A Fond Farewell and Tribute to Former Low End Mac Writer Charles W. Moore

2018 found us bidding a fond farewell to famous individuals from the likes of music icon Aretha Franklin (1942-2018) and American war hero Senator John McCain (1936-2018), but for the Mac-related webverse, it has lost one of its own with the passing of writer Charles W. Moore (1951-2018), who passed away on Sunday, September 16 at the age of 66 in his home in rural Nova Scotia, a province in Canada, from a long battle with his illness.

Charles W. Moore, 1951-2018

Charles W. Moore in 2014 during a visit to the home of his sister Elizabeth. (Photo: Elizabeth Sheppard)

Charles, former columnist and news editor of Low End Mac, wrote the Miscellaneous Ramblings column from 1999 to 2012 and continued writing news round-ups into 2013. He also was a columnist and editor of the websites Applelinks and MacOpinion (which are both defunct). His most recent gigs were writing The Book Mystique column (from 2011 to 2017) on MacPrices, a price-tracking website for Apple products, and later covering news and writing feature-length stories for BioNews Services, an online publication dealing with biotechnology, where he also served as its technology editor from 2013 to 2017.

In his heyday here writing for Low End Mac, his colleague, former writer Tommy Thomas wrote a feature article about Charles in 2007 which gave readers an up close and personal look behind his life outside of writing. In the interview, we learned that his hobbies and interests besides the Mac included reading, guitar (playing music from country to classical), automobiles, sailing, and photography. Asked what drew him to writing and captivated him, Charles said, “Ah, I guess it’s a desire to communicate, also the need to make a living.”

A very poignant and fitting quote from Charles was when he was asked how he measures success:

“As a Christian, I affirm the principle that a life is properly lived with a focus on preparation for the next life – a paradigm that was also advanced by Plato. In here and now terms, being of service to others in ways small or more substantial would be my definition of success in life.”

Taking a leave of absence for medical reasons in October of 2017, unbeknownst to all but himself and his family, that would be his final curtain call for the profession he loved so dearly and was very passionate about.

We would only learn of Charles’s illness back in June of this year – and only now, his many years fighting against it – after I personally put out a call to readers of Low End Mac and MacPrices (which I also write for) for any information about his status, having seemingly disappeared off the face of the planet and not having written a column or an article in months. My attempts to contact him via email went unanswered. A few readers of this website came forward to help and went to the Internet to seek out clues from the digital footprint available online from his extensive presence on the web, and one particular reader got a hit through investigative research, finding a private email account which led to Helen Moore, his wife, contacting that person to let them know what had been going on. I, in turn, finally learned what had happened to my friend and colleague.

I was so relieved at the time to find out that Charles was alive – though not so well. Beforehand, when things were looking seemingly bleak and I was unsuccessful in getting a response from him to my electronic correspondence, on my list of story ideas for this column was to write a tribute piece in honor of him, albeit a morbid prospect at the time, since he had not been heard from for months. Fast forward to now, three months later, and I am now penning that farewell tribute in his memory that I so hoped I would not have to work on which breaks my heart as I type this….

After learning of his illness, I would pray each night for Charles’s recovery and hoped that he would someday be well enough and back on his feet to return to his writing career. When I received an email from his wife Helen with the sad and devastating news – I was initially delighted to see the notification on my iPhone screen when I awoke that day, thinking it was from Charles himself to maybe share some good news on his prognosis. I was deeply shocked and could not help but react to my emotions and cry over the loss of my dear friend. What makes the timing of his passing even more heartbreaking is that he was just one week shy of celebrating his birthday and would have turned 67 on Sunday, September 23.

Helen and his sister Elizabeth Sheppard spent the day after Charles’s passing writing an obituary for him. Helen sent me a copy of it, and the following is a draft that was submitted for publication and appeared two days later in two Canadian newspapers, the Chronicle Herald, published in Nova Scotia, and the Telegraph Journal, published in New Brunswick, the latter where he worked as a weekly columnist for several years.

Moore, Charles William, 66, died peacefully after a lengthy illness at his home in Port Hilford NS in the loving care of his wife, Helen, on Sunday, September 16, 2018. Born in Fredericton, NB on September 23, 1951, son of the late Ersel F. Moore and Rev. Josephine (Kinley) Moore, Charles spent most of his childhood in Wolfville and Sherbrooke. He married Helen Durham of Spanish Point, Bermuda in 1974.

He worked for Halifax Cablevision and Stright-MacKay, Pictou, later establishing Barquentine Ventures to sell sailboats and yachting equipment. In 1982 he moved to Port Hilford and pursued a career as a writer. His first writing gig at age 20 was “Wheelin Around,” a column in the Dalhousie Gazette. Charles was a regular print columnist for Atlantic Fisherman, The Guysborough Journal, and the NB Telegraph Journal as well as a frequent contributor to many other magazines, newspapers, and periodicals. He was an online columnist for several Macintosh computing sites as well as a syndicated writer of opinion pieces and a writer and editor for Texas-based BioNews Services, an online medical research publication.

Charles was a man of many passions: cars, sailboats, photography, guitars, cabinet making. He read widely and could draw from his acute memory to support enthusiastic debate. He was moderator of an online religion forum for many years. Charles had a penchant for conversation and friendship; his warmth and energy will be greatly missed. He lived and worked with a chronic illness which forced his abrupt retirement a year ago.

Charles is survived by his wife, Helen, daughters, Haley (Christopher Melanson), Saint John, N.B. and Deirdre, Boston; sister, Elizabeth (Rev William) Sheppard; half-brother, Philip Moore, Fredericton; niece, Rebekah (Dr Martin) McCallum; nephew, David Sheppard, other cousins, nephews, nieces and their families. He was predeceased by half-brothers Craig, Hedley, and Shirley Moore.

The funeral service will be held at St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, Sherbrooke, Saturday, September 22, 2018, at 2:00 p.m. with Fr. Lazarus Guria officiating; interment following in St Paul’s Cemetery, Stillwater. A reception will follow at the Indian Harbour Lake & Jordanville Community Centre, H. MacDonald Loop (off Route 211).

Funeral arrangements are under the care of G.W. Giffin Funeral Home Ltd., 34 Main Street, Sherbrooke, NS. Online condolences may be offered at www.gwgiffin.com

Helen, two days after Charles’s passing, told me, “We struggled all day yesterday to edit the obituary for Charles with contributions from many family members. I think he must have been looking down from paradise laughing at us. We are not writers!”

Pismo PowerBook G3

Charles W. Moore’s PowerBook G3, seen here on his desk in his home office, was released by Apple in 2000 and is aptly called “Pismo” by its users, the internal product code name of the notebook computer. (Photo: Charles W. Moore)

I think the obituary they both came up with is wonderful and beautifully written, a heartfelt tribute to a beloved husband and brother that Charles certainly would have been proud of. If Charles was well enough in his final days and wanted to write his own obituary, he would have been behind closed doors in his home office, typing away on his favorite Mac notebook — which, if I remember correctly, was his all-time favorite choice – an upgraded PowerBook G3 model from 2000 (also known as its code name, the “Pismo,” which he liked to refer to it as).

If anyone would know that one significant fact about Charles, it would be his sister Elizabeth – who fondly called him Charlie – whom she regarded as the companion of her childhood and youth. She told me, “From our vantage point, it was often true that we did not see him because he was upstairs writing.” And on his prolific presence on the web, especially with writing about the Mac, she added, “It is good to learn how much Charles was appreciated in his online world.”

I asked his three bosses from the present and past to share their sentiments on Charles, and they happily obliged.

First is Mike Nace, executive editor of BioNews Services, said:

“I met and began working with Charles in 2012 after launching the iPhone 5 News blog. For the first three years of the business at BioNews, Charles was our lead news writer, handling the biggest assignments and driving the most traffic to our sites through his stories. He remained active with us until late last year, contributing comprehensive news reports in spite of enduring pain and fatigue. We knew Charles to be an immensely talented, passionate, and thoughtful man who just seemed to master everything that he put his hands on. The team at BioNews is deeply saddened at the news of Charles’s passing. He will be greatly missed.”

Next is Steve Hildreth, publisher of MacPrices, said:

“Charles was a regular contributor at MacPrices, and we always enjoyed his unique viewpoint on Apple and its products. I was thrilled when Charles agreed to write about PowerBooks for PowerBook Central, then later about MacBooks and other Apple products on MacPrices. His reviews were always detailed and to the point, and he was never shy about criticizing a product if it fell short of expectations. All of us here at MacPrices are saddened to hear of Charles’s passing. We wish his family well.”

Finally is Dan Knight, our fearless leader, publisher of Low End Mac, said:

“I don’t know how Charles did it. He wrote about Macs and Apple for numerous sites over the years, covered sailing, wrote about religion, and later on medical technology. It’s a testament to Apple how long he was able to use each Mac that he owned, especially his long-lived G4-upgraded PowerBook Pismo. Charles was always about reliability and frugality. Charles and I worked together on the MacTimes Network before Low End Mac even had a domain of its own. It was a pleasure working with him on Low End Mac for nearly 15 years.”

For me personally, I would be remiss not to mention that Charles and I worked together for PowerBook Central, a website geared toward enthusiasts and owners of Apple notebook computers (which is the sister site of MacPrices, formerly long since defunct but recently merged together), when I was hired to the site in 2006, he having started there three years before me. I stepped down in early 2010 but kept in touch with him over the years. When I was hired to MacPrices in March of this year, I was excited to once again be colleagues with him but unfortunately never got the chance to actually work together due to his leave of absence and illness.

In retrospect, one of the things I admired most about Charles was his unwavering and unsolicited support of my work. He would from time to time plug some of my featured articles on PowerBook Central in some of the news roundups he wrote for the – as everyone knows – numerous other Mac-related websites he wrote for, giving my articles more exposure among the many Apple fans in the online community.

My thoughts and continued prayers are with Charles, Helen, Elizabeth, and his entire family at this sorrowful time. May God bless you my dear beloved friend and may you find joy and peace in heaven. Rest in paradise!

NOTE: Readers of Charles W. Moore’s column and fans of his writing can send donations in honor of his memory directly to the Canadian Red Cross. An online guestbook for condolences as well as a web form for making donations has been set up in his name and can be found at www.gwgiffin.com/obituaries/128195

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