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Ian Gonzaga/Staff The ashes of Santa Barbara County Fire Heavy Equipment Operator, Dean Moore, are brought down from a tractor during the procession at his funeral on Thursday in Solvang. 12/10/09

The gray rain clouds mirrored the somber emotions Thursday as the final alarm was rung for Dean Moore, a heavy-equipment operator with Santa Barbara County Fire Department, who died Nov. 29 after a two-year battle with lung cancer.

The funeral was held at Old Mission Santa Ines, where hundreds of firefighters from the county Fire Department, the Ventura County Fire Department, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service lined up to pay respects as Moore’s ashes were brought in on his bulldozer, followed by his family.

Father Gerald Barron presided over the Eucharist as seating for the ceremony spread outside into the courtyard.

 “Dean was famous for his barbecues and never without a joke or two or three,” said his brother Russell during reflections. “He could fill your stomach with good food and your heart with laughter.”

Moore’s other brother, Jay, also spoke of their childhood and the trouble they would get into as boys.

“My brother also had a passion for animals and rescued a great-horned owl at a job site once,” Jay Moore said. 

Dean Moore was born March 3, 1958, in Oxnard and enlisted in the U.S. Navy after high school. He served four years and spent another three in the Naval Reserves while he got into the construction trade.

His friend, William Garretson, recalled Moore going to reserve duty in San Luis Obispo, but didn’t want to cut off his long hair so he wore a wig. The congregation chuckled.

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“Some 14 years ago, Dean was awoken by a noise and saw a neighbors house on fire. He bravely went into the house and rescued a mother and son and right then knew what he wanted to do,” Barron said.

Moore was hired with the Fire Department in 1996, and was stationed at Station 24 in Los Alamos, where he worked as a heavy-equipment operator. He resided in Santa Maria with his wife, Tracy.

“Dean was a dedicated firefighter and risked his life to save others. He had a difficult battle with cancer, and he will be a difficult person to replace,” said Capt. David Sadecki.

The funeral ended with the Firefighter’s Prayer read by Chaplain Jerry Gray and a procession to the Solvang Veteran’s Memorial Hall for a reception.

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