Gerald C. Moylan, 50, co-host of radio show offering Latino music

July 13, 1999|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Gerald Clifford Moylan, who was co-host of a salsa-beat radio program and brought Latino percussion music to the streets of Baltimore, died Friday in a bicycle accident near Santo Domingo de la Calzada in Spain. He was 50 and lived in Mayfield.

Family members said he died while making the pilgrimage along the historic St. James Compostela route in northern Spain. His bicycle was struck by a passing vehicle along a mountainous road.

A founder of the Baltimore International Rhythm and Drumming Society, Mr. Moylan was co-host of Fiesta Musical, a weekly bilingual Latino music program on Morgan State University's WEAA-FM radio (88.9). Tonight's show, from 9 p.m. to midnight, is to be broadcast in his memory.

"He had a passion for drum music," said Orlando Cotto, a marimba player and teacher in Baltimore. "For him, percussion was the way he put his day's work behind him."

Known as Gerry, he was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and moved to Pennsylvania as a young man. He graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., with a degree in sociology. He moved to Baltimore about 25 years ago.

He had worked for the state government for two decades, and was a human resources manager for the Department of Budget and Management at the time of his death.

In 1995, he joined friends to stage a large -- and loud -- music festival at St. Paul and 27th streets in Charles Village. The September event, which began as a small gathering at St. John's United Methodist Church, has grown annually to a large folk concert described as a celebration of rhythm, percussion and dance designed to bring people of various ethnic backgrounds together.

He enjoyed rumbas and playing the conga drums, and focused his interest on the African influence on Caribbean music.

An environmental activist, he was also an enthusiastic hiker and cyclist. For more than a year, he had planned his trip through Spain and hoped to use the time for a spiritual assessment of his life.

"Music was a part of the natural expression of life to him," said John Millen, a Baltimore friend. "He wanted his pilgrimage through Spain to help him consider his being."

Last week, Mr. Moylan e-mailed friends in Baltimore a message: "The trip is going well. I have cycled 231 km in 4 days. Saw the running of the bulls in Pamplona."

Mr. Moylan was a member of the Mountain Club of Maryland. He had completed the club's "marathon" -- a 40-mile, one-day, end-to-end hike of the Appalachian Trail in Maryland.

He often hiked through Herring Run Park in Northeast Baltimore and was a member of the Herring Run Watershed Association. He looked after the stream's well-being and cleanliness.

He was also a board member of Mayfield Community Association.

Mr. Moylan's wife of 10 years, the former Gloria Fisher, died in 1980. His subsequent marriage to the former Estella Gonzalez ended in divorce.

Survivors include a daughter, Alexandra Moylan of Baltimore; a brother, Lawrence Moylan of West Springfield, Va.; and a sister, Patricia Moylan-Torruella of New York.

Plans for a memorial service were incomplete.

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