Just short of an entire century of a life very well lived, Roscoe Edward Moore passed away during the early morning hours on Tuesday, February 16th 2021; he was 99 years old. Known as Ed to friends and family, he was also affectionately known as “Pama” to his three grandchildren and six great grandchildren. At the time of his death the old guy was still living on his own in Clemmons, North Carolina where on occasion he got behind the wheel of his 2015 black Ford Focus to make excursions to get a haircut or groceries. Ed was born on December 7th 1921 to Roscoe Eugene and Jenny May Jones Moore in DeFalls Bluff, Arkansas, spent his formative years growing up in nearby Stuttgart, Arkansas, and later teenage years in Decatur, Illinois. The former is known as the “Duck Hunting Capital of the World” and it’s likely that is where Ed became an avid sportsman who loved fishing, hunting, camping, and other outdoor related activities, like golf. Ed grew up surrounded by a large family that included his four brothers Herbert, Leonard, Howard, and Dwaine, and sister Darlene; his siblings all preceded him in death. Based on family stories, Ed was in Chicago with his brothers and friends celebrating his 20th birthday the weekend of December 7th 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Like many young men at the time, the entire gang made a beeline for a recruiting office the following Monday morning with the intent of joining the US Army. Finding themselves in a line stretching around the block, Ed and his brothers were persuaded by an enterprising recruiter to forgo the queue and join the Navy. Ed liked to tell people that the decision was well thought out to ensure that he would be well fed during the war’s duration, but rather it was simply a desire to spend less time standing outside in the Chicago cold. It was that seemingly random decision, along with an assignment on the Navy destroyer USS Greer that landed Ed in New York City during a ship refitting in 1942. There he met Ms. Rosemary Russo, the daughter of recent Italian immigrants. While managing to court and marry (in 1943) a beautiful, yet quick-tempered Italian woman, Ed’s assignment to the Greer entailed convoy duty in the North Atlantic, Caribbean, and North Africa. His stories regarding time on the Greer seldom included much in the way of sea battle related details and consequently belied just how dangerous such duty must have been, particularly during the war’s earlier years. A historical account of the USS Greer during March 1943 details seven ships lost during heavy gales in three separate German U-Boat attacks while bound for a port in Northern Ireland. Ed’s more complete tales of convoy duty were ironically related to food shortages and difficulties eating chow in really heavy seas. One of his atypically exciting stories of Navy life described chopping ice off the ship’s superstructure with an ax during a winter storm and high seas because heavy ice buildup could cause a ship like the Greer to capsize. The USS Greer was retired late in the war and Ed was subsequently assigned to a newer class of destroyer, the USS Herbert. Following Germany’s surrender, the crew worked to fit the new ship for reassignment to the war in the Pacific but having accumulated enough service points, Ed was discharged in October 1945 as a Machinist Mate 2nd Class. After the war, he returned to wife Rosemary, and now daughter Sharen Lee Moore. After attending a couple years of college, began a career as a manager with Montgomery Ward. As he progressed with the company, the family moved for various promotions and management positions to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. In 1961 Ed left Montgomery Ward and the family settled in Tennessee where he pursued various business interests, some more successful than others. He worked primarily in auto sales, having owned a couple of big car dealerships in Erwin and Johnson City. And, at one point he also owned a small shoe store Erwin. By most accounts his success as a businessman was challenged by his generosity; the shoe store, for example, operated mostly in the red because Ed had a penchant for giving away shoes to needy families (Rosemary was not amused). In addition to being a business owner he served as the president of the Erwin Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the Buffalo Valley Golf Club where he enjoyed playing a lot of golf. After 30 years in Tennessee, Rosemary and Ed moved to Wilmington, North Carolina where they both worked regularly as extras on the sets of the TV series Matlock and American Gothic. If you watch carefully, Ed is seated on many of Matlock’s juries and even attended the occasional party at the fictional lawyer’s home. Well into his late 70s, Ed also kept busy as a “security” guard at the Wilmington Ports and later Wilmington Health where he was a beloved fixture at the check in desk helping both the staff and patients. In 2013 Rosemary and Ed made a final move to Clemmons, NC to be closer to their daughter Sharen and son-in-law Wilbur Bond. Rosemary, his wife of 70 years, passed away in 2014. Ed, along with everyone else, was mystified by his longevity; Rosemary was an amazing Italian cook who kept him incredibly well fed on top of his predilection for sweets, fried foods, and good pork barbeque. He often lamented that “if he’d known he was going to live this long he would have taken better care of himself.” As it turns out he pinched that quote from George Burns although he gave the comedian no credit. Due to Ed’s quick wit and extensive lexicon of jokes (some inappropriate by today’s standards), the family never considered that he didn’t come up with that one himself. Right up until a few days before his death he lived on his own, remained fastidious in his dress and appearance, and was as ever quick witted. Ed will be forever remembered by his family for his generosity, sharp intellect, sense of humor, and his service to his country. He served our nation during an existential crisis, he was self-made, creative, hardworking, but also imperfect, delightfully irreverent, and unapologetic; R. Edward Moore exemplified what it meant to have been part of America’s Greatest Generation. He is survived by his daughter Sharen Bond and son-in-law Wilbur Bond; grandchildren Jason (Kristen) Bond, Elaine (Joe) Peterson, and Whitney (Jeremy) Funderburk; and great grandchildren Elisabeth Bond, Drew, Adam, and Leila Peterson, and Sophia and Reese Haynes. Roscoe Edward Moore will be laid to rest with full military honors in a graveside ceremony on Saturday, February 27th at 2 PM at Westlawn Gardens of Memory, Clemmons, NC. The family asks that in lieu of flowers donations in his name be made to the St. Jude Tribute Program. Online condolences may be made at www.hayworth-miller.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Roscoe Edward Moore, please visit our floral store.