Dr. Rodney Moore: Delivering groceries and babies

He moved to Oak Cliff in 1930 when he was 2 months old, along with parents Vernon and Louise.

The parents of this neighborhood doctor exemplified how to care for people

He moved to Oak Cliff in 1930 when he was 2 months old, along with parents Vernon and Louise. He attended Lida Hooe and Greiner, before graduating from Sunset in 1947, where he played football and participated as an ROTC officer. Before graduating from the University of North Texas and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, he served in the United States Navy as a hospital corpsman.

Then, in 1964, Dr. Rodney Moore began his practice in Oak Cliff, where he became the head of the obstetrics and gynecological department at Methodist hospital and president of the Methodist hospital staff, and served on the board of trustees.

He also delivered more than 6,000 babies before his retirement in 2008. No small accomplishment.

But the story doesn’t all revolve around Moore himself.

With parents who made a difference in the lives of hundreds of Oak Cliff residents over the decades, as well as in his own, Moore had a solid example lived out in front of him. Today, children frequently don’t follow in their parents’ footsteps. But with the Moore family, this wasn’t the case.

In 1940, Vernon and Louise Moore opened Moore’s Grocery on the northwest corner of Montclair and Taft. A friendly and capable couple, the Moores were popular merchants who gained the confidence of the community as they worked hard to please their customers. The duo also served the neighborhood by selling household items and dry goods and offering over-the-counter medications, along with the groceries.

“The store offered fresh barbecue daily,” Dr. Moore says, “along with coleslaw and beans. It was available to the customers who wanted to come in and purchase sandwiches. Many of the Rosemont teachers would buy their lunches from Dad, and he would also prepare soups and chili to sell.”

With the popularity of the lunch items, the Moores finally took over the rest of the building, formerly occupied by a beauty shop and dry cleaners. And, during the early war years when rationing was in force, Mr. Moore baked chickens to give to neighborhood women while their husbands were in the service. One mother told Dr. Moore that she and her daughter would have starved had his father not given them a chicken every week.

Superior aged beef and other special cuts of meat also were available, while many neighborhood families ordered Vernon’s turkeys for their holiday dinners, along with standing rib roasts and meat trays for the Kessler area dinner parties. He also catered small rehearsal dinners in the neighborhood, while scores of students regularly flocked to Louise’s famous candy counter.

Beginning at age 12, son Rodney began working at his parents’ business, stocking shelves, serving customers, and working wherever needed. The tenure lasted all the way through medical school and residency training, where his labor included making sausage and hamburger meat during the “night shift.”

“My dad always kept 30 to 40 chickens in a coop, in the back of the store. When customers requested, I would go to the back and kill and dress a chicken, so customers would have a fresh fryer on-demand. This could be done in about 8 to 10 minutes, before they checked out,” Moore says. “Because of my contribution to helping each week, Mom and Dad provided Mary and me with groceries for our family through those years in medical school.”

After a short closing while Vernon served in World War II at the Battle of Okinawa, the Moores continued operating the store until their retirement in 1980. But retirement didn’t suit them at all. A meat market inside H. Boedeker & Son on Lancaster Avenue soon occupied Vernon’s time, before he and Louise opened Moore’s Market on the corner of Stewart and Edgefield, from 1984 to 1993. Then Vernon retired permanently to care for Louise, who was in ill health.

Dr. Moore says he opened his practice in Oak Cliff “so I could be near my family and friends.” Here, he and wife Mary raised four children. After Mary’s death in 1998, Moore married Sharon Heimann, his sons’ third grade teacher at Rosemont — 33 years after they were first introduced. They live in East Kessler.

“I can truthfully say that I enjoyed each and every day of my practice for all 44 years,” Moore reminisces, “and that was due to the wonderful friendships I made with my dear patients. I loved delivering the babies, and would still be doing so today, if my health allowed it.”

Louise and Vernon Moore modeled to their son how to live a life of community service, generosity to others, and love of family.

From the evidence flowing from the life of Oak Cliff’s Dr. Rodney Moore — Sunset Bison, devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend, it seems they well succeeded.


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  • Gayla Brooks

    Rushunda; I will forward your message to Dr. Moore. I know it will mean a lot to him. Thanks for posting.

  • rushunda

    Dr. Moore was a wonderful doctor, me and my family still talk about him till this day.
    I wish I could let him know that my mom passed away 4 yrs ago (Cynthia Adams) and she loved him so much. She would always say he was a very caring and compassionate doctor. DR. RODNEY MOORE, THE ADAMS FAMILY LOVE YOU AND YOU ARE THE BEST!!!! GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS AND YOUR FAMILY 🙂

  • Gayla Brooks Kokel

    I will email Dr. Moore and tell him to read your post. Check back in a week or two, to see it he or his wife answered. Thanks for posting. And, I agree: He’s a peach!

  • LeDonna Curtis Raye

    Dr. Moore was the the best ever.  He delivered my son as well as my sister’s childern back in the 80’s.  He was more than a Doctor, he listened to every word and cared about what was happening in your life.  Our family thought he hung the moon and the star’s and after reading this article i can see why, he was raised by two remarkable people.  Please let him know we still speak of him from time to time and he will always have a place for him in our heart’s.. LeDonna Curtis Raye ( Sandra Curtis )

  • Gayla Brooks Kokel

    Connie, Did I email you last year? If I didn’t, I’m sure Dr. Moore would enjoy hear from you. I’m just now responding to a slew of postings, due to the new software from the magazine. Much easier!

  • Gayla Brooks Kokel

    Danny, Sorry to take so long to reply, but the magazine has put in place a new Web system that allows me to reply much more easily these days. So…….I’m glad you and Pat enjoy the columns. I certainly remember Pat. She was a sweet person, with a kind and gentle spirit. Thanks for posting. Hope both you and Pat are doing well.

  • Gayla Brooks Kokel

    I’ve forwarded your kind words to Dr. Moore and his wife. I know they will appreciate what you had to say. They are great people. Thanks for posting.

  • Diane Wallace

    Not living in Oak Cliff anymore, I just happened to run across this wonderful article on Dr. Moore and his family. He delivered both of my children, Wendy and Patrick, one in 1972 and one in 1979. I guess what makes me stand out of the 6,000+ babies delivered is that I had chicken pox in my 8th month of pregnancy. I remember him looking it all up trying to find something about some other woman with that condition. He took great care of me! Even carried me to the car,  I was so sick. What a guy. Love you, Dr. Moore.
    Diane Brown Williaford Wallace

  • Danny McCammon

    Though I went to Kimball, I remember Mr. Moore behind the meat case, perfectly coifed hair and always a smile. My grandmother lived half a block away and we’d walk down to buy cuts of meat to order. These kind of places still exist in central urban areas though not so much in suburbia.

    Gayla, my sister Pat and I remember you at Kimball. Love your Oak Cliff sensibility.

  • Roger Anderson/Kimball’66

    Gayla ,
    We really enjoyed the article re: Dr. Rodney C. Moore .
    Dr. Moore delivered both my sons .
    Roger

  • Connie Ketron

    The Moore’s always allowed us to have groceries on credit while my husband was serving his internship and residency at Methodist Hospital. Our daughter Felicia also made extra money working at selling candy after school.
    I remember we owed $36.00 after we moved to San Diego and had the nicest letter from them after I sent the remainder that we owed.
    What a couple!!!

  • Mary Newton Maxwell

    Gayla, my friend. I enjoyed this article for many reasons, the least of which is that Dr Rodney Carl Moore, was my OB and Gyne (sorry if I’m making the male readers uncomfortable) until the day of his retirement and I was his last patient ! I patronize the barbeque restaurant in Glen Rose that his wife’s brother owns and keep in touch with him that way. His health is not too good, but he’s still a sweetheart. I remember when I first went to him and thought, “he’s way too cute for me to be here for this!” How I love your stories ~ Mary

  • Carla Thomas

    Moore’s Grocery ~ definitly a big part of my growing up. Stopped to get an ice cold DP everyday after school at Rosemont. The Moore’s were great. Best meat in town!

  • Terry Couch Taylor

    I went to school with Rodney’s daughter Karen all the way from Rosemont until we graduated from Sunset. What I remember most about the Moore’s is the day my great grandmother died. My mom knew I went to the store every afternoon after school before walking home. My mom had taken my brother over to see my great grandmother and found she had a stroke. Mom called the store and asked that Mrs. Moore keep me there until she could come get me. They watched over me until my mom could come get me…..

  • Carla Powers

    Loved reading about the Moore’s. I bought a pickle from Mr. Moore everyday while I was at Rosemont. I even got the whole jar of pickles for my Birthday!!! Couldn’t wait to get out of school to walk to the store. Dr. and Mrs Moore had a son Mark, who I thought was a doll!!! Mrs. Sharon Moore was also my 3rd grade teacher. She was my all time most FAVORITE teacher!!! But most important…she is so nice to my mother, who still lives in Kessler Park. Thank you for a wonderful article.

  • Marcie

    We lived down the street from the Edgefield location when I was little. I loved going after school to get a candy bar and a coke… And Mr. Moore’s sausage was awesome! I remember once he gave my dad a pigs foot for a birthday present and my sister and I thought it was the funniest thing.

  • Moore’s Grocery! Mr. and Mrs. Moore played a big part in the lives of all of us in the neighborhood. Mom would send me down to buy a “fresh fryer” when they were on sale for $.29 a pound, freshly ground hamburger, or a pound of that delicious barbecue! Mrs. Moore worked with me on improving the pronounciation of aluminum and how to choose a tomato. She was willing to take empty coke bottles and swap us a popsicle or a treasure from her candy counter. The Moores knew that money was short and would extend credit when we needed it. So many great memories and a great picture. Thanks for sharing!

  • jacquie hatton

    When I was at Rosemont in the 60’s, Mrs. Moore made sure too many of us wouldnt come in at once. I also remember a glazed ham my mother used to buy from Mr. Moore. There used to be a Jack Jenkins Chili Cook-off given by the Oak Cliff Optimist Club. We had a Jack Jenkins Memorial Cook-off and Mr. Moore participated as a judge.
    This was after he retired. Always a very nice man.

  • mickey porter

    Love these stories/articles! Reminds me of one of my favorite books “Cold Sassy Tree.”

  • Darryl Baker

    I have dozens of fond memories of Mr. and Mrs. Moore from the time they were on North Bishop at the Eagle Grocery to the time they took over the small spot on Edgefield.

    Both of them were WONDERFUL people and loved the grocery business as well as eachother. They always gave their customers more than they paid for and always had a kind word for us all.

    They typified what service and god business are all about!

    I miss them dearly!

  • Gayla Brooks Kokel

    About a book: Thanks to all of you who are, obviously, my new “customers.” I do have a plan to eventually compile the columns/stories (and re-insert some of the data I had to remove due to space limitations) and then publish. However, I need quite a few more stories to make it long enough. So….send me your suggestions and photos!

    Gayla

  • kelly

    I’d buy that book, too!

    More great info about our magical neighborhood, thanks Gayla!

  • Larry Click

    Gayla:
    Amen to Lon Oakley, Jr’s question. How about a book collecting these articles? Put me down for a dozen.
    Larry Click

  • denise klos

    I always learn something from your excellent articles. Thanks again,
    Denise

  • LON OAKLEY Jr.

    Hey lady…another great article Gayla. At what point do you put all these in a book for us to put on our family book shelves. Keep chargin’

  • Gayla Brooks Kokel

    Thanks for the great info, Bob. Yes, you’re correct. There ARE buildings and spaces all over Oak Cliff that used to be something else…and all of us (Cliffites) went there frequently. Your mom and grandma sound like spunky ladies!

    If anyone has info on a grocery store either on Cliff Street or 7th Street, close to where Canty dead-ends by Lake Cliff park, please let me know. I lived just off that corner when I was a little one, and my mom and I used to walk up to the store where she did much of her daily shopping. I think some of the Adamson alumni would know the details. It was mentioned, casually, in Lon Oakley’s book: OAK CLIFF BOYS.

  • Bob

    In my neighborhood it was Graham Grocery and Market or “Graham Gro. & Mkt.” Located on Bishop between 9th and Melba Sts, Mr. and Mrs. T. H. Graham ran the store which carried everything from fresh beef to canned goods. Every week Mr. Graham would carve up a side of beef for sale.

    My mother sent me there many, many times to pick up items including feminine products (the name of which she wouldn’t say out loud)and my grandmother sent me to buy her Honest Snuff. Of course I always got some penny candy for myself.

    The building is still there; it was an apartment the last time I was by there. Those buildings are all over the older parts of town where everyone used to walk to the store.