John Moore, ‘quiet leader’ who solved problems in Dayton community, dies

John Moore, in a screenshot from a 2016 video with the Dayton Daily News. STAFF
John Moore, in a screenshot from a 2016 video with the Dayton Daily News. STAFF

John E. Moore Sr., a leader in the Dayton community, died last week. His 98th birthday would have been on Jan. 11.

He was a World War II veteran and former chief of civilian personnel at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, involved with his church and his community his entire life.

“Wherever he saw a problem, he went about trying to create an organization or a group of folks to come together to solve whatever problems he saw in the community,” said William Gillispie, former Dayton deputy city manager. Moore was his mentor for more than 40 years, he said.

Gillispie said Moore would call out when people, especially poor and Black people, were being mistreated, but he would also work to fix the problem.

Willie Walker, retired CEO of the Dayton Urban League, said Moore was a “tremendous man.”

“I considered John Moore one of those quiet leaders. He didn’t make a lot of noise about anything. He just worked to get things done,” Walker said.

According to the Dayton Foundation’s website, Moore gave more than 50 years to various corporate, nonprofit, local government and grassroots organizations.

“But what his biography doesn’t convey are his approachable warmth, sincere humility and unquestionable integrity, which have made him one of the most well-respected and influential leaders in the Dayton area,” the foundation wrote.

Moore was involved with the Dayton Foundation, Sinclair Community College’s board of trustees, a co-founder of Parity Inc., a trustee of the United Way of the Greater Dayton Area, a trustee and chair of the Self Sufficiency Task Force, a member of the Montgomery County Job Center Governing Board, a member of the MedAmerica Health Systems Corp. and more.

Moore helped create the Montgomery County human services levy, which merged six human services-oriented levies into two.

He was also a founding supporter of the Dayton-Montgomery County Scholarship program, which raised $25,000 in its first year and $35,000 the second year. A $1 million donation from Dayton philanthropist and industrialist Jesse Phillips was instrumental in sustaining the program.

Since then, from the fund, scholarships have been granted to 600 or 700 students each year, with scholarships averaging about $1,000 each.

His son, John Moore Jr., said his father was a hero and a role model.

“My dad was exceptional because he was a visionary,” he said.

John Moore Sr. was honored in a 2016 article in the Dayton Daily News calling him an unsung hero. In that interview, Moore said he was on a faith journey.

“It’s kind of wrapped up in my journey, my faith journey,” John Moore Sr. said. “It’s a faith journey.”

With a smile, he added, “I guess I haven’t learned how to say ‘No,’ often enough. I got a weak heart, or something.”

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Walker and Gillispie said they hoped more people would strive to be like John Moore Sr.

“If communities had more John Moores, it would be a better place to live,” Walker said.

John Moore Jr. said the family planned to hold a private ceremony at Woodland Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asked donations be made to the John E. Moore and Hester Moore Fund at the Dayton Foundation.

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