Ted Moore

Profile Updated: October 7, 2015
Ted Moore
Residing In: Anchorage, AK USA
Spouse/Partner: Ginny Willis ('69) Moore
Children and grandchildren: Ian (1972) m. Jen Jolliff + grandson Springer (2007)
Heather (1974) m. Martin Renner + granddaughter More…Frida (2006)+ grandson Lukas (2008)
Yes! Attending Reunion
Open Category for whatever you wish to tell about yourself in whatever way.

Even now, after half a century has passed, I look back on the years I spent at Swarthmore as among the most wonderful and formative of my life. Thanks, Swarthmore. Academic distinction may have eluded me, but clearly this was the place and the time where I evolved into the person I am today, and where many of my closest and most enduring friendships were formed. Much of the credit (or blame?) for who I became can be attributed to my involvement with the SOC (outing club). This tight-knit group did everything together; most every weekend a group of us headed off campus (usually to go cave exploring or rock climbing), and at mealtimes I almost always sought out the unofficial SOC table at Sharples. Thanks, SOC. Oh yes, Swarthmore and SOC also provided me with my wife of 46 years and counting (Ginny Willis ’69), so that was pretty nice too.

Upon graduation with an undistinguished engineering degree, and still without any clear idea of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, the Peace Corps provided an appealing stopgap option, as well as a much-needed draft deferment. Peace Corps’ initial offer was to send me off to do engineering in Iran, however I had trouble working up a lot of enthusiasm for a dry, dusty desert environment where women all wear burkhas; thus I was ecstatic when they agreed to let me switch to a program in Nepal instead, surveying for roads, bridges and airfields. As with my experience at Swarthmore, while significant professional accomplishments eluded me in Nepal, I feel incredibly fortunate to have gotten to live two years in such an amazing place, amongst such delightful people.

In 1968 I was done with the Peace Corps, but alas the war was still on. What to do? The Boston Naval Shipyard advertised that it was looking for a few good naval architects. They said they would send engineers like me to MIT for additional training. I have always appreciated navels and the thought of actually designing them sounded pretty appealing, so I signed on. Despite being employed by DOD I assuaged my left-wing guilt by rationalizing that every dollar spent on the Boston Naval Shipyard was a dollar totally wasted, and therefore not contributing to killing peasants in Vietnam.

Freed at last from the draft by my 26th birthday, and with combined savings of $4000 burning in our pockets, my newly acquired wife, Ginny, and I quit our jobs and spent the next 14 months roaming around the world. By traveling 3rd class we even had enough money left over when we got back to buy a nice stereo set. We mountain climbed our way around Europe for the summer and then took an overland bus from Turkey through Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to Nepal. We really fell in love with the peaceable kingdom of Afghanistan where the people seemed so proud and friendly. Little could we imagine what horrific trauma superpower meddling combined with latent ethnic hostilities, Stinger missiles, the Taliban and Bin Laden could inflict on that seeming Shangri La.

Our return flight to the US allowed a stopover in Alaska and we were immediately captivated by its stunning natural beauty, pioneering spirit, midnight sun and wide-open spaces. So we flew east, bought a V dub, crammed all our worldly possession into and onto it and headed up the Alaska Highway with nary a backward glance. Thus we found ourselves back in Anchorage just before the onset of winter with little money, no jobs, and no place to live, but full of the boundless energy of youth. I soon lined up a job designing airports and we rented an A-frame cabin in the mountains and adopted a husky-wolf dog - named Swarth, of course, given our last name. Our son, Ian, was born that next April and Heather came along a couple of years later to complete our quota.

At the time we rationalized that we would live in Alaska while we were young, then move to Colorado for middle age and finally back to Vermont when we got to be really old, like 50 or something! The fact that we are still here 44 years later probably is not sufficient to prove we are still "young", but at least Colorado has been stricken from the agenda. We purchased 10 acres of land bordering a 500,000-acre state park on the hillside above Anchorage and over the years have built first one octagon, then another connected to it and finally a garage with a home office above it. Little by little we have sunk roots into this rocky Alaskan soil, so that by now we feel pretty well anchored down here. Fantastic hiking and climbing and cross-country skiing opportunities for daylong or weekend adventures beckon just outside our door.

Over the years Ginny and I have spent only a few interludes away from Alaska, once while I studied for a graduate degree at Johns Hopkins and another time when I worked on a Buddhist monastery in New York. When our kids were 4 and 6 we took them to Nepal where we trekked for 55 days through the mountains halfway across the country to the village where I had lived when in the Peace Corps. Trekking with kids turned out to be a great icebreaker with the Nepalese villagers, so 35 years later (in 2012) we returned for more of the same with our 5 year-old grandson.

It wasn't until the mid-eighties that I finally discovered my true calling in life. It was the romantic life of a septic engineer that ultimately captured my soul, and I remained fully immersed in the ebb and flow of this work, until my recent retirement.

Thankfully, our kids did not do to us what we did to our parents. After attending public school here in Alaska and college "Outside", both have returned to live nearby. Our daughter, Heather, is a bird biologist in Homer, where she and husband Martin are raising two delightful grandchildren, Frida and Lukas, now 7 and 9. Our son, Ian, along with his partner, Jen, and eight-year-old grandson, Springer, live just a mile across the valley from us by trail. Ian does GIS consulting work to occupy the time when he and Jen aren't paragliding or working on their amazing hand-made house.

Even at our attained age, Ginny and I continue our SOC-inspired love affair with playing outdoors. In winter it’s cross-country and back-country skiing that beckon us outside, although we often make a mid-winter pilgrimage to some tropical nirvana during the coldest and darkest time. In Alaska’s delightful but too-short summer we strive to fit in times for sea kayaking, hiking, gardens and trail building - plus a steady stream of visitors. A few years ago we purchased a little vacation home in the seaside fishing village of Seldovia (now augmented with a 20-foot sailboat), so we constantly struggle to find the right balance between our two favorite summer locations.

I know this bio has run on far too long, but that is what people say about my Christmas newsletters every year - and this one is trying to span 50 years. We always welcome guests out here in the boondocks (even those with the flimsiest of excuses), so if any classmates are planning a trip to Alaska we’d love to hear from you….. Life is good!

Education History since Swarthmore:

MS Environmental Engineering -Johns Hopkins University -1976

Memories from time at Swarthmore

My favorite memory of Paul Mangelsdorf was the time he and I thought that we were personally responsible for the great northeast power blackout of 1965. I no longer recall the specific details, but Paul was conducting research attempting to develop a methodology for measurement of stream flow by laying a brine-filled tube on the river bottom and measuring an induced electric current. I was his research assistant one afternoon in November of 1965, and he and I had spent several hours out in a rowboat laying the tubing across a tributary of the Delaware River. After finishing the measurements, as day turned to night he and I were struggling to pull the tubing out of the river and back into the boat, when all of the lights in the surrounding area suddenly went out. We were convinced that we must have somehow snagged and broken an electrical cable in the process, and became increasingly concerned while driving back to Swarthmore listening to radio reports about the huge extent of “our” power outage! Of course, in reality we had nothing to do with it, but it was a great memory, and we later heard stories of numerous other people who also thought they had caused the outage by whatever they were doing at the time it occurred.

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Ted Moore has a birthday today.
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Jun 24, 2020 at 4:33 AM
Ted Moore posted a message.
Dec 08, 2019 at 2:25 AM

My wife, Ginny '69 and I are just back in Alaska after spending the month of November in Nepal, making our 6th extended visit to the country since I was there in the Peace Corps from 1966 – 1968. The trekking route which we did this time is called “The Manaslu Circuit”, wherein we spent about 3 weeks ascending the Buddhi Gandaki river valley and crossing over a 17,000’ pass on the north side of Mt. Manaslu, the 8th highest mountain in the world. We had already trekked a significant part of this route back in 2012 when we visited Tsum valley with our grandson, Springer, and his family, so this gave us an opportunity to witness some of the changes that are happening in Nepal these days. We didn’t deliberately choose to do the same route over again, but when a couple of newish Alaska friends invited us to join in on a trip which they had already arranged, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Besides, now that we are well into our 70’s, who knows how much longer we will be able to undertake such a trek?

With the possible exceptions of America, New Zealand, Guatemala, etc., etc, Nepal is my favorite country in the world, and being able to speak the language does give me a special entrée to relate to its famously friendly inhabitants. Furthermore, the scenery is nothing short of spectacular and Nepal’s much lower latitude makes it an attractive trekking destination at a time when our Alaska climate is particularly dank and dreary.

For anyone who has the time and is interested, an album of photos from the trip can be found at https://photos.app.goo.gl/cdEXoasAuBnLuPPV9, but perhaps a little additional commentary is warranted. Thanks to digital camera technology, the sheer number of photos one can take on a trip is staggering. Even though every day I tried to weed out all my near duplicates, mistakes and truly bad photos, I still came home with over 700 photos and videos. This is way too many, even for me to look at, much less to share with friends. After much further chopping I have pared the number of photos in the album down to 180+, (which is still an awful lot); I have also added brief descriptions to each. I’m not a Facebook aficionado, although I can now see why periodic posting of small selections of photos is so popular with many people. What is lost, in my opinion, is the ability to look at such an adventure as a whole.

For first-time visitors, like the friends we travelled with, the Nepalese people are so friendly and the mountain scenery so spectacular that it seems a bit churlish to focus on anything negative. But, having been privileged to have visited Nepal so many times over the past 50+ years, I can’t help being conscious of the bad and the ugly as well as the good. I’m afraid that our friends became a little tired of my frequent comparisons between the Nepal of today and the good old days. Certainly, the march of progress has brought a lot of improvements to people’s lives in terms of ready access to clean water, electricity and material things. Partially offsetting these benefits are filthy urban rivers, smog and traffic jams. In rural Nepal the push to develop roads has resulted in huge erosion and disruptions to traditional village economies. Even the rush to construct fancy wooden guest houses for trekkers has to be a significant contributor to deforestation of pristine mountain groves.

This trek was the first time that we revisited rural places that we had already seen, and also the first time that we found ourselves upon a heavily travelled tourist trekking route. I couldn’t help feeling a little sad that this time most of our interactions were with fellow international trekkers instead of Nepalese villagers, and that we slept in newly constructed guest-houses instead of in a corner of a local Nepali’s home. Such sentiments remind me of a quote often ascribed to Yogi Berra “Nostalgia just ain’t what it used to be”.

Best Wishes from your wayward classmate,
Ted
December, 2019

Ted Moore has a birthday today.
Jun 24, 2019 at 4:34 AM
Ted Moore has a birthday today.
Jun 24, 2018 at 4:33 AM
Ted Moore has a birthday today.
Jun 24, 2017 at 4:33 AM
Ted Moore has a birthday today.
Jun 24, 2016 at 4:33 AM
Ted Moore posted a message.
Oct 07, 2015 at 8:10 PM

Here is a recent photo of Ginny and me taken this September atop Hope Point near Anchorage. The second photo is of our home on the outskirts of Anchorage taken this August.

Ted Moore updated his profile. View.
Oct 07, 2015 at 6:45 PM