The city of D'Iberville lost one of its founding fathers and a caring visionary Friday with the passing of Thomas J. Moore Jr.
With the exception of four years he attended Southern Miss, and two more when he worked in Louisiana, the 72-year-old Moore was a lifetime resident of the city he helped nurture into its present footing as one of the Coast's up-and-coming regions.
"And he doesn't mind telling anybody that, too," said his wife of 48 years, Delores, said laughing. "He's really proud that he had a hand in getting it started.
"D'Iberville was everything for Tom."
Moore was on the city's incorporation committee and played an integral part in giving D'Iberville a jump-start in 1988. He served as councilman of Ward 1 for 10 years. One of his sons, Tom Moore III, said his father always saw the best in D'Iberville and has been tickled to see what the city has become.
"It meant to Daddy that the city was establishing itself where it could be on its own," his son said. "That meant a lot to him because he saw the future. This past year, he had cancer but he was able to see what was going on and said he could not believe what it has become. He said he was real proud of it."
In addition to serving D'Iberville politically, Moore was an educator, spent time in the banking industry and was a lifelong member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, among numerous accomplishments and activities.
"There's so much that he did, you'd have to take a full-page ad on what this man has done for the community," Mayor Rusty Quave said. " He saw the vision of D'Iberville being the city of what it is today. We owe Tom and his family a lot for the contributions of the development of D'Iberville."
City Manager Bobby Eleuterius, who has known Moore since 1959, echoed Quave's sentiments.
"He loved D'Iberville with all of his heart," he said. "He was D'Iberville through and through."
Fought the good fight
Equipped with a wonderful sense of humor and determination, Moore never let his battle with pancreatic cancer detract from time with his family and friends. All the way until Friday, he believed he was going to come out on top because he didn't know how to fail.
"He fought a good fight," said his son. "Most of the people who have that pass away within a few months. He fought it for 10 whole months and thought he was going to beat it."
Moore is also survived by sons James and Michael, and five grandchildren, his sister, Johnetta Moore Fayard, brother, George, and sister-in-law, Yvonne Gulotta.
Moore's visitation will be Monday from 6 to 9 p.m. with a rosary at 7 p.m. at the Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home in Biloxi.
Mass will be Tuesday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in D'Iberville at 11 a.m., with visitation at 9 a.m. Moore will be buried at the Biloxi City Cemetery.
The city will fly its flags at half-staff Monday in his honor, Eleuterius said.