Col. (Ret.) James “Jim” Robert Moergeli, Jr., 76, passed away with his wife by his side in Ocean Shores, Washington, on February 12, 2018. He was born in Tacoma, Washington, on September 17, 1941, to James Sr. and Marie “Emma” Moergeli. Jim lived by the motto: God, Country, and Family. His life was one of service to all three.
Learning was one of Jim’s passions and intertwined with his service in the United States Army. After graduating from Bellarmine High School, Jim earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Seattle University and then a Doctor of Dental Surgery from Creighton University. He was commissioned in the United States Army Dental Corps as a Captain doing general dentistry. As the military took Jim and his family to various duty stations in the United States and abroad, he began a one-year residency Maxillofacial Prosthodontics program at Bethesda Naval Hospital and then was stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. While stationed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Jim fulfilled his desire to earn a Masters of Health Care Administration from George Washington University, and he lead a dental residency training program there. Jim eventually culminated his military career as a Regional Dental Commander and Colonel. He retired in 1996 after 33 years of dedicated and honorable service. During retirement, Jim made the decision to re-enter the workforce and continued his love of dentistry with the Public Health Service in Kotzebue, Alaska, for 15 years.
Jim was best known for his leadership skills, being known as the “rock”, his love of the beach and water, his gardening skills, and his incredible intelligence. His favorite past times and hobbies were walking on the beach, traveling the world with his family, going to church, volunteering with the Knights of Columbus, fishing with his dear friends in Alaska, visiting the beach house, making chili, spaghetti, ham and bean soup, and breakfast for family and friends, shopping for bargains, keeping up with current affairs, and visiting his grandkids.
Wherever the family was stationed, Jim made sure that his three daughters learned the meaning of service, a strong work ethic, and hard work. He taught his daughters to be strong, independent women who could survive any trial and tribulation in life. Jim made sure that they could build, cook, clean, garden, mow, paint, and change tires!
James Jr. is preceded in death by his parents, James Robert Moergeli, Sr., and Marie Emma Moergeli. He is survived by his loving wife, Sandra, of 52 years; three daughters, Michelle (Paul) Gerbyshak of Gig Harbor, Laura (James) Feider of New Braunfels, Texas, Ann Voves of Gig Harbor, and Ron Voves of Gig Harbor; seven grandchildren: James Paul, Sarah, and Kathleen Feider; Ryan and Anthony Voves; Michaela and Luke Gerbyshak; sister Carol Ann (Gregory) Rath; sister-in-law Janice McCormick; and many nieces and nephews.
A Funeral Mass for Jim will be held on March 2, 2018, at 1000 at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Gig Harbor, Washington, with a reception to follow. Succeeding the reception, a Graveside Service with military honors will be held at Haven of Rest Memorial Park. He is deeply loved and will be missed dearly by his family and friends.
Donations may be made to:
St Nicholas Catholic School
3555 Edwards Dr, Gig Harbor, WA 98335, Gig Harbor WA 98335