Remembering Richard Moehl and his contributions to Emmet County

Richard Moehl, one of Emmet County’s most supportive and tireless volunteers and advocates, passed away on Dec. 28, 2015, at his downstate home in Pinckney. For decades, Moehl had been instrumental in encouraging, supporting and working on historic preservation efforts around Emmet County and the state of Michigan, particularly lighthouse preservation. He was a member of the Emmet County Historical Commission for many years and was known as an enthusiastic and determined lighthouse protector, and enthusiastic proponent of the county’s various parks and recreation efforts, from dark sky preservation and programming to maritime history promotion to the restoration of McGulpin Point Lighthouse. It would be difficult to quantify the numerous hours Dick gave to Emmet County projects and the amount of encouragement he offered to staff to “Keep the go!” as he was fond of saying.

A complete article about Dick’s contributions to Emmet County will be forthcoming. Copied below is his obituary as it appeared in the Ann Arbor News. A memorial service for Dick will take place in Mackinaw City, the location of his second home and the place where he invested much time and volunteer hours, in the Spring.

Obituary:

“Life was fantastic and getting better until this interruption, Dick Moehl would say. Born to parents Ora Waller and June (Andrews) Moehl in Detroit, MI. Siblings Jack (1929-1929) Charis (1930-2012 Moon) Peggy (1933 Zink). Moved to Hamburg, MI 1940 and graduated from University High School 1950. Enlisted in United States Air Force 1951 – 1954. Dick married his High sweetheart, Margaret Fralick, in1953 before shipping overseas. Graduated from the University of Michigan School of Business Administration in 1958 after serving duty in the USAF.

Three children were brought into this nifty American world: Michael, Sarah (Lau) & Thomas. Retired from Beacon Investment Company and the wonderful team of investment advisors after 32+ years in 1999. Dick was commodore of the Huron Portage Yacht Club in 1975 where he became club champion in the Fireball and Sunfish classes. He helped found and organize the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers in 1983 and served as its volunteer president for 27 years retiring in 2012.

During Dick’s tenure with GLLKA he was very instrumental in working with Boy Scouts of Troop 4 of Ann Arbor restoring the St. Helena Island Light Station in northern Lake Michigan working out of Mackinaw City. Dick helped scouts from Troop 4 earn 29 Scout Service Projects at the light station, three on the retired icebreaker Mackinaw WAGB 83 and one at McGulpin Point Light Station. In 2000 then governor John Engler Honored Dick as the George Romney Volunteer of the year. Dick was honored by Central Michigan University in 2005 as an Honorary Alumni for his interest and project work for CMU.

In 2015 he received the Lifetime Achievement award during the Essence of Emmet History Awards for his preservation and economic development work in Emmet County. Dick was very proud of earning his 100 ton Merchant Marine Master’s License and operating his Coast Guard credentialed 46′ Cake & Ice Cream primarily in historic lighthouse restoration and preservation work in the Straits of Mackinac. He was called to Washington, D.C. a number of times to testify about various lighthouse issues. Dick was somewhat of a pioneer in fostering national and state legislation to facilitate historic restoration procedures for lighthouses.

Yep, life was fantastic and how proud and thankful I can be to have been born and lived my life in wonderful America. A very special thanks to my strict parents, family and many friends and associates and the many educators and mentors who molded me into the person I became. Preceding Dick in death: parents Ora & June, brother Jack, son Tom, sister Charis, and son Mike. Dick leaves behind his wife Margret, daughter Sarah (Matt) Lau and grandchildren: Meagan Lau, Trevor (Elaine) & Michael (Julia) Moehl. A memorial will be held in the spring for Dick and his son Mike in Mackinaw City, MI. In place of flowers donations may be made to Eagle Scout projects BSA Troop 4, Ann Arbor (attn. Frank Oldani) 1025 Scio Hills Ct., Ann Arbor, MI 48103 and for Dick’s vision for maritime heritage preservation in Emmet County, to The Dark Sky Coast Association P.O. Box 493, Harbor Springs, MI 49770.”

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