Elijah (Eli) Abram Mooney
A memorial service was held at Goleta Beach Park on February 7, 2015 where family and friends gathered despite the rain to celebrate and share memories of Eli Mooney’s life. A military funeral honors ceremony was performed by members of the US Naval Honor Guard, with the playing of taps and folding and presenting of the US burial flag. Many participated in a paddle-out beyond the surf break of the Pacific Ocean, then surfed while others tossed flowers into the wave wash from the beach to bid Eli’s spirit a fond farewell. Eli’s cremated remains will be buried at sea from a deployed US Naval ship.
Eli died peacefully in his sleep on January 29, 2015 at his home in Grass Valley, CA. He was 34 years old and had been battling multiple medical conditions for several years. Eli’s love for family and friends motivated him to reconnect with many of them in the months before his death, and for that we are very grateful. Eli’s gift was always to find fun in life, and he spread laughter with his wonderful stories every chance he got.
Eli was born July 15, 1980 in Nashua, New Hampshire to his parents Kelly (Burke) Spaulding and Stuart Mooney Jr. Eli’s family also includes many aunts, uncles and cousins, along with his brothers; Josh (predeceased), Luke, and Christian (Critter) Mooney, sisters; Megan (Mooney) Peterson and Sierra Spaulding, stepsiblings; Aimee (Spaulding) Borneman and Bart Spaulding, nieces and nephew; Alison Mooney, Kyla Peterson, Tatum, and Rylen Borneman, brother-in-law Catlin Peterson, stepfather Blair Spaulding, stepmother Betsy Mooney, and grandparents; Gail (Kit) Rhodes, predeceased by Harold Burke Jr., Bernice Mooney, and Stuart Mooney Sr.
Eli grew up in Santa Barbara and Goleta, CA, skateboarding, surfing, playing seasonal sports, and living life as a true “Goleta Local,” frequenting Ellwood Mesa, R Beach, Sands, and Campus Point. He graduated from Dos Pueblos High School, attended Santa Barbara City College, and worked various jobs at Freebirds Burrito in Isla Vista, Chevron gas station on Fairview, Santa Barbara Medical Clinic, and Channel City Lumber.
Eli enlisted in the US Navy in 2005 and proudly served six years before being Honorably Discharged with a permanent disability retirement in 2011. He achieved the rank of Engineman, EN2, serving on the USS Ingraham FFG-61, and USS Shoup DDG-86, where he was responsible for the maintenance of the RAST (Recovery Assist Secure and Traverse) system of the helicopter flight deck. Eli was deployed to the Persian Gulf in 2008 before his medical condition forced his transfer to shore duty at the Naval Emergency Operations Center in Everett, WA.
While stationed there, Eli met and lived with the love of his life, Skye Bryand. Together they enjoyed life with a close circle of friends. Skye remained Eli’s best friend and partner during his Naval career and when he moved nearer to family in Grass Valley, CA. The Bryand family is hosting a private memorial service at their residence in Stanwood, WA on February 21, 2015.
It is a common and understandable phrase to hear at this time, “Sorry for your loss,” because Eli is no longer here in person. Yet a stronger phrase keeps rising to the forefront, “Grateful for the gift,” the gift of his presence, his infectious smile, the mischievous twinkle in his eyes, his encyclopedic trivia knowledge, and loving heart. When people inquire how to help or contribute, we ask only that you reach out to love a family member or friend to keep that spirit alive and light the way. Life is good; everyone can be a candle.