Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What About Wallace?


You may have wondered, in all the details of Lummie Davis Moore’s recuperation from her serious fall in May, 1962, who the man was behind her relieved exclamation that, “Thank God and Wallace Moore I can take care of it myself.”

It was easy to assume that Wallace Moore was Lummie’s husband. And, from the few remarks that peppered the narrative, that he was long dead.

Then, too, in the earlier posts on this family’s life with their young daughter, Sarah Martha Moore McKinnon, we discovered that the reason they were living in Honduras was on account of his occupation with the railroads of that country.

From governmental documents, we’ve been able to glean the facts about his parentage—father named Mose Moore and mother reported to have the maiden name Sarah Good—and his birthplace in the little town in eastern Tennessee named Limestone.

I can’t, however, say I knew much about the man, himself, though. He seemed to be the quintessential invisible corporate man.

Once I realized, in transcribing those letters from Lummie to her brother Jack, that she was closing in on the date of her death, I had pulled up a copy of her death certificate from Arizona’s free online resource to check all the details. In doing that, it occurred to me that, though he was buried in Tennessee, perhaps Wallace had also died in Arizona.

I decided to try my luck at looking up his death certificate in that same website.

It was there.

I wasn’t quite prepared to learn what I saw, once I read over the details of this document. How difficult a time it must have been for Lummie.

Just to double check the details (after all, one can never be entirely sure with just one documented report), I tried my hand at finding his obituary online.

Once again, I found what I was seeking: a news report-cum-obituary confirming the details I had just learned. It was published in The Arizona Republic on Saturday, August 23, 1952. Apparently—and for no reason I’d ever be able to glean—Lummie’s husband chose, one afternoon in their home in Phoenix, to take his own life.

In addition to his wife, the only other survivor listed was his daughter, not yet married but living in Baltimore, Maryland.

How little there was to know about his life. He took his secrets with him.
            The body of Wallace Moore, 76, who was found dead with a bullet wound in his head in his home Thursday, will be taken to Erwin, Tenn., for funeral services and burial.
            Sheriff's deputies said investigation indicated that Mr. Moore had committed suicide. He lived at 5319 N. Seventh Ave.
            Born in Limestone, Tenn., Mr. Moore came to Phoenix about two years ago. He had lived in Honduras for 30 years and was a retired superintendent of the mechanical department of the United Fruit Co. there.
            Survivors include his wife, Lumie, of Phoenix, and a daughter, Miss Sarah Martha Moore, of Baltimore, Md.

6 comments:

  1. Too bad for Wallace. I wonder what was so horrible that he preferred to miss out on another ten years with this cheerful woman.

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    1. That's what makes me wonder about secrets...

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  2. After a life full of adventure - he may have felt "cast aside" when he retired - and "stuck in a sterile place" (sorry Phoenix, you haven't much charm). He might have started drinking (more) to ease the hurt and/or boredom.

    From the death certificate - he was in Phoenix for only 20 months (if I read it right) - I would bet his "life style" change didn't agree with him.

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    1. That's as well-reasoned an argument as can be constructed on his behalf, I'm afraid, Iggy. You make a good point. And I can't think of any climate as divergent from the humid tropical coastline (at least for humidity) as Arizona.

      But somehow, I wonder if there was more...

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  3. Poor Lumie one never knows and usually people don't speak of it. Thank God and Wallace...usually life insurance companies don't pay for a suicide. But he may have left her well off anyway.

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    1. I rather suspect he did, Far Side. I've never been one for researching probate documentation and reading wills, but in this case, I am tempted to see if it would reveal any indication of just how successful he was in his life's work.

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