survived by his wife, Lucrezia, and by their adopted son, Breihan “Mikey.” To compound the tragedy, Lucrezia passed away only a few years after Mike.
Mike got his start in caving with the Texas Tech cavers in the late 1960s, joined the NSS as #8808, and soon became a fixture in Texas caving. He was chairman of the Tech group in the fall of 1966 and was a Charter member of Carta Valley Sucks. He was a staunch member of the Dallas – Fort Worth Grotto and chaired that group in 1971, Mike visited many caves in Texas and New Mexico and he attended virtually all the TSA events during the next few years. Mike was honored as Texas Caver Of The Month in December 1971. Another of the high points of his career was editing the Texas Caver for 1972. Mike was also a mover and shaker of the major effort to survey Longhorn Cavern in the early 1970s.
Mike and Lucrezia Doughty were married on January 1, 1972 at a small ceremony attended by family both of blood and of guano. The ceremony was traditional until, at a critical moment, the cuckoo clock on the wall began to sound off the hour and the entire group, which might have remained straight-faced had it been, say, 2 PM, convulsed with laughter as it relentlessly announced 11 AM! There was a wonderful party afterward in the true CVS style.
Mike worked for Southwest Labs (a soil testing company) in Dallas, and had many outside interests including ham radio, RC aircraft, and firearms. It was Mike’s .357 Magnum that expeditiously dispatched a rattler at the entrance of a new Edwards County cave and thereby christened the cave.
I recall many things about Mike. He was a fine caving companion and a nice guy to be around. He was an accomplished photographer both of black and white, which he processed in his own darkroom, and of color transparencies. I am reminded of the party that followed the 1970 wedding and champagne reception for Pete Lindsley and Karen Bradley. The evening’s final destination for many of us was at Moody’s apartment in Euless. Here, we consumed the remainder of a case of champagne donated by Karen’s parents and were feeling no pain. Mike produced a Carousel slide projector and commenced a free-form slide show. The projector became balky and Mike was cussing and complaining, shaking it, fiddling with it, and it seemed that eventually it would accept the next slide. The group was too far gone to fix the problem or even to care much and by 4 AM or so, the party was over. In the cold light of noon, it was discovered that the projector had ceased to function because it was stuffed with now-mangled slides that Mike had crammed into it one after the other; refusing to take “no” for an answer.
In 1970, Mike bought a Toyota FJ-40 and took it anywhere, anytime. It wasn’t unusual to take four cavers and all their gear from Dallas to the Guadalupe Mountains for weekend of caving. Remember, this is a fairly small vehicle and not intended for long road trips. There is a great story about Mike and that vehicle in 50 Years Of Texas Caving. (Follow this link: http://pages.suddenlink.net/carl-kunath/50_Years/Stuffing_the_FJ-40.pdf)
So, M. Ray, your caving friends miss you still and are saddened that you have left us.
We are diminished.
Mike Moody posing with his spanking new Toyota
May 1970. This is the vehicle that
21 cavers across the international bridge to Acuña.