Galveston Historical Foundation

In Memoriam : John Moran

John receiving the Spirit of ELISSA at the 2014 Plankowners’ Party from former Seaport Director, Jamie White.
The following statement is from Galveston Historical Foundation’s Executive Director, Dwayne Jones, on the passing of longtime supporter and board member, John Moran.

The family has asked that those wishing to honor John’s life, do so by making a donation in his honor to GHF’s 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA. Those interested in a donation can do so by clicking here.

I regret to tell you about the passing of John Moran this past weekend. John served GHF well as a longtime ELISSA volunteer, former board member in several capacities, and committed donor and fundraiser.

John was an ardent supporter of Galveston Historical Foundation and was instrumental in traveling to Austin to make ELISSA the Official Tall Ship of Texas with the Texas Legislature. I’m certain it was his vision that insisted ELISSA was preserved and sailed not as an amateur endeavor but a professional maritime vessel.

There have been many devoted fans of ELISSA and of GHF but few who gave their soul and spirit on the decks of that fair ship as completely as John. We have much to be thankful for in his work at GHF and his contributions will be forever a part of us. John is a model for our volunteers and a sailor who will forever have a place standing at Elissa’s helm.


John Robert Moran of Houston, Texas passed away peacefully on Saturday, May 16, 2020, at the age of 79. After several years of battling with Parkinson’s disease, John spent his final days surrounded by his loving family.

John never did anything half-way. In his eyes, if it was worth doing, it was worth doing right. He instilled that strong work ethic in his children, and it lives on today through his grandchildren. John was an executive in the cement, concrete, and aggregate industry for over thirty years, an enthusiast and supporter of the arts, enjoyed cooking for his family, and was an avid woodworker crafting beautiful pieces in his beloved shop that will be forever cherished.

He was a devoted husband to his high-school sweetheart, Rina, and they shared a love for the 1877 sailing ship ELISSA, berthed in Galveston, Texas. It would be difficult to name anyone who was a more stalwart supporter of this famous vessel. He poured his time, talent, treasure, and heart into the ship, serving in just about every capacity imaginable, including volunteer crew member, mast captain, mate, chair of the ELISSA Committee, member of the Galveston Historical Foundation Board of Directors and its Steering Committee, and Interim Director of ELISSA and the Texas Seaport Museum. Throughout three decades, beginning in the late 1980s, John played crucial leadership roles in the success of the ELISSA and her parent organization.

John was preceded in death by his parents, John Robert Moran and Mary Dean Smith Moran; and by his wife of 45 years, Rina Gadman Moran. He is survived by his children Dawna Moran Dyson and her husband David Dyson, John Robert Moran and his wife Cheri Moran; his beautiful granddaughters Emily Dyson, Jessica Cvijic and her husband Bozidar Cvijic; his loving sister Patricia Moran Eubanks and her husband Larry Eubanks, and all of his nieces and nephews. There will be a family gathering honoring John and he will be laid to rest with his wife at Saint Timothy’s Anglican Church in Spring, Texas. He was dearly loved and will be missed by his family and friends.

People wishing to honor John’s life and legacy can make donations to the ELISSA through Galveston Historical Foundation

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2 years ago

A good man and a good shipmate.

Debbie Corson
Debbie Corson
2 years ago

So sorry to hear this. John was a huge part of my incredible Elissa experience and “family.” He will be missed. R.I.P. John.

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