PIECES OF OUR PAST - HUGH D. MOORE, JR.

THE QUIET ALSO SERVE

If you have been to funerals in Dublin since the late 1950s, chances are you know Hugh D. Moore,  Jr..  You don't know him from the front pages of the newspaper.  People like Hugh are not on the front pages.  Hugh's name has only been on the front page twice,  once as a member of Boy Scout troop and as a giver to the Christmas Basket Fund.

But on nearly every day of every year for the last six decades, Hugh arises from bed and puts on the uniform of the day, a dark suit and a dark tie, and heads off to work.   He does his job with dignity, honor,  and with a sense of personal satisfaction that he has admirably served his clients in times of grief and suffering.

Hugh D. Moore, Jr. was born on March 4, 1938 to Hugh D. Moore, Sr. and Sara Davis Moore in Washington County.  Hugh spent most of his youth growing up on Mary Street and  going to school in Dublin, where he graduated from Dublin High School in 1956.  Hugh's strong work ethic was sealed when he worked as a Courier Herald paperboy and a clerk in the Fairway Supermarket, when it was located on North Church Street.  During high school, Moore began to drive ambulances for Townsend Funeral Home back in the days when there was no county operated ambulance service.

After his graduation, Hugh enlisted in the Georgia National Guard in which he served for nine years.  "Hugh hated to clean and press his uniforms, so he paid his sister a quarter to do the job," recalled his wife and life long best friend, the former June Dixon, whom he married in 1959.

In the early 1960s, the time came for Hugh to attend John A. Gupton College in Nashville, Tennessee to learn the rudiments and requirements of becoming a licensed embalmer.    Hugh and June pinched pennies, scrimped, and saved to make it through the tough times.  June remembers that all students had to wear suits every day, so the Moores bought seersucker suits which could be washed and often.

Moore, who believes that education is the one thing no one can ever take away from you, finished first in his class - a remarkable feat which led to an invitation for him to remain at Gupton College and become a teacher.  Moore, with his superior knowledge of human anatomy and physiology, considered a career as physician, but his less than perfect eyesight and his lifelong dependence on eyeglasses put that notion to rest.  Already committed to returning home and working for the Townsend family, Hugh and June moved back home to Dublin.

"I have never known him to complain about being called to work in his 62 years in the funeral home business," June recalls.  "In the days of the ambulance service, life was tough, tough, tough.  We didn't have microwaves and I would have supper on the table.  Hugh would come in and be called right back.  He usually put in as many as 80 hours a week, especially when he had to attend all football games in an ambulance, usually with me by his side.  When the county began operating ambulances, it was the greatest relief of our lives," June remembered.

By the most conservative of estimates, Hugh D. Moore, Jr. has served in more than ten thousand funerals.  Often Hugh is the first person on the scene following the death of a loved one, the first to meet and see to the needs of the grieving survivors - a task which has become almost routine in his 62-year-career.  Although, Hugh will tell you that he never gets used to embalming and conducting funerals for babies and young people.

"You never get a second chance to do a funeral," says Moore, whose mantra is "Anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time."  He sees his role as a servant to the community. 

"Most people don't come see me (the funeral home) because they want to be there or that they are happy … they come because they have to be there and they are sad," Moore maintains.

Over the last six decades, Moore has grown to know a inestimable number of family members.  Many are so pleased with his work ethic and manner that they tell him, "You can't retire or die until you do my funeral."   Moore will quickly tell you that the funeral is not for the deceased but for the family and friends who attend.

Hugh will tell you that he rarely feels closer to God as he does in nature. And, when he gets ready to unwind from the daily grind of wearing suits and dealing with death, that's where you will find Hugh.  He will get in his truck and ride north of town to June's ancestral farm, where the inveterate tinkerer has built nearly two dozen bird houses, several pieces of furniture and almost anything that's broken - he doesn't fix anything that's not broken.

He used to fish and hunt a lot with good friends, Sonny Kimball and Ed Martin.  Moore was a responsible hunter who firmly states, "Always respect firearms and wildlife.  Don't shoot unless you believe you can drop the animal." Today Hugh and June would rather ride out and look at the wild deer and turkeys instead of shooting them.  With his suit removed, Hugh Moore revels in the fortunate times when he can put on his blue jeans, slide on his working boots,  climb on the tractor, and commune with the glory of the nature around him.  June and daughter Wendy will tell you that this is one of aspect of his life that few people know. 

Moore's daughter, Wendy Leverett, proudly says, "When I think of my daddy, I think of integrity, service, and humility.  He has always put his family and others above himself, not because he was brought up that way or because it is a habit (although he was raised to be a true southern gentleman), but because of the pure joy that he receives from being a servant to his family and his fellow man."

So now you know a little about the life of the quiet man in the dark suit, the man we see at many funerals and the man who unnoticeably goes about his job with precision,  compassion, and grace.  You can't see or touch the rewards from his service.  You won't find his name on many plaques, awards, or trophies on his walls.  For you see, Hugh D. Moore, Jr. is  one of the quiet, the quiet who also serve.

Comments

Beautiful tribute to a wonderful servant of our community. He has been a comfort to many families in their most dire time of need.
Angel Wells said…
He has been with my family threw many trying times. I always remember him telling me that everything will be okay. You can handle what GOD has put in front of you. I remember when my mom passed, he was there with me the whole way threw. I also remember when my grandmother passed he was a great help to my mom with all the arrangements.