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Chase City says farewell to Dr. Earle Moore

South Boston News
Friends and colleagues of Dr. Earle Moore and Janice Moore gathered this week at the Estes Center in Chase City to pay tribute to the couple. The Moores are relocating to Florida with the retirement of Moore, a physician and community leader for four decades in town. Speakers at the retirement event hailed his contributions to local medicine and to civic ventures such as the Estes Community Center, which he helped to establish. Moore (center) is flanked by the banquet speakers: from left, Halifax Regional Health System president Chris Lumsden, Dr. Randall Suslick (a colleague at Chase City Family Practice), Carol Thomas and Ken Morgan. / February 05, 2014

One of Chase City’s most accomplished and beloved citizens, Dr. Earle W. Moore, retired fom Chase City Family Practice on January 31 after many years of diligent service healing the sick and ailing. On Thursday, members of the community and colleagues with Halifax Regional Health System feted Moore and his wife, Janice, for one last time.

The Moores will move to sunny Fort Myers, Fla., and at long last catch up on much-needed rest and relaxation. After serving the community for 40 long years, Moore said he is ready for retirement.

Moore enjoys gardening: “I like flowers. I hope in retirement that I can grow orchids. I used to hunt but I don’t anymore. I still play golf. I play a little tennis. Golfing is what I hope to do a lot of when in retirement,” he said, adding that “my wife says it’s time for us to see a little bit more of each other.”

“I have a very strong relationship with God, through His son Jesus Christ. I think for the last 35 years I have had a daily walk with Him. I go hand in hand with Him every day. I communicate with Him every day. I read the Bible every day. I pray every day. And I think that’s one of the reasons that I have such a successful career here in Chase City,” said Moore.

Among his many good deeds, Moore served the community on Chase City Town Council for 16 years, working with former Mayor Charles Duckworth to bring jobs and industry to the town.

“We worked together on a number of projects, and I thought he was a good mayor, and that we did a lot for the town. But Charles was the driving force in most of those activities,” Moore said.

On his watch, Moore and colleagues helped bring jobs to Chase City when the Lowe’s Foods Shopping Center was built. Although Lowes closed a few years ago, the center now boasts the new Roses Express department store, Chan’s Garden Chinese Restaurant and Springleaf Financial Services. Following Mayor Duckworth’s lead, Moore and the rest of Town Council helped to establish an industrial park, revitalize several parts of the town, and beautify the downtown district.

“Of course, there were a lot of other projects that were not directly related to the town [council] that we accomplished, including the new Chase City Family Practice medical clinic, the Butler Memorial Library, the Chase City Rescue Squad building number one and number two, the revitalization of the town’s civic auditorium, and a senior citizens community center located on Fifth Street,” Moore said.

“Charles and I got together and we put that community center up on Fifth Street for the senior citizens. And we raised the money and had that building erected. And I was on the board of directors of that community center and helped them sustain the funding to put that building up, and as soon as the building was completed then I resigned from the board because my job was done,” Moore said.

Another accomplishment of Moore’s has been serving on the board of trustees of the MacCallum More Museum and Gardens (MMMG). He has served as treasurer from 1993 to the present. He has been on the board of trustees since the historic attraction first formed in 1984, helping in the development of its relatively new and beautifully built museum constructed by contractor Donald “Buck” Moore. “He did a great job,” Dr. Moore said. “The expansion of the museum and gardens was a huge accomplishment.”

Moore also was one of the founding fathers of Chase City’s Estes Community Center. The downtown complex brings teaching and administration jobs to the community, with Southside Virginia Community College (SVCC) offering instruction and associates degrees in fields from nursing to cosmetology. The Estes Center offers accredited classes that are transferable to any four-year public college in Virginia, including in Biology, English, Teaching, Phlebotomy and Mathematics. Students can also obtain a free General Education Diploma (GED), raising the quality of life for all citizens of Chase City and the surrounding areas. People can go to the Estes Center to pursue their education beyond high school, whether it’s with the aim of moving on to a four-year college or simply to experience the pure enjoyment of learning.

Moore, acting as president of the Chase City Community Services, Inc. (CCCSI) which owns the building and property, helped fund, build and establish the Estes Community Center located right on the town’s Main Street.

“Back in 1992 Jimmy Garland, Bob Jordan and I decided that we needed a community center. From that initial conversation a lot of things happened over the years. Bob Jordan and Jimmy Garland were always there and very helpful with their suggestions.

“In the initial days, I guess I was kind of the driving force that got it all started and did all the fundraising. I didn’t give all the money. I gave plenty. But I certainly wasn’t the largest donor,” he said.

An early backer of the project was J. Lawson Jones, who gave $2,000 after he read in the newspaper that Chase City leaders were lining up behind SVCC’s plans to build a distance learning center in Chase City.

“Believe it or not, we (the CCCSI) bought 13 properties including stores, pieces of land and so forth in the process of putting up the Estes Community Center, and also the parking lot,” recalled Moore. It required 13 different real estate transactions to make it all happen: “It took a lot of time. Really, Wayne Crump who was on the board of the Estes Community Center for a number of years was the main driver in the acquisitions of the property. I had very little to do with that, but Wayne was on the board and he took care of most of that,” Dr. Moore said.

Later, “I became president of the board of the Estes Center. At that time there was no Estes Center. In other words, we had an empty building on Main Street but nothing had been done ... That’s when the fundraising began. Now we have almost, basically, an eight million dollar building if you take into account the furnishings, all the computers and all the equipment.

“So in 1997, when Edwin Estes gave us a challenge gift, that is when the fun began. Be cause then it was a challenge to raise money to pay for each new phase ... It took a lot of money raising to accomplish all of that over a period of about ten years,” Moore said.

Moore created a scholarship to give out each year to the most outstanding student completing the Practical Nursing program. The scholarship carries a monetary reward of $250. “It’s not a lot. I wish I could give more,” he said.

When asked how hard it is to become a doctor, he explained it was a real struggle: “Of course you have to get good grades in high school to get in college. And you have to get extremely good grades in college to get into medical school. And medical school was four years, and it’s about an 80 hour a week job getting through with classroom work and then studying after class. It’s a very, very tough regimen, and then after you get out of medical school you’ve got three years of residency, which is being on staff at the hospital learning your particular specialty.”

Moore said he changed career paths many times before deciding to become a doctor. “When I graduated from the University of Richmond I got a regular Army commission from the Reserved Officer Training Corps (ROTC), because I graduated second in my class and that’s what I thought I was going to do,” he said. “I was going to be a Ranger and I was going to aspire to be the rank of General!” For fun, he said, he applied to medical school, as a lark, just to see what would happen: “I luckily got admitted to medical school and then I changed my plans and turned down my regular Army commission and now the rest is history,” he recalled.

Even though Moore has reached the lofty age of being recognized as a senior citizen — he will be 71 years old on March 5 — he isn’t taking his advanced age lying down. He has some interesting plans. He and his wife yearn to see the world. “I want to go to Alaska. I want to go to Tahiti. I want to go to Europe again. I want to go across Canada on the railroad. I want to take the Orient Express again all the way to the Black Sea, which goes from Amsterdam to Istanbul,” he said sitting at his desk while looking up at the ceiling dreamily. When asked how he had the money to travel to all of those places, he replied simply, “well you know, you save up a little dime here, a dollar there (to) make it happen.”

As for the move to Fort Myers, Moore explained: “It’s closer to my kids. I have a daughter in Miami (Joy) and I have a daughter in Atlanta (Tiffany) which is about the same distance, basically, but closer to the one in Miami,” Moore said.

Moore confessed that the first ten or fifteen years he was in Chase City, he was a real workaholic. But after that he said he really reorganized his priorities.

Even so, friends like Charles Duckworth note that Moore has often been seen walking around town, particularly up on Academy Lane, which is now known as Dodd Street. Duckworth says he’s spotted Moore on “Boyd Street from Fifth to Second Streets around the First Baptist Church, the playground and around the community center humbling picking up trash.”

“I did it yesterday, Saturday,” noted Moore. “I just do it myself. A lot of times when the water is nice, after I leave work I’ll just circle down by the playground and just clean the playground up and I might do that four or five times a week, in good weather. It sort of helps wind me down at the end of the day.

“It’s a fact that God has led me through life, from childhood actually. But I didn’t know it until I was in my thirties. And he led me to Chase City and called me here as a physician. When I realized that — that I was here because He put me here — I was very comfortable with my practice here in town. When I realized that He was guiding my life, that’s when I became very close to Him, and have been really close to Him ever since,” he explains.

Moore has faithfully attended the First Baptist Church of Chase City since moving here in the 1970s. There he has served as named a deacon, has taught the adult Sunday school class and has sung in the choice for as long as he has lived here.

When asked what he will miss most in retirement, Moore points to his patients: “I will miss em. I see 30 or 40 of my friends every day and get to talk with them about their life, their families, their dreams, their aspirations, their frustrations, their problems, and that’s what I’m going to miss most,” he stated.

He and Janice don’t expect to cut their ties to the community immediately: “We are going to spend the summers here until I can sell my house in Chase City,” he said.

“Words cannot express how much I have enjoyed taking care of you all, and the community for the last 40 years. It has been an honor and a privilege,” said Moore.

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