Farewell to a Friend
It is with a very sad heart that I write in memory of a friend and mentor. We are all the poorer for the passing of a great Scout and Scouter, Tom Moore.
General Thomas Joseph Moore passed away on Friday, September 28th, 2018 at the age of 80. His Scouting career spanned 70 years and two continents.
A Scout's Scout
Tom joined the BSA in September of 1947 when he was 9 years old. He started as a Cub Scout with Pack 66 out of Fort Bliss in the Yucca Council. Tom’s Dad, like Tom himself, was a military man and Tom grew up in many different locales. In 1950, he moved to Norfolk, Virginia and became a member of Pack 59. As a Webelo, he earned Cub Scouting’s highest award, the Arrow of Light.
He then bridged to Troop 59, also with the Tidewater Council and earned his Tenderfoot and Second Class Scout ranks. In 1951, he headed overseas and continued Scouting with Troop 43 out of Salzburg, Austria, with the EUCOM Council. In Austria, he earned the ranks of First Class, Star, and Life and served as Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, and Den Chief. In July of 1953, he was inducted into the Black Eagle Lodge of the Order of the Arrow.
Shortly thereafter, Tom returned to Fort Bliss and the Yucca Council, joining Troop and Explorer Post 6. He earned his Eagle Scout rank, with 24 merit badges, on May 5th, 1954, two months shy of his 16th birthday. He also served again as SPL and as a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. He was a member of the Gila Lodge of the OA. (As a Scouter, Tom was inducted into the Tribe of Mic-O-Say in July 2007, with the name of Sings with Pipe. This, doubtless, honored his avocation of many years, playing the bagpipes.)
In 1960, as a cadet at West Point, Tom volunteered at the National Jamboree in Colorado Springs, Colorado, celebrating Scouting’s 50th year in the United States. A wonderful compliment to this was his attendance at the National Jamboree in 2010, at Ft. AP Hill, Virginia. This event celebrated Scouting’s 100th year in the U.S.A.
Tom had a long and successful career with the US Army. After he retired, he returned to his Scouting roots, serving the Verdugo Hills Council of Tujunga, California in a number of positions, including Advancement Chair of the Foothill district. In 2004, he received the Bronze Pelican award.
Tom was an avid camper as well. As a Scout, he participated in summer camps at the Darden Scout Reservation in Virginia, The 1951 World Jamboree in Bad Ischl, Austria, the EUCOM Scout Camp, Fussen, Germany, and Camp Baldy, in Texas. He continued to camp actively as a Scouter. In California, he attended Camp Trask, Camp Mataquey, and Camp Whitsett (all with Troop 307). In Texas, he attended SId Richardson Scout Ranch and Camp Geiger with Troop 451.
A Scouter's Scouter
The majority of Troop 451’s 125 Eagle Scouts earned their award under Tom’s careful guidance. Tom loved seeing young men earn their Eagle awards and I believe Tom shepherded about 85 of our Scouts through the Eagle process. Surely, the work that earned those Scouts their Eagle rank was all the boys’ own but those timely reminders of looming deadlines, among other support, made the difference for many a young man. His regard for the Scouts was returned - ten boys awarded him their Eagle Mentor pin.
As much as he loved guiding Scouts to Eagle, perhaps his favorite role in Scouting was as a counselor for Ad Altari Dei and Pope Pius XII religious emblems. He supported 58 Scouts in earning these emblems, including many of our Troop 451 Scouts. In fact, Tom was so avid a supporter of these awards that he trained 44 Ad Altare Dei and 12 Pope Pius XII emblem Counselors.
Tom was not alone in helping our Scouts, of course, but he took the lead in many areas and had a substantial impact on our Scouts and on our troop. When, after many years of service, the time came for Tom to pass on the mantle of Eagle Advisor, he trained Patrick Martin to ensure continuity of support for our Scouts. Patrick, in turn, trained Dennis Goodrich. Tom’s legacy as Eagle Advisor lives on through his successors who continue his legacy of service to our Scouts.
During his tenure as a Scout and Scouter, the Boy Scouts of America embraced many changes as our World changed around us. I know Tom would not have made many of those changes, were they his to make, yet he remained a loyal Scouter and a friend to our troop despite changes he did not always feel were for the better.
From March of 2006 until May of 2015, Tom served as our Chartered Organization Representative when we were chartered by the Knights of Columbus. In that role of COR, Tom provided leadership and guidance to our troop leaders. He often served as our troop’s “Scouting conscience,” reminding us of fundamental principles and objectives if he felt we were straying from them. He believed that in every decision our troop committee made, we must keep the boys first in mind. Our decisions were the better for his careful comments and input. After May of 2015, Tom continued to serve on our Troop 451 Committee.
Tom’s service to Scouting went far beyond his work with Troop 451. He served Scouts in California and in other roles here in Texas. He received many awards in recognition of his dedication and accomplishment. As a youth, he earned Scouting’s highest award -the Eagle badge, the same award that he helped so many others earn. Perhaps his greatest recognition as a Scouter came in March 2005 when he received the Saint George Emblem from the Catholic Committee on Scouting. This award recognized his service to Scouts in California. Tom’s wife, Barbara received this award in December 2015.
I could go on and on about Tom’s awards but to me, what mattered most is that he was a friend. He was a great mentor too, when I became Committee Chair. Much of my knowledge of Scout policies and procedures comes from his thoughtful tutelage. I have been a more effective leader of our troop owing to his support.
I am grateful I had the opportunity to visit with him and Barbara a couple of weeks ago. I shall miss him terribly.
Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.
Robert Louis Stevenson