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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