Sara Rubin here, thinking about Memorial Day with a sense of respect and appreciation for those we honor today.
One of those men is Dwight Moberg, who enrolled in ROTC as a young man attending college at the University of Illinois, where he met June Moberg. They made plans to get engaged come Christmas and then get married in April, but his service in the U.S. Air Force took him to Albuquerque, and he wasn’t scheduled for leave until July. “I said, ‘I’m not sitting around here, waiting until July,’” June says. So he got a weekend pass and she went to Albuquerque, and they were married on Feb. 19, 1955.
I spoke with June a little more than 66 years later, and just about two weeks after her husband was buried at the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery on May 18. He died at age 89 months earlier, on Feb. 24, and the family waited until the cemetery was ready for in-ground burials so he could be laid to rest in the place he had wanted to be buried. “He liked the forest and the trees,” June says from her Southern California home. “We love the Central Coast. There wasn't any other veterans cemetery that he wanted to be buried at.”
They didn’t know he would be the first veteran to be buried there, but it was an honor, she adds. Moberg served for 20-plus years domestically in the Air Force, including during the Korean War, and he was always proud of his military service. It was and is a family tradition—his father and son also completed military service—but as with all veterans, there was a lot more to who Dwight Moberg was.
He was an aeronautical engineer who designed control engines used in the moon landing and, just before he retired in 1997, managed the world’s most powerful laser. He liked to visit the Central Coast, particularly Morro Bay, and play golf. He became a devoted runner, starting in his mid-40s, eventually completing more than 400 races, including 28 marathons. “That was his passion,” June says. “For 31 years he ran every day, at least a mile.” (She took up the hobby too, and has run three marathons.)
When he died after a full life, due to a series of ailments (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, arthritis), June says he looked to be at peace and out of pain. “He had the most relaxed, beautiful expression, and he was sound asleep. I thought, finally he is out of pain, and that makes you feel a lot better.”
And then, a few months later, he was buried where he wanted to be.