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Local man stays active at 90

December 28, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

In all but the worst of weather, Leroy Moore gets up early each morning and heads for the back porch of his Broadway apartment in Hagerstown to do his daily workout.

"I touch my toes and I do pushups on the handrail," Moore said.

Not a bad accomplishment for a man who turned 90 in November.

Born in Big Spring, he was one of five children. "My oldest sister is 101 and another sister is 88. Only the three of us are still alive," Moore said.

"I remember driving cattle from St. Paul to the 500-acre Hamilton estate farm behind Rest Haven Cemetery and breaking horses," Moore said. "And that was all before I was 20 years old."

After World War II, Moore went to work at Rest Haven for about a year but since there was no work in the winter, he moved on to the R. Paul Smith electric plant, where he worked for six years.

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"Then I worked for the City of Hagerstown in the parks department," Moore said. "I loved it, starting as a carpenter."

He said he also worked closely with the wildlife in Hagerstown City Park. "I kept a scrapbook on the swans," Moore said.

Often he would go out in a boat to catch whatever birds could be caught so they could be inoculated for disease.

When it was necessary, "I'd also go out and gather up dead ducks," Moore said.

His love of swans, ducks and all kinds of birds is evident in his apartment, where there is an assortment of china statues and bisque figurines.

Whenever he could, Moore would show visitors through the park.

A favorite story is how he rescued the Hagerstown City Park totem pole in the 1950s.

"It was headed for the dump but I had it reworked at the old Vo-Tech Center," Moore said.

He put in more than 25 years working for the City of Hagerstown, retiring in 1962.

Moore was married for nearly 70 years to Martha, who passed away in March. They had lived in the Broadway apartment for their last 22 years together.

They had one daughter who now lives in Winchester, Va., and one grandson. Moore, an avid outdoorsman, said he taught him how to hunt and fish.

Since March, Moore has been assisted in his daily living by Gail Colliflower. "She is my daughter's best friend and she has been wonderful," Moore said.

Colliflower comes every weekday so she can cook and clean for Moore. "She also takes me places I need to go," Moore said, noting he still has a car but has decided to give up driving.

Other residents in the apartment building pitched in with food and other things for Moore, especially after his wife died.

His constant companion since last spring has been Lady, his 1-year-old golden doodle, which Moore said is a cross between a golden retriever and a poodle.

A big fan of Christmas, Moore has his apartment beautifully decorated for the season. And there was an assortment of gifts under his Christmas tree.

Downstairs on the bannister was a sign that invited all of the residents to stop by Moore's apartment before Christmas for gifts. It is his way of saying thanks for their kindness.

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