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Dean Moffitt: An Earlier Epidemic

Jun 17, 2020

The gate in front of the Citizens Hospital in Aspen, circa 1910s.
Credit Aspen Historical Society

Glenwood Springs resident Dean Moffitt said thinking about his father reminds him of another time that the world was affected by an epidemic. 


In 1916, Horace Dean Moffitt lied about his age, and joined the Navy to fight in World War I. He was sent to Germany. 


During that time, the flu epidemic of 1918 started to claim lives in America and abroad. At least 50 million people would die as a result.


“Germans and Allies were dying, not only from bullets, but from the flu in those muddy trenches,” Moffitt said. 

Moffitt said, thanks to a stroke of luck, his father Horace was unscathed by battle and the flu. 


“Father sailed through all of that,” he said. “He ended up in Germany the week that [the] armistice was signed.”