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Life’s journey is better through the power of faith

She died on St. Patrick’s Day, but I don’t think she was Irish.

About the only link I can find between Jennifer Moore and the Patron Saint of Ireland is that she made us all “green” with envy due to her strong and dedicated work ethic as well as her love of all people.

I can say without a single doubt that if it had not had been for Jennifer Moore, I wouldn’t be where I am today as the editor of this newspaper.

When I first expressed an interest in newspaper journalism, it was the likes of Jennifer – along with the late Ramona Goode and the late Laura Harrell – who encouraged me. Ramona and Laura may have been more refined in their skills and the “nuts and bolts” journalistic advice they shared, but it was Jennifer who allowed me to believe in myself. She saw something in me that I couldn’t see early in my career.

Jennifer was already a fixture here at the News-Herald when I first started as a part-time employee in 1972.

As noted by one of her family members at Saturday afternoon’s wake, Jennifer’s start in the newspaper business (in the 1960’s) was in classifieds before joining the newsroom.

“They gave her a camera to cover something in Murfreesboro and she became a reporter. Back then you learned how the other departments did their work,” said her daughter, Lynn.

Ditto! That’s also how I learned the business. I came to the News-Herald when I was a student at what was then Chowan College. One of my professors informed me of a part-time opening in the offset camera room at the Herald. I applied and got the job.

If the work flow slowed, you went and found something else to do. For me, I picked up skills in platemaking and in the pressroom before one day sticking my head into the newsroom. Among my first writing duties was covering high school sports, which eventually led to serving as Sports Editor from 1989-2000. I was offered the News Editor’s job in 2000 and then was promoted to Editor in 2005. I was prepared to take those steps because of Jennifer’s wisdom and advice.

After retiring from the News-Herald, there was no rocking chair for Jennifer. She had always been active in the Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce and now with extra time on her hands she filled the role as its Executive Director, working well into her 80’s.

Jennifer was part of the foundation on which the mega-successful North Carolina Watermelon Festival was built. She got this newspaper involved in that now 36-year-old event in Murfreesboro and we haven’t missed a single one (except last year when COVID derailed the festival…like it did everything else).

Jennifer’s life also centered on her family…her now late husband, Ivan, and son, Terry; along with daughters Lynn and Lisa, and another son, Tom. That family grew to include grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Her busy hands and mind always had room for one more love in life….Jesus Christ. Jennifer joined Murfreesboro Baptist Church in 1954 and was its oldest member (97) at the time of her death.

Current day Murfreesboro Baptist Pastor, the Rev. Lane Bass, praised Jennifer’s devotion to the church, saying she rarely missed a Sunday service until her health began to fail approximately three to four years ago. He marveled at her work ethic and boundless energy, even as the birthdays began to pile up. He said Jennifer always sought to perform the tasks at hand, no matter how great or small, and that she was a stickler for the details. She helped in the church kitchen, serving meals at various events, and always fixed snacks for the volunteers who showed up monthly at the church to help stage the food drives.

At Saturday’s wake, one of her family members talked about Jennifer’s strength and independence, saying she lived alone on her own terms….cooked, cleaned, and ran errands even when her eyesight began to fail.

The time finally arrived for Jennifer to give up that independence and go live with her daughter in Suffolk. And, as the daughter said, “she went on her own terms; she knew it was time.”

You can always learn of the impact a person has on someone’s life by reading the condolences on the funeral home’s website. Here’s a sampling of what people are saying about Jennifer Moore:

“I remember meeting Jennifer the first time during one of the first watermelon festivals and she was always such a sweet and kind person to know.”

“Jennifer was such a kind and generous person, with her time and many talents.”

“Such a sweet, smart, funny and gracious lady she was. Not a July 4th goes by that at least one of us brings up memories of The Moores.”

“Jennifer lived her life to the fullest and was an inspiration to those who knew her.”

“A woman of great strength, independence, and intelligence, never slowing down in life, one of a kind.”

As correctly detailed during her funeral service, it was her faith that led Jennifer to become a warm and caring wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother.

That faith also allowed Jennifer to be recognized as a trusted and well-respected reporter – and later, editor, of what is now the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

It was also because of her faith that she gave freely of herself to better her community and her church.

And it’s that faith which, on Wednesday of last week, carried her straight past St. Peter, no questions asked, and through the Pearly Gates into the arms of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Rest in peace my friend….we’ve got it from here.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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