ST. LOUIS – Celebrations of the life and legacy of the late Fourth Ward Alderman Sam Moore have begun, and funeral services have been set.
There will be two memorial services: one for civil servants and one for the general public. Both will take place at Williams Temple Church of God in Christ (1500 N. Union Blvd.), Moore’s former church home.
A civic ceremony for dignitaries to pay their respects will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 7. For the general public, a wake will be held the following day, Sunday, again from 4 to 6 p.m. Funeral services will begin immediately following the wake.
Moore will be buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery on March 9.
Moore’s fellow aldermanic faction began celebrating his political life and legacy Friday during the general Board of Aldermen meeting at City Hall.
Because of illness, the outspoken Moore hadn’t been present at the meetings for some time, but on Friday his empty seat and absence were more pronounced and excused.
“We ask that you pardon or forgive and have mercy on the soul of our beloved brother Sam Moore,” Iman Jihad Mu’min said in the opening prayer.
“We pray his good deeds outweigh his bad deeds and that you grant him paradise. … We ask that you give his family what is needed that they may get over this grief ..,” prayed Mu’min, a member of the Al Mu’minun Islamic Center mosque at 1435 N. Grand Blvd.
BOA President Lewis Reed said that it had been a tough week for board members with the loss of their “brother, friend and colleague” and that his passing was a “big, tough loss for the entire city.”
Reed’s expression of sorrow was followed by a moment of silence in the aldermanic chambers.
On Moore’s desk still sat his name plate and an African cloth. In his chair sat a large, framed photo of him sitting in the mobile cart in which he patrolled his Fourth Ward.
Many aldermen took stands on the chamber floor to express sentiments and personal experiences with Moore.
Some talked through tears, some laughed, recalling his sense of humor and retelling his jokes.
Most of them spoke about Moore’s unwavering, staunch and courageous commitment to his ward, constituents, community and city and urged others to serve by his example.
“He was a warrior for change and uplifting black people, and it’s my hope – because I get tired of all of the divisions – that all of us who truly loved him and cared about what he stood for, can work together,” Fifth Ward Alderwoman Tammika Hubbard said.
“He didn’t have any allegiance to anybody; his allegiance was to his community and to the people who elected him to lead; and whatever he had to do to deliver something, he did that,” Hubbard continued.
Hubbard also made mention of Moore’s discovery of and stance against bricks’ being stolen off of homes in his ward, something he fought against for years.
On his Twitter page, along with designating himself as a proud Sumner High School alum, he described himself as “the bald man who loves bricks.”
Coincidentally, Moore was a carpenter by trade and his father a brick layer.
“He stood for the brick, and I stand here before you today, saying that brick by brick, I’m going to carry his legacy,” Hubbard said.
However, she did not say whether that meant backing off of the controversial naming of a hospital in her ward after Homer G. Phillips, something Moore was against.
“He made it clear that he didn’t that hospital to take the ‘Homer G.’ name,” Fourth Ward Committeewoman Dwin Evans said at a recent monthly ward meeting, when the topic came up.
Evans attended the board of aldermen’s meeting on Friday and a balloon release on Saturday.
Reed said Moore had told him that Evans was his choice for successor, and also had given Reed a list of other people and of things he would like to see carried out. Moore also gave Reed a list of people whom he wanted to stay out of his ward, the aldermanic president said.
At Moore’s birthday party last year, his friend James Buchanan, St. Louis Development Corporation’s economic development district manager, called Moore a shepherd who always sounded the horn when “wolves” were in the community.
Acknowledging and adhering to Moore’s long-sighted, visionary prowess regarding the ward, Reed said at Friday’s BOA meeting: “If we want to honor his wishes, he said he wanted to see Dwin in that seat. He looked me in the eye and told me several times: That’s what he wanted.”
City Comptroller Darlene Green attended that meeting along with other elected officials including Treasurer Tishaura Jones, License Collector Mavis Thompson, and Missouri state Reps. Wiley “Chip” Price IV and Rasheen Aldridge.
Green, who gave a personal testimony about Moore, also reminded Reed that the celebrated alderman had told him to work with her.
“He’s looking down on the beautiful north St. Louis city that he told you to work with me about,” Green said smiling and looking around at Reed.
Though Moore, a former boxer, governed toughly, she said, he was the “gentleman of the Board of Aldermen,” who brought class to it. She added that knowing him had been one of her greatest joys.
Moore himself as well as others often called the veteran alderman “the governor of north St. Louis.”
“When people said, ‘That’s the governor,’ it makes you feel differently about where you live, who you are and who you can be,” young Third Ward Alderman Brandon Bosley said of Moore, who was also known as the singing alderman.
Bosley noted that Moore, whom he called a “real man,” had often talked to him about violence. Because Moore cared about violence, and teddy bears are often placed at homicide sites, Bosley plans to set up a teddy bear with memorabilia to honor Moore.
Bosley asked that members of the BOA bring in memorabilia related to Moore; Bosley said he would fill the teddy bear with all of the memorabilia and place it somewhere in the chambers to remember the beloved alderman.At the balloon release on Saturday morning, family, constituents and dignitaries paid homage to Moore near Sumner High School, which he had fought to keep open. He was instrumental in getting its new Tuskegee Airman Football Field.
After balloons and white doves were released to the sky, one of his 13 siblings said, “Sam has ran his final campaign. He has finished his course.”
Then, in the words of Moore, who loved children, she said, “Each one, teach one, our families are our future.”