After several serious health encounters during recent years, Robert C. (Bob) Moorman, having previously proved that “close doesn’t count and surviving to prove it,” finally “got it right.” He slipped away to be with his maker on March 6, 2021, at his home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His family members were present, while his wonderful wife, Tara, held his hand to bid him farewell. Bob was 87 years young. He was predeceased by both his parents and his first wife, Susan Rook Moorman, who was deceased in 1968.
Bob was born in Cedar Rapids in 1933 and raised by his delightful parents, Edwin F. and Louise C. Moorman. He attended the former Franklin High School and graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Advertising. He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon social fraternity and president of Phi Gamma Delta advertising fraternity.
In 1956 Bob joined his dad at Moorman Equipment Company, a dealer for medium sized construction equipment, started by his father in 1948. Following his dad’s death in 1964, Bob took over the business when he was 31. The company grew and built new quarters at 5950 6th Street SW. Bob sold MECO in 1993.
During his forties (and after a serious surgery), Bob wanted to learn more about surgery, so he enrolled part time in Kirkwood Community College and become a surgical assistant. After two years of training, he stood in on 28 different surgeries at the U of IA Surgery Dept. and assisted in 10 of those surgeries. After his training, Bob was better able to understand many of the intricacies of surgery including several later performed on him!
Always friendly and of good cheer, Bob had a sincere interest in others. He could remember conversations from years before and ask friends about the outcome. He had numerous friends and a great love for his family. His love for his community ran deeply. He served on many boards where his creativity and fundraising prowess were appreciated. He was very active in our community, including president of the C.R. Rotary Club in 1969, having received a National Rotary Club Commendation in 1989 for his “extraordinary work locally.” Other activities included Chamber of Commerce, the Regional Planning Committee, Convention and Visitors Bureau, the C.R. Museum of Art, Theatre Cedar Rapids, C.R. Country Club, YMCA, Humane Society, and others. After retirement he served 8 years as a volunteer at Mercy Medical Center Emergency Department. Bob and his good friend, Bill Munsell, also were the driving force to fund and build in 1995 the “Tree of Five Seasons” in downtown Cedar Rapids.
Having lost both his first wife and his mother to cancer, Bob became very active in the American Cancer Society. He first served in the local and State chairman positions, then was elected to the ACS National Board of Directors representing the Iowa Division. He chaired the “Crusade and Income Development Committee” the fund raising arm of ACS. He traveled quite often for ACS and liked to take one of his three teenage daughters at a time with him to see more of their beautiful country.
One evening in late 1985, while Bob was single and home alone, he received a life changing phone call from Kansas City. A mutual friend made introductions over the phone, and Bob met Miss Tara Ann Fisher. When they finally hung up, Tara turned to their mutual friend and said, “I just met the man I’m going to marry!” After a meeting was finally arranged, it was indeed “love at first sight” for them both. Bob and Tara were married in February 1986. His children became “her children,” and great happiness has followed them ever since!
After his retirement, Bob became involved with commercial real estate and helped promote the beautiful art work of Tara, for whom he was immensely proud. He had many passions in life, including punching holes in the clouds with his Beechcraft Bonanza, diving “the wall” at the Cayman Islands, enjoying the boating life on the Mississippi, woodworking, traveling, mastering the sweetest golf swing, driving old cars, hugging grandkids, writing and volunteering. When he was 75, Bob wrote his autobiography to preserve his family’s heritage.
In 2013, and with great good fortune, Bob became the oldest recipient of a kidney transplant at the University of Iowa’s Organ Transplant Department. Three days before his 80th birthday, his oldest daughter, Mic, became his perfect donor. Convincing the U of IA Transplant Team to accept someone of his age did not happen without many tests, some pre-kidney surgeries and significant contemplation by the U of IA. The surgery went quite smoothly, and the transplant has lasted Bob these many years since. After Bob’s success, the transplant folks at the U of IA referred to him as their “poster boy” and have since performed many kidney transplants on older recipients.
Bob is survived by his wonderful and loving wife of 35 years; his only sibling, James D. Moorman; three daughters, Michelle “Mic” Lanning (Ron), Cedar Rapids, Reverend Debbie Taylor (Tom), Portland, Oregon, and Judi Moorman (Andy), Cedar Rapids; six grandchildren: Josh, Alex (Julie), and Nathan Taylor, Michael (Erika) Grobin, Megan (Todd) Pabst, and Christopher Chasten; plus two adorable great-granddaughters, Nova Rae and Aurora Jo Grobin.
Bob’s favorite saying in life was, “As a person thinketh, so are they.” His strong belief in it brought him strength to heal, reasonable success, many friends, a deep love at home, and faith in life and the future.
Bob will be entombed at Cedar Memorial. After Covid, a Celebration of Life will be held.
Please direct any memorial contributions to The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Organ Transplant Center, 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242. Thank you.