Winfield community mourns death of beloved husband, father and professor
WINFIELD, Kan. (KWCH) - The Winfield community is mourning the death of a man said to have brought life to the stage and who is credited for showing how to make the most out of life.
Roger Moon, a retired professor at Southwestern College, died earlier this week from brain trauma caused by a fall. He was outside of the downtown theatre in Winfield, standing on a ladder, when a bicyclist hit it. Moon fell, hitting his head.
In Winfield on Friday, 12 News spoke with Moon’s family about the life and legacy he leaves behind.
“He lived an extraordinary life,” Moon’s daughter, Arden Mouangdy, said.
Kindness, acceptance and creativity were at the center of his life.
“To encourage others, to tell their stories, that everyone had a story about their lives,” Moon’s wife, Allyson Moon, said.
She added, “We talk about in theatre, always trying to understand the other. Somebody who is different from you are. Someone who might have some similarities to you, but there’s something that is unique and to be appreciated, and Roger was so good at being able to always appreciate the other.”
For 30 years, Moon was a theater professor at Southwestern College in Winfield. Mouangdy had her father as a teacher. She said he could do it all on stage or behind the scenes and sought to cultivate uniqueness in everyone.
“Each actor, each actress, performer, singer, had something that made them special that was not like everyone else,” Mouangdy said. “He would bring those out of people.”
Allyson Moon, also a theater professor, said since her husband retired in 2018, he didn’t miss a beat.
“He was incredibly passionate about everything,” she said. “It didn’t matter what it was. He gave 200%,” she said.
Mouangdy said, “He just loved so fiercely and wanted people to do what they were passionate about cause he had so many passions and was completely of whatever those passions were.”
A lot of Moon’s energy went back into the Winfield community. He helped to revitalize the Marquee Performing Arts Center in Downtown Winfield.
“A source of additional commerce within the community and to bring the community together, and you have to understand Roger loved people,” said Allyson Moon.
He was a member of the Winfield Arts and Humanities Council and helped lead early childhood learning efforts.
Another of his projects was the “Nitty Gritty Theatre,” created to help children with social and emotional wellness.
“It is about using theatre techniques, could be creative dramatics, could be improvisation, could be actual plays in order to help really support the emotional and social wellness of individuals,” said Allyson. “The program right now is about three to 18, 19 years of age. We actually will be implementing that, but he did deep research about how theatre could be used in order to support young people’s social and emotional wellness.”
They had a kick-off event earlier this year, but the project will launch in the spring.
Moon ensured that his family received just as much of that passion. His son, York Moon, mentioned how his father would respond with a phone call, “just at the right time.”
Mouangdy said Moon also greatly cared for his grandchildren and valued the time he spent with them.
York said one thing he’ll miss is his father’s presence not just on the stage but in the kitchen as a talented baker. It’s something he’ll especially miss around the holidays.
York said, “He could make a hell of a pie. I just want to say strawberries never touched the rhubarb pie. It was cream, sugar, rhubarb straight up, and it was the best thing you’d ever had.”
Roger and Allyson Moon were preparing to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next Tuesday, Nov. 22. Allyson Moon said the legacy her husband created will be remembered by all who know him and beyond.
“His vision for how life can be better if you just decide that you want to make it happen,” she said.
The family said the community support has also been beautifully overwhelming as people Roger had an impact on share what he meant to them.
Mouangdy said, “He just touched so many people’s lives. In the community, it’s huge, but I think to think it’s across the universe. You put that love out there, and that’s just something he emphasized so much. I think it’s coming back to us in the time when we need it the most.”
“They [the community] have poured their hearts out to us, to every one of us,” said Allyson Moon. “The support has been stunning, beautiful, amazing. I can’t possibly begin to thank them for everything they have given to us through this week and that they continue to give to us. I can only humbly thank them for that.”
A celebration of life for Roger Moon is set for next Saturday, Nov. 26.
Contributions in honor of Roger’s life may be made to the Marquee Performing Arts Center at https://marqueepac.org/or to the Nitty Gritty Theatre Project through the Legacy Foundation at https://www.legacyregionalfoundation.org.
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