Obituary of Milton Lewis Moon
Dr. Milton L. Moon of Winchester, VA, formerly of Silver Spring, MD and Haymarket, VA, died peacefully at home on October 10th surrounded by loving family.
Milton Lewis Moon was born December 16, 1922 in New Providence, Iowa, the son of Harvey Edward and Lillian Ella (Due) Moon. Milt’s father served as a minister in various Quaker and Methodist churches in Iowa; the family lived in New Providence, Newton, Pleasant Plain, and Iowa Falls. The short time at Iowa Falls was important for him in that the schools were considerably stronger than the small-town school which he had previously attended; most importantly, he had his first access to a public library which he used voraciously. He graduated from high school in Union, Iowa in 1939. In 1943 he graduated from Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls with a degree in Mathematics. It was there that he met his future wife, Letha (“Lee”) Mae Holthaus.
In August 1943 he entered the Naval Reserve and was commissioned as an Ensign shortly thereafter. Following a year of expedited study at Harvard and MIT on the then-new radar developments, he specialized in air navigation radio aids. He spent the rest of World War II working in this field, primarily in the Aleutian Islands. He left the Navy as a Lieutenant.
Following the war, he entered graduate school at the State University of Iowa in Iowa City. Among his professors was astrophysicist James Van Allen. Lee and Milt were married on June 8, 1947 in Manchester, Iowa. Milt received his Ph. D. in Physics in 1951.
In July of 1951 Milt, Lee, and their first son David moved to Silver Spring where he became a member of the staff of the Applied Physics Laboratory of the Johns Hopkins University. There Dr. Moon worked on radar systems, missile guidance systems, and total weapon systems for Navy ships. He became program manager of the Laboratory’s development work on the Navy’s surface missile system. In the late 1960s he undertook direction of an environmental study group which dealt primarily with power plant siting issues. Finally, in the early 1980s he became associated with the Whiting School of Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University and assisted in developing and teaching a curriculum in Technical Management. He retired in 1987.
Between 1950 and 1980 Milton became a private pilot and, over the years, owner-partner in several airplanes (mostly Beechcraft Bonanzas). He flew these aircraft extensively on business trips and on family pleasure trips. The family travelled extensively in the United States. Particularly memorable was his 1983, 3-day hike into the Grand Canyon with Lee and their youngest son, Jon. Internationally Milt and Lee travelled in Peru, Scandinavia, and Spain. They also twice went on safari in Kenya and Tanzania.
During his years in Silver Spring, while Lee served as youth choir director and later as music director of Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, Milt became active in many aspects of that congregation; most notably, he led the effort to design, fund, and install the church’s pipe organ. After 2004, when they moved to Haymarket, Virginia, Milt and Lee became involved in Goose Creek Friends Meeting, where Milt served on the Archives Committee. In 2017 Milt and Lee moved across the mountain to Winchester.
In his later years, Milt became deeply interested in genealogy and conducted extensive research on his family’s Quaker roots. He published two substantial books, on the Moon and Davidson families, and completed a third on the Carey family.
Throughout his life Milt demonstrated deep personal integrity and responsibility informed by his Quaker upbringing and by humanist values. He highly valued education, was both persistent and patient in the pursuit of goals large and small, and possessed a generous spirit, often coming to the aid of family members and others in times of need. Although Milt recognized the importance of hard work and discipline in achieving one’s goals, he was also cognizant of the ways in which social programs, such as the G.I. bill, had contributed to the professional success and general security he achieved in his lifetime. He firmly believed that we have a responsibility to care for one another – individually and societally. In recent years Milt felt great concern for the survival of the democracy he had sought to protect during the Second World War. Milton had a lifelong appreciation for music and took great pleasure in ballroom dancing with Lee, a pastime begun during their swing-era college years. Throughout their long marriage, he and Lee derived immense pleasure from hosting friends and family in their various homes.
In addition to his wife of 74 years, Milt is survived by four children and their spouses: David Milton and his wife Grace Ann (Davis) Moon of New Hartford, Connecticut, James Alan and his wife Terry Lyn (Shenk) Moon of Hamilton, Virginia, Elizabeth Kay Moon and her husband Timothy Robert Shipe of Iowa City, and Jonathan Edward and his wife Mary Kathleen (Duffy) Moon of Greensboro, North Carolina; five grandchildren: Christina Lynn Moon, Anya Elizabeth Moon and her husband Kendric Zellner, Jared Christopher and his wife Katelyn (Ouellette) Moon, Alexander Jonathan and his wife Ashley (Turner) Moon, and Ryan Christopher Moon; seven great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a grandson Brian David Moon, a brother Myrlen Edward Moon, and a sister Joyce Arlene Shaw.
A memorial service for Milton will be held on Saturday, October 30th, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. in The Chapel at The Village at Orchard Ridge, 400 Clocktower Ridge Dr., Winchester, VA 22603. Masks are currently required for entrance to The Chapel. In addition, the family respectfully requests that, for the safety of all in attendance, only those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 attend the memorial service.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial contribution to either of the following organizations:
The Village at Orchard Ridge Benevolent Endowment Fund, 400 Clocktower Ridge Dr., Winchester, VA 22603. (This fund supports resident seniors who outlive their assets and require financial support during their final years of life.)
American Friends Service Committee
1501 Cherry St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102