Skagway musher Hugh Neff (center with bib) breathes in the moment as handlers prepare his sled before the start of the Yukon Quest Trail in Whitehorse. Neff was the first musher to Dawson and was jockeying with two other teams for the lead on the final stretch to Fairbanks this week. See story in features below. - Andrew Cremata

Skagway loses Pat Moore

An inspiration for all succumbs to ALS

On Sunday, Feb. 13, 2005, Patrick Joseph Moore quietly passed away after a long battle with ALS (better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). He was 46.
More than 200 people filled the Catholic Church for his funeral mass on Feb. 19, and saw him laid to rest in the Skagway Cemetery. A reception followed at the Elks, where family and friends gathered to view photos of his life and share memories about a man who inspired everyone with how he lived.
Patrick was born in Sandpoint, Idaho on Aug. 10, 1958. He moved to Skagway with his family as a young boy and attended Skagway Public School where he graduated as valedictorian in 1976.Pat helped build the Catholic Church along with a couple of his brothers and his father. Following graduation, he joined the U.S. Navy and became an air traffic controller. After leaving the Navy, he returned to Skagway where he met and married his wife, Donna Noland, on Oct. 12, 1984. The couple had two children, Kristen (born Dec. 18, 1989) and son Joe (born June 22, 1991), who were the light of his life.
Pat attended Oregon State University, graduating with a degree in fish and wildlife management. Pat was hired by the National Park Service during summers while still attending college, and went to work full-time after he and Donna returned to Skagway. Under Roy Nelson, he built the two major suspension bridges on the Chilkoot Trail, and then joined the regular trail crew under Jerry Watson. After a couple years on trail crew, he was moved to maintaining all the Dyea sites and restoration work in Skagway. Although he regretted not being outdoors as much, he enjoyed being close to his family.

Pat Moore motors to one of his favorite Yukon fishing holes. Photos courtesy of Moore family

“Pat was always a joy to work with in the field,” noted his supervisor, John Warder. “He always looked for a better way to get something accomplished and was a great problem solver. When he finally had to retire in 2000, I felt I had truly lost one of the best people I had worked with in my 31 years with the Park Service.”
Pat was an avid outdoorsman who loved hiking, hunting, fishing and simply being outside with friends and family. “I believe Pat kept Cabela’s in business,” Donna said. He also enjoyed softball, basketball and bowling. In the Elks Pat actively helped with the Hoop Shoot and other programs. Pat did all the paper work and got the Soccer Shoot started in Skagway. His family and children were a big part of his life. From the age of one and a half on, the children were taken by their dad on camping trips. “As long as the diaper bag was packed and ready, he took them,” Donna said. “He took the kids hiking, fishing, to Dyea, Canada, just everywhere.”
His enthusiasm for the outdoors was well-known, and he was appointed by former Mayor John Mielke to the Dyea Flats Advisory Committee and the Fish Hatchery Oversight Committee, which he chaired. Just last summer, in recognition of his work in the outdoors and with children, Mayor Tim Bourcy proclaimed the new footbridge over the Skagway River to the Seventh Pasture recreation complex, the “Pat Moore Bridge.”
The proclamation, drafted in response to a community petition, called Pat “a tireless advocate for improved recreational facilities and stewardship of Skagway’s recreational opportunities.”
In response, Pat wrote that having the bridge named for him was “deeply humbling,” adding that his wife Donna and all those who had helped his family over the past five years were his heroes.
Pat was diagnosed with ALS in 1999. Before his illness, Pat was an excellent speaker who won several state and district ritual competitions in the 1990s for the Skagway Elks lodge.
After his diagnosis, he was elected by the order to Exalted Ruler in 2000 and continued to coach the Skagway Ritual Team.
“He made us practice ... and told us if we pronounced something wrong,” said the Elks’ John L. O’Daniel. “He was a great leader and we won the state competition with him as coach.”
As part of the Elks eulogy, O’Daniel added, “As he was true to us, let us be true to him.”
One great example of true brotherhood came in the fall of 2000, when Pat joined brother Mike, brother-in-law Joe Hicks and friend Curt Dodd for a Dall sheep hunt. They all helped Pat get to a spot on the mountain where he pulled the trigger and got his first sheep. At the reception, friends and family enjoyed a video of the hunt, which showed many images of Pat and his famous smile.
“Even after his diagnosis, he had a great outlook on life,” Donna said. “He could be seen cruising all over town in his power wheelchair, smiling and nodding to everyone like he always had.”
Family and community were his inspiration.
“He was a kind and generous son, husband, father, brother and friend who loved people and life,” the Moore family wrote. “He had a wonderful sense of humor that helped sustain us all throughout his long illness. His strength, courage and grace are a testament to his faith in God and his love of family and community.”


Pat was preceded in death by his little sister, Suzanne Moore, Grandmothers Mamie Conrad and Anna Moore, Grandfathers Ralph Conrad and George Moore, and most recently his Aunt Margaret Moore. He is survived by his wife of 20 years, Donna, their children Kristen and Joe, in-laws Earl and Della Noland, Thelma Noland, Grandmother Ruth Noland, and Kim and Scott Gunderson and son Chad. He also leaves behind his parents, Paul & Barbara Moore, his brothers Michael Moore and wife Carla, David Moore and wife Teresa and children Jessica, Thomas and Dave’s boys Justin and Jerod Moore, Stephen Moore and children Leah and Danny, Paul Moore, Jr. and wife Steffanie and their children Gage and Riley, James Moore and wife Stela, his sisters Teresa Hicks and husband Joseph and children Taylor and Connor, Mary Howard and her children Anders and Seth, Gina Courtright and husband David and their children Brooks and Britany, Joan Hamilton and husband Jeff and their children Kyli, Andrea and Gregory. He also leaves his uncle George Moore and cousins Krissy Fairbanks, Rick Moore and Lisa Cox and families, Aunts Kathy Powell and cousin Kerina, Judy Hackstedde and cousin Erin (and family), Bob and Norma Schulz and family, Beatrice Bloomfield and family, Roger Bloomfield and family. He also leaves behind a community filled with hearts as wide as the oceans. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him!
In lieu of flowers the family would like donations made to the ALS Foundation or the local EMS dept.
During the service, Pat’s mother, Barbara, told the story of the apple tree that was moved from the old Mission site to the new Catholic church by some mysterious operators in the middle of the night. But even though the tree leaned a bit (“toward the church for strength”), and had to be held up by a rock and chains (later removed), it blossoms every spring. She then told childhood stories about Pat and how “this rough and tumble guy” surprised her by becoming a loving husband and father, whether curled up with his daughter or teaching his son how to pop heads off a shrimp.
Then she returned to the apple tree.
“Remember the apple tree. Almost without warning that awful disease hit,” she said. “Donna was his rock and the kids, his unseen chains.”
She then asked everyone to “please ponder that glorious idea of resurrection.”
Pat was remembered with this final prayer,
“The Day God Called You Home”:
“God looked around his Garden and found an empty place, He then looked down upon his earth and saw your loving face. He put his arms around you and he lifted you to rest. His Garden must be beautiful, he always takes the best. He knew that you were suffering, he knew you were in pain; and he knew that you would not be healed again on earth. He whispered to you “Peace by Thine” and gave you wings to fly, and when we saw you sleeping there, so calm and free of pain, we could not wish you back to earth to suffer once again. You’ve left us precious moments your love will be our guide. You live on through your children, you’re always at their side. It broke our hearts to lose you, but you did not go alone, for part of us went with you, on the day God called you home.”
– Compiled from observances by Pat’s family and friends.

CITY DIGEST: Kids win round two

Sugar ordinance fails on 5-1 vote

Skagway City Council members were swayed by testimony and letters from more than 25 school children Feb. 17 and voted down an ordinance that would have banned from city facilities the sale of products containing at least 10 percent sugar.
Taking some of the heat off council members, Mayor Tim Bourcy fessed up that he instructed City Manager Bob Ward to draft the ordinance to spur interest from students who are studying government this quarter.
Many of the kids who testified said they had mixed feelings about the ordinance. First and second graders who could barely reach the microphone testified about healthy products that contain more than 10 percent sugar, while others made statements like “we won’t be able to drink root beer floats with our popcorn.”
Several kids said they exercise frequently to burn off any sugar they consume, while others said sugar is bad for you and leads to obesity and diabetes.
Having a choice was also important to many kids. “We should be able to spend our money on whatever we want because we make good decisions,” said fourth grader Jade Cook.
The ordinance would have banned sales from city streets and sidewalks as well, shutting down popular lemonade stands that are good first revenue-producers for kids. “Hardly any people would come by my house,” said Sydney Brown.
While it was pointed out by Ward that lemonade stands technically have been illegal and “overlooked” for years, council members said there were other problems with the ordinance.
Members Mike Catsi, Mike Korsmo and Monica Carlson said the kids had done a good job educating them about natural sugars in products and that the 10 percent figure was too low, but they were concerned about products being sold in the school. Jay Frey said it really should be a school board policy matter.
Mayor Bourcy said he was most impressed by the statements about freedom of choice and most disappointed upon learning 89 percent of Jello is sugar. “I used to eat it out of the box when I was a kid,” he related.
The final vote confused many in the audience, but they were happy with the final result. Dave Hunz offered an amendment to delete making sporting events and other school activities eligible for an exemption from the mayor and council. It passed 5-0.
“I don’t support (the ordinance) but I wanted to change it if it did pass so I would have some input,” Hunz said. Then he cast the only vote for the ordinance, which failed 1-4, explaining later that it was just a lesson in politics. – JEFF BRADY


First grader Nicole Masciola and classmates address the Skagway City Council on Feb. 17. The count was 23 to 4 against the sugar ban ordinance. See story under headlines above. JB


• ON QUEST TRAIL: Following the lead pack to Dawson City and beyond

• SPORTS ROUNDUP: Girls rebound from first loss; Ski club Jackrabbits place high at Marsh Lake Loppet

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