24 May 2012
- Written by Dr. Sybill C. Mitchell
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Hundreds gathered Wednesday morning at Norris Road Church of Christ to bid a final farewell to Elmer Moore Jr.,
A successful entrepreneur in real estate brokerage for more than 50 years drew hundreds to a final farewell on Wednesday at Norris Road Church of Christ.
"My husband had a bad heart," said Essie Moore. "I took care of him in our home when he returned from the hospital. Caregiving is a big job, but you don't mind it when you really love someone. It was a joy to know that I was caring for my husband."
Mr. Moore was a 1951 graduate of Booker T. Washington High School. He earned a degree from LeMoyne College in 1961. Moore served in the U.S. Army before going to work for the U.S. Postal Service. His first venture as a real estate developer was Lakeview Gardens in the 1970s.
"My husband was all about business, but he always demonstrated a genuine love for people," said Moore. "He always felt an obligation to help his community – especially black men. Elmer was very sensitive to suffering because of his own childhood experiences in poverty.
"When some product or service was needed, Elmer always called on a small, black businessman. 'Everybody's going to call the big guy,' he would say. He patronized corner stores in our community. Elmer would always tell me. 'We need to buy from our neighborhood stores. If there is something they need to improve on, then let them know. Don't just stop patronizing. How will they know if we don't tell them what's wrong? We must help one another pull up by our bootstraps,' he would always say."
Mr. Moore's participation in the sit-in demonstrations and civil rights marches was always a great source of pride for him, said Mrs. Moore. One of Moore's sons brought light-hearted moments in the program when he recounted that many times, people would be so far behind in rent but were allowed to stay anyway.
"My husband helped to desegregate the public libraries, cultural centers such as the Memphis Botanic Gardens and Pink Palace Museum. He remembered those times back then fondly," Mrs. Moore said.
"There was a great sense of urgency that united the black community in one common goal: to see desegregation in every aspect of life in Memphis. They wanted to make a better life for their children and to make sure they were afforded the same rights and privileges as others did."
Mr. Moore Moore was born to the Rev. Elmer and Annie B. Moore. He was preceded in death by his parents and four siblings: Johnetta Brown, Hubert Moore, Luke C. Moore, and Fannie Green.
In addition to his widow, Mr. Moore leaves six children, Monice Moore Hagler, Jeffrey Moore(Juliette), Terrena Moore, Vincent Moore, Arafa Payne, Elmer Moore III (Ililian), Elliott Moore, 15 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and a numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.
"Elmer's first love was God, of course. These 30 years of being married to him were wonderful years," said Mrs. Moore.
"He should be remembered as a man who truly cared for others. That is what he lived for. That is his legacy."