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Obituary: James Joseph Moore, Jr.

James Joseph Moore, Jr., 86, of West Hartford, CT, died peacefully on Dec. 7, surrounded by his loving family. Known affectionately as “The Chief” to all who loved him, he was a lifelong educator, beloved for his wry humor, quiet passions, graceful athleticism -- and, above all, for the remarkable toasts, graces, and speeches that marked every family gathering, causing everyone to reach for tissues when the familiar sheaf of yellow lined pages appeared.

Dr. Moore grew up in Oyster Bay and attended St. Dominic High School, where he was class president, editor of the school newspaper and star pitcher for the baseball team. He played semi-pro baseball after high school, and earned an invitation to try out for the Philadelphia Phillies, but opted instead to attend Manhattan College and pursue his dream of becoming an educator. Thereafter, he earned his master’s degree from Hofstra University, and his Ed.D from St. John’s University in 1967.  

After becoming a classroom teacher and principal in Glen Cove, he had the opportunity to participate in a progressive educational project run by the Harvard School of Education in the Lexington, MA, school district. This program, which ran for six consecutive summers, had a defining effect on his educational philosophies, and inspired his move to West Hartford in 1967, where he joined the public school system as Director of Instruction. Throughout his career in the West Hartford Public Schools, he maintained his focus on teachers and the classroom, working as Director of Curriculum and Staff Development, and Director of Personnel. When asked to describe his work, he would always say he loved “teaching teachers how to teach.”  In his final professional years, he was delighted to return to the school setting, working as principal of Morley Elementary School. After leaving WHPS, he continued his advocacy for teaching through work with Capitol Region Education Council (CREC), and the University of St. Joseph School of Education.  

He is survived by his beloved wife and partner Winnie, with whom he created a passionate, vibrant sense of family.  He also leaves six children and their families: James and Susan Moore, of Athens, GA; Michael and Colleen Moore of Stamford, CT; Winnie and Greg Carey of Holliston, MA; Mary-Alice Moore and Chris McAleese of Fairfield, CT;  Kevin Moore of New London, CT; and Patrice and Larry Vogt of Chatham, NJ.; 12 grandchildren and  three great-grandchildren. The Moores were members of St. Peter Claver Church in West Hartford, where Jim enjoyed the quiet personal ritual of attending daily morning mass.  

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools,  For online condolences and directions please visit