Our Vendors 

Roark Moody: his heart attack and recovery

Thu, Nov 1, 2012

StreetWise Vendor Roark Moody suffered a heart attack last month. He was on the way to Jesse Brown VA Medical Center for a routine check-up. He got off the Blue Line train at the medical center and could no longer breathe. “I literally fell to my knees gasping for breath.” We asked Moody if anyone stopped to help him and he responded, “People must have thought I was on drugs or crazy. This one lady finally saw me and she helped me up the rest of the way. She flagged the bus down and helped me across the street.”

The bus driver took Moody straight to the emergency room. The doctors took Moody’s blood pressure and began to run a battery of tests to figure out what caused the heart attack. The doctors discovered that one of Moody’s valves wasn’t functioning right. “They found out that one of my valves doesn’t close all the way. That caused a lot of pressure on my heart which raised my blood pressure and tore one of my arteries.”

While Moody was in the hospital, his main concern was his cat. “The doctor said I had to get admitted and I said, ‘I can’t! I have a cat!’ ” Moody’s doctor responded by telling him that his cat has nine lives and Moody isn’t going anywhere! Moody contacted Ron, head of vendor sales, to take care of his cat, Wrigley.

The disturbing part of Moody’s episode was that he didn’t feel like he was having a heart attack. “I didn’t feel the elephant on my chest. I thought I had the flu.” Moody didn’t experience typical heart attack symptoms, which exemplifies the importance of heart attack awareness. Moody was scheduled to have open heart surgery at Heinz VA Med Center near Maywood in early October. You can check on his recovery by emailing blangmeyer@streetwise.org.

Moody wrote a poem about his experience called “Fate Sonnet,” which can be found on Page 14. Moody says, “Fate Sonnet is a poem I wrote when I found out I was going to have open heart surgery. I couldn’t go to sleep that night, and I decided to say a prayer. I came up with this poem, and a prayer, where I ask God for help during this challenge in my life.” He invites everyone to use the poem in their worshipping.

Moody was put on a special diet by his doctor. “I’m on the rabbit food diet. I told that to my doctor, and he said, ‘no you’re on the stay-alive diet.’ ” Moody is doing his best to watch his portions and food. In addition to eating better, Moody plans to swim and exercise during his recovery. He can’t ride his bike for a while because his ribs must recover before he can take the chance of falling off his bike.

Moody plans to use his free time to study some philosophy, theology, Spanish and Latin. “I want to study these disciplines and add elements of each to my work.” Moody thinks each discipline will bring a new-found flavor to his writing. “I want to broaden my viewpoint when I write poetry. I want to be able to write about everything. I don’t want to be a one-trick pony.”

Written by Adrian Villalpando,
StreetWise Intern


18 Responses to “Roark Moody: his heart attack and recovery”

  1. Brenda DeBruler says:

    I hear that Roark passed away this weekend. I wanted to express my symapthies to his Streetwise family. I was a customer and spoke with Roark almost everyday at Millenium station. I know that he will be truly missed by everyone who knew him.

  2. pete walker says:

    I heard today that Roark Moody passed away. I’m very sorry to hear it…he was a fixture at Millenium Station for years and a true gentleman. I hadn’t seen him for some time and was concerned that he might be ill but I was shocked to hear that he is gone……he will be missed by all the regulars!!! RIP, brother!!!

  3. Caesar Carrion says:

    I just heard yesterday that Roark had passed away. My thoughts, prayers and my deepest condolences go out to his family and his Streetwise family. Not a day went by that we did not say hello to each other and exchange pleasant conversation. Roark will be missed by all.

  4. Nola Jarman says:

    I found out last night that my favorite Streetwise vendor had passed away. How sad for us all. I looked forward to Mr. Moody’s ‘have a good night’ as I headed down into the train station everyday. Mr. Moody was a such a kind soul. I know there is a special place in heaven for him.

  5. Ann Foor says:

    My heart goes out to Moody’s family and his Streetwise family. You are all in my prayers.

  6. Kimberly says:

    I was wondering where he was since I hadn’t seen him at the train station in a while. He was so nice and spoke all the time. My condolences and prayers to his family..

  7. Lynn says:

    I never even knew his name. I’ve seen him near the top of those stairs for years. I’ve even seen him on tv. He was always speaking. I made sure I said hello. I’ve even seen him giving folks the ‘fist bump’. Sad to know that he is no longer with us. RIP Mr Moody, kind sir…you will be missed…

  8. Courtney says:

    Was saddened to hear last night that Mr. Moody had passed away. For a while I had been wondering where he had been and missed hearing his infamous “streeeeeeeet” when I walked to the train. For four years, he and I talked chicago sports, poetry, our history, and, our favorite subject, President Obama. My prayers are with his family as well StreetWise family. He was a GREAT man.

  9. Tora says:

    My deepest condolences to Mr. Moody’s family and his streetwise family, he will truly be missed. Not everyone can say that they made a difference in this world with caring words to strangers daily. Mr. Moody’s presence will truly be missed, every time I pass that spot I will hear “have a good night” in my head and remember the King that stated such kind, and heart felt words to little ol me. Life is short and you never know when your day will come. We should be kind to all and recognize how precious life can be. We all learn from this and we should make a difference daily like Mr. Moody did!!!

  10. Stephanie says:

    Mr. Moody was my favorite Streetwise vendor and I am so so so upset and saddened to hear of his passing yesterday. Seeing him standing at Millennium station every evening after work in his GO BEARS gear always brightened any crappy work day. Just his mere presence was so gentle, commanding, humble, and he was a veteran…served our great nation and will be forever remembered in my heart and never forgotten. He’s home in a better place and will be truly missed by many I’m sure. Rest in peace Mr. Moody and the Bears are going to bring it home for YOU this year :) be sure to keep watch over them!

  11. Joan says:

    I just found out yesterday that Roark passed away! I was so sad to hear about his heart attack and eventual death. He was always smiling and friendly no matter the weather, you could count on his smile. I will miss him and know a lot of people will also.

  12. Indiana Marc says:

    RIP Moody

    May the four winds blow him safely home

  13. Kenny T says:

    I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Mr Moody, my thought and condolences goes out to the family and the streetwise family. His friendly personalty will be missed. Whenever I pass by there would always be a crowd surrounding him to hello, and if I were running for the train and didn’t have time to talk about current sports or the Bulls he would always have his fist out ready to give dapz!!! This leave a huge void in my day. RIP my dear friend.
    Kenny T.

  14. Penny says:

    I was deeply saddened to hear of his passing. His presence will be missed every time I walk by the Cultural Center. He was an inspiring presence. RIP friend, you are missed by many.

  15. Bonny says:

    I was very sorry to hear about Moody. He was so nice and always spoke to everyone. I pray for him and his loved ones. The world lost a wonderful man. The train station will not be the same. I will think of him everynight when I go home and he is not there to say Good Night to me, may he rest in peace.

  16. Edna says:

    Moody is a missed fixture at the corner of Randolph & Michigan. I hope he is at peace in his new home and I hope someone is being good to his cat, Wrigley. I read the issue dedicated to Moody, front to back and must say I found out many things I didn’t know about Moody. I’m a guilty person who never bought Streetwise but I would sometimes pass Moody a couple bucks as I headed down in the station to catch my train. He always spoke saying have a good night or on a Friday, have a good weekend. I’ve given a lot of thought about how we’re often so busy with out own lives we forget to find out about someone else’s. I’ve now been making it a point to speak with Vince Collaso every chance I get as I head to my train. Even in death, Moody has taught me something and for that, I’m grateful.

  17. David says:

    I interviewed Roark when I was at StreetWise for some research back in 2005 and talked to him many times over the course of that year. He had a big personality and an honorable story. I just now learned of his passing and we are all a bit worse off that he is no longer here. My condolences to his family, friends and his StreetWise colleagues.

  18. Joe Seely says:

    I only recently learned of Mr. Moody’s passing. I am very sorry about this, as he was a fine gentleman.

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