Remembering David

Fundraiser benefits HCC students with a flair for art

June 12, 2010|By TIFFANY ARNOLD
  • Some of David Wayne Moser's artwork will be on display at Hagerstown Community College Friday, June 18, during "Surfer in the Sky," a book- and-art-sale fundraiser.
Courtesy of Tom Moser,

Artist and surfer David Wayne Moser lost his battle with a rare heart condition 20 years ago, but his family hopes to honor their "surfer in the sky" during a fundraiser at Hagerstown Community College on Friday.

Proceeds from a surf-themed art book, "Surfer in the Sky," will benefit the David Wayne Moser Memorial Fund, set up for HCC students who plan to attend a four-year school or art school. Moser's family is hosting the event.

Moser died April 28, 1990. He was a student the Art Institute of Pittsburgh at the time of his death, and was a 1989 graduate of Smithsburg High School.

At age 19, Moser left behind his parents Tom Moser Sr. and Mary Lou Moser, a younger brother, Stephen Moser, and older brother Tom Moser Jr.

"David was very full of life," said Tom Moser Jr., 42, of Fayetteville, Pa. "He loved art. He loved to surf. I think he would be very proud of something like this."


Tom Moser Jr., who coordinated the effort, said artists featured in the book include Spencer Reynolds, Tom Laura and Frank Holmes - who did the cover art for an unreleased Beach Boys' album, "SMiLE."

He said work by some of those artists would be available for sale during the HCC event. Proceeds from the art sales will go toward the memorial fund.

A life of challenges

David Wayne Moser was outgoing, social and religious, despite having to overcome a set of challenges most other children did not face, said his family.

His parents said David was born with a congenital heart condition known as transposition of the great arteries (TGA). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, TGA is a heart defect in which the two major arteries leading away from the heart are switched. As a result, oxygen-poor blood recirculates throughout the body. Without surgery, TGA can be fatal during the first six months of life. The CDC estimates that about five out of every 10,000 babies in the United States are born with TGA each year.

The cause of TGA is unknown.

David endured multiple procedures as a child to attempt to fix his troubled heart. He was not allowed to participate in contact sports because of his condition. Still, his parents said while they worked hard to protect David, they wanted him to be treated him as a "normal boy."

Tom Sr. said his son played Little League and served as a junior coach for football. David was a member of the Smithsburg High School band. The boys went to Orioles and Suns games together.

David and younger brother Stephen were into skateboarding. As teenagers, the boys taught themselves how to surf during family vacations to the Carolinas.

Drawn to art

David was drawn to visual art early on, his parents said. He sketched Disney characters, Batman and took art classes during and outside of school.

His family held on to many of his pictures, which was hard. David would usually crumple up his drawings and throw away the ones he'd didn't like, Tom Sr. said.

Some of the David's work will be on display during the Friday event, though the work will not be for sale. David's dream was to attend the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, his parents said.

"It was very hard for Tom and I to let him go there," Mary Lou said.

She said she'd secretly hold her breath each time he surfed. Anytime someone had a cold or flu, they'd take extra precautions to be sure David didn't get sick.

But she let go of all that on orientation day. "He turned to me and said, 'One of my dreams came true,'" she recalled.

A terrible loss

But then David got sick, she said.

David had to be hospitalized because of his heart problems. He was taken to Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore.

"Somewhere in the back of our minds, we knew we'd be facing this day, but we always thought there was going to be a cure," said Tom Sr., who had trouble keeping his composure during his interview with The Herald-Mail.

Shortly after David's death, members of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Hagerstown set up a scholarship fund at HCC for graduating art students hoping to continue their studies in the arts.

On David's birthday and on holidays, family members donate money to the fund. In 1996, Tom Moser Jr. and cousin Matt Livelsberger put together a small book of poems that was sold locally in the Hagerstown area in an effort to raise money for the fund.

HCC student Joseph F. Taylor received a David Wayne Moser Memorial award in May 2010, said HCC spokeswoman Beth Stull.

HCC officials did not immediately return calls responding to the amount of the scholarship or the amount of money in the fund.

The Moser family said they hope the fund will be around for many generations to come, so that others have a chance to live out their dreams.

"It's just been really important as a living legacy," Mary Lou said. "We want to keep it going."

If you go ...

WHAT: "Surfer in the Sky," book-and-art-sale fundraiser for the David Wayne Moser Memorial Fund, set up to benefit Hagerstown Community College students who plan to attend a four-year college or an art school.

WHEN: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 18

WHERE: Hagerstown Community College, Career Programs Building, Merle S. Elliott Continuing Education & Conference Center, rooms 211 and 213.

The campus is at 11400 Robinwood Drive, east of Hagerstown.

COST: Free to attend. Books will be for sale for $24.99. Work from artists featured in the book will also be for sale. Proceeds benefit the David Wayne Moser Memorial Fund.

MORE: To RSVP or to reserve a copy of the book, e-mail "Surfer in the Sky" will be available Friday, June 18, at Turn the Page Bookstore, 18 N. Main St., downtown Boonsboro.

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