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Dick Moore is Loving Life

Dick Moore knew he was in good hands. He knew he had a 98 percent chance of surviving after triple by-pass heart surgery. He was surrounded by family, waiting to go into the emergency room, at peace and ready.

But that 2 percent thing still nagged at him as he gave the thumbs up and was wheeled up the hallway.

"It makes your think long and hard about family," Moore said.

It started on New Year's Day when Moore, 73, was in the basement of his home. He felt tightening in his throat and chest area and knew right away something was wrong. He and his wife, Joyce, immediately headed to Blessing Hospital's Emergency Center.

After he got in and was checked out, Moore was surprised to hear he'd had a heart attack.

"I didn't even think about that," he said. "It was just some discomfort."

It didn't take long after consulting with Dr. Steven Krause of Blessing Physician Services to realize Moore had a serious health issue. Three arteries leading to his heart were basically blocked, and Dr. James Case of Blessing Hospital decided to do surgery.

For four long days before surgery, Moore lay in a Blessing Hospital and pondered his fate.

Moore worked for 30 years as an educator with Quincy Public Schools, retiring in 1993 as an assistant principal and again in 2000 after an interim year as director of the Early Childhood Center.

He's been married to 50 years, has three great kids, seven grandchildren. He loves to putter in his basement, fish and hunt, take trips to Montana with Joyce.

In his sunset years, Dick Moore is enjoying life. The heart attack, however, was a sobering reminder about family and friendships getting you through difficult times.

"I did a lot of soul-searching," Moore admits. "You know, the 'why me' type of thing ... I thought a lot about if I wasn't here, what did I want my family to know."

Dick and Joyce gathered family, including their three children, Scott, Suzanne Dohm and Julie Stratman, at the hospital bed before his surgery. It's not surprising, seeing as family has always been a huge part of his life.

Dick is one of the Moore triplets, with brothers Bob and Ross. He has a younger brother, Tom. His father, Joe Moore, was a manual arts teacher at Quincy High School until he died at age 41 of strep throat.

Dick's mother, the indomitable Myra Belle, kept the family together and later became well-known at Woodland Home, now known as Quanada. Myra Belle lived to be 100 until she passed away in 2007.

The family huddled, and Dick was wheeled off.

"The next thing I remember, I hear a voice 'He's coming around,' " Moore remembers. "That's when I knew I'd made it."

He was on his feet and moving the next day, and home four days after his surgery. Dick and Joyce profusely thanked the Blessing Hospital staff for excellent care.

"I could have gone out of town," he says. "I had that option. But that would have been really hard on my family."

Slowly but surely, Moore is getting his energy back. He was able to go downstairs this past week "That's kind of my place," he says. He smiles when thinking of his newest granddaughter, Alayna. He sits in his living room and watches the sun come through the windows and knows it's good to be alive.

"He's getting foxy again," Joyce Moore says, and she dabs away a tear.

Many people called or sent notes, including his old Quincy High School basketball coach, 96-year-old George Latham of Waukegan.

"That," says Moore, "was special."

Immersed by friends and family, Dick Moore is loving life again.

rhart@whig.com/221-3370

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