LITTLETON — Community members and the family of Al Moskal remember a man who was generous and dedicated to his community.
“He spent his whole life giving,” David Moskal, his older brother, said Tuesday.
Al Moskal, a 20-year resident of Littleton and community volunteer, died of brain injuries Sept. 26 at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, after being struck by a car in the early morning hours of Sept. 18 while he was out for his morning walk and crossing Main Street in Littleton. He was 73.
He helped run the volunteer services at Littleton Regional Hospital, cooked meals at the First United Methodist Church, and volunteered at the Littleton Area Senior Center delivering meals to local seniors and driving seniors where they needed to go.
“He had a lot of roots in New Hampshire and loved coming to the White Mountains,” said David Moskal, of Connecticut. “That’s why he moved there.”
Al Moskal was born in Webster, Mass., and was a graduate of Vermont’s Norwich University, where he was an all-state championship quarterback for the university football team.
“They just inducted him in the Hall of Fame at Norwich last year,” said David Moskal.
Last week, the university held a memorial service for Al Moskal.
After graduating college, Al enlisted in the Army and was an officer in charge of a bomb disposal squad at the Seneca Army Depot in New York State.
After the military, he married his first wife, Susan Stickel, moved to New Jersey, and eventually formed a pharmaceutical company with partners.
After Susan died of brain cancer in New Jersey, Al Moskal sold his share of his business and moved, in 1998, to the White Mountains, where he loved to hike and was a regular summer hiker of Mt. Washington, which he first ascended as a boy.
“His whole life was about giving and he had the wherewithal to do it,” said David Moskal.
Carole Zangla, director of the Littleton Area Senior Center, met Al when she joined the senior center about seven years ago as the Meals on Wheels coordinator.
Al was a volunteer driver who would serve in total about 10 years at the center and was also involved in other volunteer activities.
“He was the first person I’d call when someone else didn’t show up,” Zangla said of the center’s Meals on Wheels program. “He would always show up.”
Al would take deliveries beyond his normal routes when needed, she said, and he also went above and beyond when the senior center received donated food items in large quantities.
“Some of my other drivers would walk in and roll their eyes, but he would take them out himself and never batted an eye,” said Zangla. “He loaded up his car and went on his way.”
Al Moskal also went above and beyond in other ways, such as welfare checks on Meals on Wheels participants who might be without necessities, such as heat, she said.
“He was always reporting back to me,” said Zangla. “Things other drivers didn’t notice, Al would notice. He was always looking out for participants in the Meals on Wheels program.”
Al Moskal met his second wife, Stephanie Buck, of St. Johnsbury, while volunteering at LRH.
After Stephanie’s death from an auto-immune disorder in 2016, Al, who was by her side to give her everything she needed, recovered the best he could and kept up his exercise habits and enjoyed working out and walking every day, said David Moskal.
After Stephanie’s death, David said his brother developed a routine walk each morning along Main Street, for a mile or longer. Al Moskal was struck crossing the street in the vicinity of the Air Force recruiting station.
He was not in a crosswalk when he was hit by Cassandra Sweeney, 25, of Littleton, who police said was driving the speed limit, was in her lane of travel, and was on her way to work.
“He crossed the street where he did because that was his routine,” said David. “He would cross where the sidewalk ended and would cross at that point every morning and would leave his vehicle in the Dunkin Donuts parking lot and do his walk from there and drive back to his house. That was his daily routine and that was apparently what did him in.”
After Al was transported to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, David Moskal visited his brother in the hospital in the days afterward. Al’s son, Robert, soon came up from Virginia, and his step-daughter daughter, Annie Angell, daughter of Stephanie, of St. Johnsbury.
“The whole thing is bizarre,” said David Moskal. “We’re mystified and don’t know why this happened. This is someone who went out of his way to make everything safe.”
One factor could be that stretch of street was darker then normal because of two street lamps out, he said.
Al always wore light-colored clothes and also a reflector on his arm, though the reflector that morning was on the other side from where the car struck him, said David Moskal.
His safety training from the military and the importance he placed on safety should have kicked in, said David.
“That’s what baffles us,” he said.”His training did not apply that particular morning. He should have been able to see or hear the car coming, but did not. I don’t know why. Maybe he had something on his mind.”
Al had been intending to drive to Massachusetts later that morning for a reunion with a friend from his high school class.
Al was the youngest of four siblings - Charles, the oldest, David, the second oldest, and their sister, Elaine, a retired nun.
Charles died suddenly in a car accident in the 1960s.
Elaine is currently being treated at a facility in Massachusetts for medical issues.
Until Al’s death, Al and David would rotate days to visit their sister.
“The day after he died, he was supposed to be going down to visit her,” said David.
Al had two children. His daughter, Kate, died about eight years.
“He buried a daughter and two wives, and both wives he took care of while they were sick,” said David.
Of the losses and his sisters’s condition, he said, “There’s a lot of grief to share all the way around.”
Littleton Police Chief Paul Smith called the collision that killed Moskal “a very tragic event.”
“It’s still under investigation and we are trying to button it up,” said Smith. “It will be reviewed by more than just our department before it’s finally closed and a determination is made.”
A memorial service for Al was held at the Littleton VFW.
“This is someone who will be sorely missed, by more people than we’ll ever know,” said David Moskal. “He tried to do so much for everybody. He had the means to give and he did.”