This article appeared in the Saratoga News on April 5, 1995, the 25th Anniversary of Kevin Moran’s death. It was written by his brother, Brian J. Moran in commemoration.
Increasingly as a society, we look toward movie stars and sports legends for inspiration and personal qualities we would like to emulate, often becoming disappointed.
Many times we need not look any further than our own families and loved ones to find those that will inspire us. I would like to bring to your attention a young man, a boy really, who demonstrated in his life all the qualities a parent could ever hope for in their young son. Raised primarily in Saratoga his name was Kevin Patrick Moran, and he was a hero. His life would only last a precious 22 years. He has been gone for 25.
Kevin was the first-born in a family of 10 children – four boys and six girls. Holding that position in the family required of Kevin a lot of responsibility. My parents expected him to lead the way in all areas of his life and set the example for his younger brothers and sisters to follow. He did it well and was a happy child.
Kevin took his schoolwork, paper route and other endeavors seriously, for he knew instinctively that his efforts were a reflection of who he was. I know my parents love and support for the family made it possible for him to do his best. He always did.
He was a thoughtful and generous boy as well. At Christmas, birthdays and other unexpected times of the year, he demonstrated his generosity by often purchasing gifts with his hard-earned paper route money. He was not a saint, but in his heart and actions, I’m sure God was pleased. I remember at times his frustration could get the better of him. At times, I’m sure some of his siblings, myself included, added to that frustration.
Kevin graduated from Sacred Heart School in 1962 and Saratoga High School in 1966. Although he was talented enough to play sports at the high school level, he decided to focus his time on school and art-time work. He was an excellent student. He was the type of kid teachers would love to have in their class, eager to learn while being respectful of his fellow students and teachers.
In the fall of 1966, Kevin enrolled at UC-Santa Barbara, majoring in economics. He continued to work hard, and his grades were proof of this. Kevin was a bright boy, indeed. However it was his tenacity and hard work that brought him success. Kevin, who always enjoyed sports, finally decided there was time in his schedule and made the university’s crew team. He enjoyed it immensely.
The late 1960s and early ‘70s were a difficult time in our nation’s history. This was reflected upon college campuses nationwide. Students and others, upset with the war in Vietnam, somehow thought that violence against police and businesses, large and small, was the way to change policy regarding the war. Little did they realize the casualties they would bring upon the hard working and the innocent. Kevin was one such casualty. His death left my parents and family devastated. Our community was saddened.
It was on April 18, 1970 when Kevin responded to a campus radio station request by the student body president for moderate and peaceful students to try and calm the angry mob that had gathered in Goleta, where the university is located, It was a request that was honorable but lacked sense. The angry mob rolled police cars over and proceeded to burn the local Bank of America building. Kevin’s heroic actions brought about his death. While he was attempting to extinguish fires that had been set inside the bank, a “misguided” bullet took his life.
Kevin’s heroic actions were formally recognized through proclamations by various cities throughout the state, including the city of Saratoga. Then-president Richard Nixon and then-Gov. Ronald Reagan sent their condolences. Hundreds of citizens nationwide sent cards and letters expressing their sorrow for our loss. The city of Saratoga named a newly developed park in honor of his memory.
Although he has been gone a quarter of a century, our mom daily passes his picture on the wall and silently says good morning to her eldest son. On warm summer afternoons, our dad often takes a bevy of grandchildren for walks through Kevin Moran Park. While the pain that his death brought has subsided over the years, my brothers and sisters want him to not be forgotten. He would have turned 47 on March 15.
I am happy to report that his parents, brother, sisters, their spouses and his nieces and nephews are busy with their lives and all is well.
More information about the Isla Vista Riots of 1970: