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“Kind, Thoughtful, and a Gentleman”

By Ron Barry

For the first time since the West Tennessee Healthcare Sportsplex opened in 2006, we will begin a weekend tournament without the physical presence of Umpire-in-Chief and local community sports icon Terry Moore.

We received the stunning news Tuesday morning that Terry had been found dead in his home, just hours after supervising a night of Little League play here.  Conversations with Terry on Monday, before the rest of us left for the evening, were “normal.”  There was no indication of the malady that would befall him.  As I was leaving to go work out at The Lift, he told me, “Man, it sure is gonna get cold out here tonight when this sun goes down.”  I didn’t foresee that the morning news would be even colder.

We all went to his funeral today (April 20), where boyhood friend Andy Hall reminded us how crazy “Mo” could be when he wanted to.  Sportsplex Director of Operations Ricky Yates related how friendly Terry was – more on that in a minute – and Pastor Mike Davis said, “There are three words I heard most often when people were reminiscing about Terry: he was kind, he was thoughtful, and he was a gentleman.”

Well, amen, Preacher – I’ll vouch for all three in my experience.

As Yates pointed out to the gathered crowd, we have about 250 part-time seasonal workers at the Sportsplex, from umpires and scorekeepers (who were directly under Moore’s supervision) to gatekeepers, concession workers, groundskeepers, runners, gift shop workers, cooks, cart drivers, and the like.  “Give Terry a couple of weekends,” Yates said, “and he’d probably know all their names.  He didn’t have to do this – but it was who he is.”  Yates saluted his lifelong friend wonderfully, citing a servant’s heart that was evident to all.

And that servant’s heart is what I’ll miss most of all.  Terry and I often joked about any number of things: baseball (Yates’s and his beloved St. Louis Cardinals, my beloved Detroit Tigers, Office Manager Ryan Blake’s beloved Atlanta Braves, etc.), food, schedules, his wife Tana’s flea market adventures, the kinds of things umpires deal with, going home occasionally to “let his dogs out,” and the weather (way too often – the weather!).  In between his sentences, he was always looking around – not because he didn’t want to look me in the eyes, but because he was always trying to be aware of ways in which he could help anybody in the vicinity.  That was Terry in a nutshell: the servant.

He did things for us at the Sportsplex that went far beyond his expected duties.  He didn’t just schedule umpires and scorekeepers, and supervise them – he looked out for them, mentored them, made them (and us) better people.  Is there a higher calling on Earth than that?

I don’t think so.  And when you’ve fulfilled the highest calling – well, maybe that’s why his Lord called him home.

Terry Moore’s physical presence won’t be at the Sportsplex anymore.  But I sincerely pray Terry Moore’s spiritual presence helps guide everything we continue to do here, because none of us will ever find a better role model.  Godspeed, Mo.