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Moon, 51, remembered as devoted coach, family man

Friends set aside space on the rail at the Woodbury High School gym where Glen Moon watched games. "There's going to be a big gap in that rail up there," said WAA President Gene Johnson, reflecting on Moon's presence at Royals basketball games. "He's going to be missed." Bulletin photo by Patrick Johnson1 / 2
Glen Moon2 / 2

Glen Moon was never far from the action.

A fixture at most Woodbury High School varsity games, Moon could be seen in the front rows of baseball games, up against the glass at hockey arenas or leaning on the rail above the bleachers.

While receiving hospice care last week, he even kept up on a Royals basketball game from a friend's iPhone.

But on Thursday, Jan. 31, family and friends said their last goodbyes to the man known for his deep ties to the Woodbury Athletic Association and youth coaching. The 51-year-old died at home following a battle with cancer.

"There's going to be a big gap in that rail up there," said WAA President Gene Johnson, reflecting on Moon's presence at Royals basketball games. "He's going to be missed."

Moon, who graduated from Albert Lea, Minn., High School and Southwest Minnesota State University, eventually moved to Woodbury, with his family - wife, Connie, daughters Jayde and Bailey, and son Sawyer - where he coached several youth sports, laid deep connections in the community and developed a fondness for the O'Malley Burger.

"It was his favorite in town," said family friend John Wallgren.

Through the years, Moon coached youth baseball, basketball, softball and soccer.

Those games began and ended with his children, said another family friend, Jay Myers.

"Any sport - he was involved," he said. "And he was always there for them. Always."

Those who knew him best recalled Moon as an ardent Royals booster with a knack for bringing lightheartedness to hard situations.

"And he always had a joke," Wallgren said.

He remembered a time when his son, Nate, was pitching in a youth baseball game Moon was coaching. Nate was struggling on the mound, so Moon headed out onto the field to consult with the youngster.

But instead of dressing down the pitcher, Moon shifted gears. He asked Nate what he'd eaten for breakfast. Then Moon told him what he'd eaten for breakfast.

"Now Nate, get out there and finish the game," Wallgren recalled Moon telling his puzzled son.

The tactic worked out. Nate sent down the rest of the batters that inning and the team went on to win.

"That's how he would settle a kid down," Wallgren said. "He would get the kids to play sometimes better than their capabilities were."

Myers called his friend "as genuine a guy as you'll find."

"He was as honest as the day is long," Myers said. "(Moon possessed) great character, great honesty."

Sometimes that brutal honesty rubbed others the wrong way, but it was emblematic of Moon's "old-school" attitude, Myers said.

Johnson agreed.

"Glen was known for laying it on the line," he said. "He always said what he was thinking."

But about a year and a-half ago, Myers saw a different side of his friend known for keeping it light. While sharing a post-game drink in town, Moon turned to him and, with a serious expression, told Myers to give him a call over the weekend.

Moon then shared with Myers news that he had developed cancer. Moon battled the disease aggressively, though he didn't let the pain he was experiencing keep him from Woodbury games.

"He'd say, 'I can feel like crap at home or like crap at a game,'" Wallgren said.

It was that kind of attitude Myers said Moon carried with him throughout the years as a coach and a parent.

"He just absolutely loved kids, loved family, loved friends," he said.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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