Spencer Mountain Grotto
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In memory of
Mark Franklin Moore

Mark Franklin Moore, NSS 40121, of the Spencer Mountain Grotto in Spencer, TN passed away Sunday, October 13, 2002, after suffering a long bout with cancer. Mark was very instrumental in forming the Spencer Mountain Grotto. Mark was the one who actually sent for the information on forming a grotto, and he served as the grotto's first treasurer. Mark did a lot of legwork, ridge-walking, and searching for caves. He was always very anxious to tell his fellow grotto members of his finds and try to get them to help check out his newly discovered leads. In a caving sense, Mark was a "3D" man. By this I mean he had the desire, the drive, and the dedication to push a lead to the end. Mark's efforts led to discoveries in caves such as Wagon Wheel, Jewel Box, Rockbridge, Mossy Oak, Resurrection Cave, Mark 2 Cave, and Big Boy Canyon Cave. Like most cavers Mark wanted to find the "Big One." Although not a multi-mile system, I think we could classify Wagon Wheel as Mark's big one. It was a cave in the Pennington formation with trunk passage that is an abandoned stream piracy breaching a drainage divide.

Mark seemed to be shy in public, but at grotto meetings you knew when he had a good lead because of his grin. But the grin proved elusive when it came time to find a picture of him on a caving trip. No one could find a close-up of him. There are pictures of him in the distance, or in motion, or trying to avoid the camera, but very few showing the Mark we knew. Perhaps his modesty made him camera-shy.

(The original founders of the SMG: L to R Steve MacDonell,
Tim Curtis and the late Mark Moore.)

Mark's caving partner was his son, Timmy. I had the pleasure of many trips with them. On the surface Timmy was like any other boy in his pre-teen years, but underground he was careful and responsible under the watchful eyes of his dad. Timmy being smaller than the rest of us, took pride in finding the way and letting us know it went. Mark believed in teaching his son by example, and you can't ask for more than that.

The expression that most friends will attribute to Mark is, "That'll work." And it usually did. Nothing seemed to much trouble for Mark. He would go out of his way to accomodate people, expecially some of our senior members who needed rides up six hundred vertical feet in his four-wheeler. Although his time in the caving world was short, he did make his mark. He left us discoveries, fond memories, some good leads, and a desire to continue what he started. Courtesy of Rob Robbins. **Webmaster note- Rob's version of Mark's life is put very well. I was a very close friend of Mark's since we were teenagers before he ever entered the caving world. Mark was always there giving a lending hand and ear to those who needed. God knows he always had my back. I went to see Mark the week before he passed and then came back the day before he passed. I will never forget the following moments for the rest of my life. The week before he passed he was in good spirits and I was visiting with him. We were alone and Mark looked at me out of the blue and said "You have been a good friend to me, and I will never forget you. Always remember that." I truly believe this was Mark's way of telling me goodbye. Even though at the time I did not realize it. I miss Mark greatly sometimes, but I know he is watching down on us and keeping us safe. After Mark's passing I had nightmares for three months of his death and visions of him being sick. I was at the point I thought I would have to see a psychologist to discuss the problem. Then one night while having the nightmares I had Mark come to me in the dream and tell me that he was okay and not to worry. He left as quick as he came. I have not suffered these dreams since. It was during this process that Mark's family was unable to purchase a headstone for Mark. It came to me to have his caving friends to donate the money to get one. With the help of everyone we were able to give him the acknowledgement in the world he needed and he received one. Thanks to the many that loved him. Mark, I want to know that you are greatly missed. I dedicate this page to you........ Virginia





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