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Completing the Map

Sep 12, 2023

Dana Casadei, Media Relations Specialist

Around Valentine’s Day a very special gift arrived for John Moore while at the Angela Hospice Care Center, but it wasn’t chocolate or flowers or anything one might usually associate with the holiday. It was a box of dirt.

Up until this point John had literally touched dirt in every state in the U.S. except for one, Idaho, which is where that very special delivery came from.

“It was really awesome,” said Paul, one of John’s three sons. “I think from our perspective, it was just something that was great that we could give him.”

John’s original plan was to go stay with his granddaughter in Washington, then for the two of them to drive to Idaho. But with John’s health declining, that was no longer a viable option. She spoke with a friend who worked in hospice about her grandpa’s dream to touch dirt in all 50 states, then her friend called her dad, who called an army buddy in Idaho, and then a box of dirt was shipped to Michigan.

The family was able to share this moment in the Angela Hospice Care Center, where John received compassionate around-the-clock care for about two weeks before he passed in February.

“All the staff was fantastic,” Paul said. “All of the nursing staff, everybody.”

This was one of the special moments the family was able to have during John’s time at the Care Center, and one they could add to their own memory box, already full of adventures together.

And while John’s last stop was the Care Center, his goal to make it to all 50 states wasn’t a lifelong one, but one set after he went to Hawaii in 2020, his 49th state visit.

John touching dirt from Idaho, his 50th state.

Throughout his life John was able to see so many states through family road trips. There was one to Las Vegas, which was originally a trip to Disneyland until the weather took a turn. Then there was another that
went through the East Coast, starting in Virginia at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park and working their way up to Maine, covering all the states along the way.

He took each of his three sons on individual trips after their mom died, traveling to Alaska for a fishing trip; a tour of baseball stadiums which included Cooperstown; and the trip Paul took with him to Gatlinburg.

“I think it was his way of saying, okay, I’m going to do this with you boys, and then it will kind of close the door on the time with your mom,” Paul said.

Paul couldn’t say for certain what sparked his dad’s love for travel, but he believed it was due to John’s humble beginnings, growing up in small town Missouri, and being part of a family that wasn’t able to travel much when John was growing up.

As an adult, John shared his love for travel not only with his sons, but also with his own mom, who joined the family on that east coast trip, where she touched the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.

“He got to be able to do that for her, which was great,” Paul said.

The family was able to make all kinds of dreams come true.


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