Beverly E. Moodey, a sentimental lover of nature, words, music, and his family, died on January 25, 2023. He was 88. He was a devoted and affectionate husband, father, and grandfather and we loved him back deeply.
Bev was born in 1935 on Staten Island, where his father was stationed as an officer in the Coast Guard. As a military family the Moodeys moved around, with Bev spending his early childhood in Coral Gables, FL; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Southern Pines, NC; and Lincoln, NM, where he lived in an adobe house while his father recovered from tuberculosis at Fort Stanton.
Bev was one of Phoenix’s long-time residents, arriving in the Valley in 1947. At the time, Phoenix was a city of 100,000 people. He loved telling stories of riding the bus downtown to see a movie for 10 cents at the Fox Theater, how McDowell turned into a dirt road at 24th Street, and of nights out at Chez Nous and Durant’s followed by late-night food at Red Devil or Bob’s Big Boy. He graduated from Phoenix Union High School in 1952.
In his college years, Bev attended the Coast Guard Academy, the University of Arizona, and Arizona State University, from where he eventually graduated. While at the Coast Guard Academy, he sailed to Europe on the USCGC Eagle, the only active-duty tall ship in the American seagoing services, sparking a lifelong love of ships and sailing. He was proud to be an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves, retiring after 20 years as a Lieutenant Commander.
Bev started his career as a surveyor with the City of Phoenix, moving on to work as a planner in the Phoenix City Planning Department for 35 years, and later with the City of Tempe and the Arizona State Commerce Department before retiring in 1994. While at the City of Phoenix he headed the Zoning Department and worked on major projects in the 1980s to promote and revitalize Phoenix’s downtown and bring rapid transit to the city. Those initiatives gained support later, and he loved to remind us that they should have listened to him 20 years earlier. He also was part of the team that planned and won approval for the Piestewa Peak Parkway. After retirement, he embraced his role as a stay-at-home dad, reading aloud in his youngest daughter’s classroom weekly and chauffeuring kids to school and extracurriculars while providing them with informal lessons in history, music and his favorite Mark Twain quotes. His carpools were famous, with many of Kate’s friends quoting him to this day.
Bev used to like to describe himself as an intellectual dilettante, but that is a poor description for someone so relentlessly curious and well-read. He was always ready for a deep conversation — or to demolish everyone else in a trivia game. He loved words and language, and never let a grammar mistake slide by uncorrected. He was an avid fan of classical music from a young age, a passion he shared with good friends over the years and thrust upon his children at every chance. He loved the Arizona outdoors, camping and backpacking through its deserts and forests with his family. He was also a fantastic self-taught cook with a knack for creating delicious recipes that are still faithful standbys among family and friends. After dinner, he often initiated sessions of card games or Yahtzee, a tradition he passed down to us from playing often with his parents. Bev also loved his animals dearly — he had many dogs and cats that held a special place in his heart (and his lap). Bev loved good food, good wine, and most of all good conversation with his favorite people. His mind was sharp, his laugh was infectious, and his hugs were legendary.
He is survived by his beloved wife Lillian, daughters Kate and Laura, son Paul, sons-in-law Ryan and Jorge, and his grandchildren Joaquín, Tomás, and Nora. He was so proud of and profoundly delighted by all of them.
The family will be doing a private celebration of his life at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance Fund (
) or another charity you believe would honor Bev’s life.