Luman Handley Moody, Jr.

1941 - 2021

Luman may not have been born with salt water in his veins, but you’d never know it. Born in Birmingham, Alabama on November 20, 1941, he moved to Los Angeles with his mother Myradele Peck and father Luman Handley Moody (who served in the military) soon after the outbreak of World War II. After his mother and father divorced, his mother married Lemuel Conner Bailey (Lem) of Hollywood and they had two additional sons, Lemuel Conner Bailey, Jr. (Conner) and Preston Edward Bailey. Only in their teenage years did the younger brothers learn that Luman was a half-brother, biologically. Made no difference, and the close relationship between the brothers only became closer over the years.

As a teenager, Luman took over the family one car garage in Malibu to build a sailfish, essentially a sailing paddleboard, and he never was the same. By age 16, his goal in life was to sail the world, stop when needed to buy necessary victuals and shove off again. With fits and starts, that is largely how he lived his life. Luman graduated from Santa Monica High School, studied at Santa Monica City College and the University of Hawaii, but found racing cars and surfing more to his liking. He worked as an all night DJ on a radio station and worked at a camera store on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. In the mid-1960s, he changed his name from Luman Bailey to Luman Handley Moody, Jr., the name on his birth certificate. With a birth certificate he could get a driver’s license, and with the two forms of identification he could get a passport. While other young men of the time moved to Canada, Luman hitch hiked from Hawaii to Australia on a series of sail boats.

In Australia, Luman met and married Bea Tanner and they had a daughter, Madeline. Together the three of them sailed from Sydney to Darwin when Madeline was barely nine months old. For Luman this was the start of a long round-the-world journey, but for Bea the realities of living on a boat with a baby led her to dry land while Luman pressed on through the Indonesian archipelago. He worked out of Singapore as captain on ships exploring for oil in the Malacca Straits and the Java Sea. After his marriage with Bea ended, he met Heng Siew Hoon, a woman from Singapore. Together they flew to England, bought another sail boat and in 1977 sailed from England to Recife, Brazil, where they were married. They lived for about five years in the British Virgin Islands before that marriage ended. Luman resumed work as captain on oil exploration ships, working in the Gulf of Mexico and back in the Java Sea. In the mid-1980s he bought yet another sailboat and lived for years in Long Beach and later Wilmington, California, working a number of marine jobs, from captaining research vessels to hauling barges up and down the coast, to water taxi work in LA harbor. In his later years he was making plans to sail out across the Pacific to visit his daughter in Australia, who opined that “they make perfectly good airplanes.” Luman was not dissuaded but time caught up with him while still full of dreams; he died of natural causes aboard his sailboat West Wind on February 5, 2021.

Luman was both a solitary sailor and a friendly man who made an impact on people he met. He is missed and his life is celebrated by those who knew and loved him, including his daughter and son-in-law Madeline and Sid Vandervine of Melbourne, Australia, their children Sam, Ellie, and Jess, his two brothers, Conner Bailey of Auburn, Alabama, and Preston Bailey of Petaluma, California, and his four nieces, Rebecca Bailey of Alpharetta, Georgia, Rachel Bailey-Young of Opelika, Alabama, Celeste Brown of Roseville, California, and Crystal McGuinness of Truckee, California.

2 responses to “Luman Handley Moody, Jr.”

  1. John Browne says:

    Worked with Luman as a Geologic prospector in the mid 1960’s in Central NSW Australia. We both worked for a company called Anaconda mining.
    He was a nice sort of a guy and used to talk about his life in Hawaii and on the sea.

  2. Casey Cooper says:

    My name is Casey Cooper. I was just informed a few days ago of Lou’s passing. Lou taught me to sail when we were live aboard neighbors on our boats located in a Wilmington, Ca. marina about in 1985-6. He was a great boat handler and as it turned out a good surfer who grew up at Latigo Cove, Ca. just to the north of Malibu. He had such great stories to tell me over the years and we surfed together up at the Hollister Ranch and down in Baja Mex. on many interesting surf trips.
    I will greatly miss his friendship and great times spent searching for waves.
    Rest In Peace Latigo.

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