SPREAD EAGLE, Wis. – Donald Moore, 79, of Spread Eagle, beloved husband, brother, father, and grandfather, passed away Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, in Florence, Wis., as a result of injuries suffered in an accident.
Don, also known as “Gene,” was born Aug. 25, 1934, near Beckley, W. Va., son of the late Clara and Cameron Moore.
His childhood was spent among extended family, learning fishing and hunting in the West Virginia Mountains, skills he would use his whole life. After graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School, Class of 1952, in Beckley, he moved to the Detroit area, working in the auto industry. While there, he met and married Elaine Fought. The couple moved to Lansing, Mich., where Don attended Lansing Community College and Michigan State University while also working nights at area grocery stores.
In 1965, after completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work, Don and his family moved to Escanaba so he could take a position as a social worker with the Department of Social Services in Delta County.
His time in Escanaba was marked by his participation in many community events, but especially in competitive sailing. In 1968, he moved to Iron Mountain, taking the position of director of mental health, for both Dickinson and Iron Counties.
Don’s time as director was marked by a great expansion in the number of people helped, increased staff training, and a patient nurturing of the program in the face of bureaucratic hurdles. As a strong advocate for the mentally ill and disabled community, his efforts were focused on providing support for both patients and families, enabling many people to participate in residential programs. Don was regularly stopped on the street by people who thanked him for the positive impact he had on their lives.
In 1993, Don retired to pursue other interests, including his love of gardening (which fed family, neighbors, friends, and lots of thieving deer), reading, and winter travel to Florida or the Southwest U.S. The high point of his travels was a trip to watch his beloved Spartans win the Rose Bowl last January.
Don is survived by his wife of 59 years, Elaine; his daughters, Shelley Moore and Martha (Ric) Shahin; two grandsons, Peter and Nick (whose enrollment at the University of Michigan was both a point of pride and annoyance); two sisters, Shirley (John) Zutaut and Katherine (Kenneth) Shelton; along with a large extended family of cousins, nieces, and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Cameron and Clara (Bobbie) Lilly Moore Patterson; his stepfather, Robert Patterson; and many West Virginia members of the Lilly and Moore families.
Don will be remembered for his sense of humor, fierce loyalty to family and friends, and embrace of the less fortunate. His hospitality among the Lake Anna (Spread Eagle) crew will be missed.
Visitation will be held Thursday, Aug. 14, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, Iron Mountain. Visitation will also be held Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, from 10-11 a.m. at the church. Funeral Services will be held Friday, 11 a.m. at the church. Pastor Geri Hamlen will officiate. Burial will be in Cemetery Park, Iron Mountain.
A memorial in Don’s memory has been established, individuals wishing to honor Don are asked to contribute to the Trinity United Methodist Church Food Program in Iron Mountain or the Salvation Army in Iron Mountain.
The family has chosen the Jacobs Funeral Home, Iron Mountain to honor Don’s Legacy of Life.
You may light a candle in remembrance of Don, or leave a condolence for his family online at www.JacobsFuneralHomes.com.