Memorial services for 72-year-old Lawrence “LJ” Moloney of Crawford, NE, are Tues, May 24, 2022 at 2:00 at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Crawford.
Burial will be at St John’s Catholic Cemetery in Crawford.
A Vigil/Rosary service dedicated to LJ will be held Monday, May 23, at 6:00, also at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.
A memorial has been established for the Crawford Baseball Association or St. John the Baptist Church and donations may be sent in care of Chamberlain Chapel, PO Box 970, Chadron, NE 69337.
Online condolences may be left at www.chamberlainchapel.com
Lawrence Joseph Moloney Jr was born in Chicago in 1949 as eldest son of Lawrence Joseph Moloney Sr and his wife Agnes (neé Stark) Moloney. He passed at home on the evening of May 13 , 2022
LJ was the eldest of a family that eventually included 6 children. His grandfather was a lawyer for the city of Chicago sanitation department and a precinct captain of the Democrat party.
His father was working for the Purex Corporation when in 1955, Purex underwent a corporate reorganization and moved its headquarters to Southern California.
As part of the reorganization, Lawrence Sr was promoted and Purex moved him and the family to Whittier, California, a suburb of Los Angeles.
The mid 50’s was a great time to be a kid in Southern California. There were lots of kids with 3 houses either side of his and across the street having more than 23 kids, most of them boys, between the ages of 8 and 3.
They played pickup sports games constantly, especially football, basketball, and baseball. LJ had a lifetime of pure fun through his late teens.
L.J. attended grammar school at St Gregory the Great Elementary with his brothers and sister. In 5th grade, he got a job delivering newspapers for the East Whittier Review and made between $8 and $9 a month – which in the day of nickel candy bars and dime sodas was not bad.
LJ was an altar boy for St Gregory the Great Parish. It wan’t easy because Mass was in Latin then and the altar boys had to know the responses because they spoke for the people.
He served mass at 6:30 AM almost every day for 4 years and served at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Devotions on Wednesday nights, Station of the Cross on Friday during Lent, weddings – which were always good for a tip, and funerals which were grim affairs.
LJ attended St Paul High School in Santa Fe Springs, California, and was an offensive lineman for the St Paul Swordsmen football team. He attended Rio Hondo Community College in Whittier and continued to play football as an offensive lineman at the college level while he earned his 2-year degree.
He transferred to University of San Francisco for a year, where he also played football. During his college years, LJ coached basketball at St Gregory Parish, and coached youth baseball for the maverick little league in Whittier.
Around 1974-1975 L.J. enrolled at California State University at Humboldt (CSHU or Humboldt State) in an attempt to finish his degree, but needed to earn money to pay for it. He went job hunting to earn enough money to go back to college, and through connections with friends he moved to Denver, Colorado, seeking employment.
Through a job service in Denver, LJ was offered a job on the Burlington Northern Railroad in Upton, WY. He took the job, worked in the bunk cars, became a camp tender, and gradually came to realize that he thought working on the railroad was a ton of fun.
LJ returned to Humboldt State for winter quarter 1975 and met and began a relationship with Linda Jean Moore, who was also attending the school. LJ and Linda continued correspondence for several years while he was alternately attending college and working for the railroad in Wyoming and Nebraska.
LJ eventually gave up the idea of finishing his degree at Humboldt State in favor of the steady income, physical work, and everyday problem-solving of the railroad. Linda chose to follow him out to Nebraska and they married in 1979 in Crawford.
L.J. worked for Burlington Northern, which became the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and then BNSF, for about 35 years. He built track across eastern Wyoming and Western Nebraska, became foreman of a bunk car gang, and eventually a Roadmaster, and finally a track inspector.
Between 1979 and 1985 LJ and Linda spent time living in Crawford; Wymore, NE; and St Joseph, MO. A railroad reorganization around St Joseph in 1986 eliminated LJ’s job and the railroad offered him a choice of transfer locations.
LJ and Linda chose to move back to Crawford because that was where he had the most fun in his previous tours of duty. They purchased a house on Fourth Stree, and soon after conceived a son, Timothy Paul Moloney, who was born on January 2, 1987.
L.J. loved being a father and he was a great fit for the role. He was big, strong, only a little bit dirty, gruff but gentle, coarse yet caring, a firm hand and he knew how to challenge a person just enough to make them grow. He was a child’s dream as a father, he always had time, he would always make time, and he was very much the man of the house.
Crawford was his vision of paradise and he worked hard to serve his community. He headed the Crawford Baseball Association for about a decade between 1990 and 2000, and arranged construction of new baseball fields after the 1991 flood damaged the old fields.
He coached teams in the local league and traveled to regional tournaments. He also coached 5th and 6th grade basketball for several years.
LJ became Mayor of Crawford in 1994 and served 11 years in 3 terms. During his time as mayor, he arranged major upgrades to the city water system and sanitary treatment facility.
LJ retired from the railroad in 2010 and spent the final decade of his life traveling with his wife, spending time with his grandchildren, and watching sports – both live and on TV. One of his favorite trips was to baseball spring training in Arizona.
LJ is survived by his wife Linda (neé Moore), son Tim Moloney with his wife Claire, and grandchildren Ceci, Silas and Sage. Also by his sister Mary Moloney and brothers Jim (wife Marcia), GP (wife Ameé), Michael (wife Kathie), and Ed, plus their progeny.
Chamberlain Chapel of Chadron is in charge of arrangements for LJ Moloney