Catherine Elizabeth “Betty” Moore

Published 11:05 am Friday, May 18, 2012

PENDLETON – Catherine Elizabeth “Betty” Moore, 83, whose career was devoted to exposing students to literature and a love of writing, died peacefully in her sleep May 8, 2012 in Matthews, NC.

A longtime professor of English at North Carolina State University, as well as accomplished artist and avid reader, she was born May 7, 1929, in Leslie, Georgia, where she spent her early childhood. Her family moved to Myrtle Beach in 1940, where her father, Jefferson Moore, entered the construction business. His company built many buildings in the area, including the Myrtle Beach Pavilion. During World War II the family lived in the shuttered Ocean Forest Hotel.

At Meredith College, where she was known as “Betty,” she was an accomplished and active student, serving as editor of the Acorn and a member of the Colton English Club and the Little Theatre, and appearing on the Dean’s List multiple times. After graduating in 1950, having majored in art and minored in English, she received her Ph.D. in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, completing a dissertation on the English poet and essayist Anna Laetitia Barbauld.

Betty began her teaching career at Chowan College in Murfreesboro and taught at Rollins Collins in Winter Park, Florida, and Shorter College in Rome, Georgia, before joining the faculty at N.C. State. Though her expertise was in 18th century literature, she took a special interest in honing the writing skills of entering freshmen and was named co-director of Freshmen English Composition. Betty dedicated herself far beyond professors’ obligatory office hours to tutoring students who struggled with the concepts she sought to convey in the classroom. For this work, she was honored with the N.C. State’s Outstanding Teaching Award and Meredith’s Distinguished Alumnae Award in 1985.

Betty traveled widely in Europe and counted her colleagues at N.C. State, where she remained 27 years, among her dearest friends. She was an active member of Raleigh’s Anne Hathaway Book Club and Pullen Memorial Baptist Church.

A devotee of the great works of literature and a staunch advocate of eloquence and precision in speech and writing, Betty also indulged a passion for murder mysteries and the original Star Trek television series.

Asked at one point what academic achievement had been most gratifying, she replied, “I am most proud of the hundreds of students who left an imprint on my life and who now thrive and serve in their own worlds.”

Thrive and serve is what she did, as well, upon retirement to Pendleton.

Betty maintained her longstanding membership in Raleigh’s oldest book club and kept a close association with her former N.C. State colleagues. She served as a member of Chowan University’s Board of Trustees and was named the first female deacon at Pendleton’s Roberts Chapel Baptist Church, where she taught Sunday school and sang in the choir. She returned to her first love of art, attending painting workshops with friends and frequently exhibiting her work, which included keenly observed, evocative watercolors of rural North Carolina scenes.

She was preceded in death by her father, Jefferson Davis Moore; mother, Catherine Lawton Moore; and sister, Constance Moore Barr.

She is survived by nephew Harry Shields Barr III (Deannie) of Matthews, NC; nephew Jefferson Moore Barr (Lisa) of Ship Bottom, NJ; a beloved great-niece, Constance Olivia Barr; and brother-in-law Harry Shields Barr Jr. (Katherine) of Charlotte; as well as many cousins.

A memorial service will be held at Roberts Chapel Baptist Church in Pendleton at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 27.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Roberts Chapel Baptist Church, 2617 Britton Road, Pendleton, NC 27862, or to Chowan University, Visual Arts Fund, One University Place, Murfreesboro, NC 27855.