Joseph "J. T." Moore Jr. '49 July 10, 2023 12:26 PM updated: July 10, 2023 12:39 PM
Joseph Tatum Moore, Jr.
April 11, 1928 - July 3, 2023
Joseph Tatum ("J.T.") Moore, Jr. passed away peacefully on July 3, 2023 in Dallas, Texas at the age of 95 surrounded by his loving family.
Born in Pecos, Texas on April 11, 1928 to Joseph Tatum Moore, Sr. and Mary Somes Moore, J.T. grew up in Balmorhea, Texas on a working ranch and farm.
After graduating as valedictorian of Balmorhea High School, he set off for Aggieland, joining the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M University. A&M, a school that J.T. would love proudly and support generously his whole life, was the beneficiary of a scholarship fund that he established that continues to support future Aggies. He always joked that when he graduated from A&M and then went to the University of Texas School of Law, his UT fraternity brothers never fully trusted him, wary of his primary allegiance to their rival maroon and white.
It was on a blind date at an A&M party, when J.T. met Betty Jane McCarthy. They both said that it was love at first sight, and they married three years later on September 11, 1951 in Monahans, Texas. The next day the newlyweds drove back to the University of Texas to register for their classes, he for his last semester of Law School and she for her last semester of undergrad. He said they started their life together with all of their belongings in their used car and $500 in the bank.
Soon after graduation, J.T. served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Bliss, El Paso. At Fort Bliss, he employed his legal talents as defense counsel for criminally charged servicemen. In 1953, he was deployed to Korea where he served as a first lieutenant in a field artillery battery.
Upon his return from Korea, J.T. and Betty Jane settled in West Texas, first in Balmorhea and later in Pecos. J.T. practiced law briefly in Pecos but soon traded his lawyer's suit for a pair of Levis and boots and entered into a farming and ranching partnership with his father in 1955, a business that he loved and that lasted for over twenty years. Always the entrepreneur, J.T. and his best friend, R.B. McGowen, bought controlling interest in The First National Bank of Pecos in 1965, adding "bank president" to the growing list of hats that JT would wear throughout his life. He loved and supported his community and served as president of the Pecos Valley Country Club and as president and longtime member of the Pecos Rotary Club.
J.T. and Betty Jane retired to Dallas in 1983, where he served on the board of directors of U.S. Trust Dallas. He and Betty Jane loved entertaining, and he enjoyed playing tennis with their close circle of Dallas friends. Joyful family reunions and holidays multiplied as the grandchildren arrived. J.T. loved to travel. He and Betty Jane explored the world together, visiting Hong Kong, Japan, and Russia as well as walking the Great Wall of China, passing through the Panama Canal, taking in Argentina, and seeing the Great Pyramids and the Holy Land. They drove all throughout Europe with England being a particular favorite destination. In later years, they took great delight in traveling all over the U.S. with their children and grandchildren.
J.T. lived a life of integrity, honor, and devotion to his family and others. He credits his parents for instilling in him the importance of duty, helping those less fortunate, generosity of both money and time, hard work, and family.
We will always remember his quick wit, brilliant mind, contagious humor, captivating storytelling, and unconditional love and support as a steadfast son, husband, father, and grandfather.
He was preceded in death by the love of his life, Betty Jane, to whom he was married for 68 wonderful years. Also preceding him were his four older siblings, Mary Helen, Dorothy, John, and Jo Evelyn and his beloved infant daughter, Elizabeth Jane.
Surviving him are his daughter and son, and their spouses: Mary Margaret and Edward Palms of Denver and Tatum and Kimberly Moore of Austin. His legacy lives on in his five grandchildren, who brought him great joy: Elizabeth Palms, Lillian Moore, Sydney Moore, Aiden Moore, and Penelope Moore.
The family would like to give special thanks to Lubaba Mudesir and Sophe Fitarte Asfaw for being invaluable, loving companions to J.T. in his later years.
Contributions in memory of J.T. may be made to the Need-Based Scholarship (endowed) Account in the Scholarships and Financial Aid Department of the Texas A&M Foundation. You can do so at www.txamfoundation.com/give or by calling (979) 845-8161.
A funeral service will be held Friday, July 14, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. at First Christian Church in Pecos, Texas.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.Sparkman-Hillcrest.com for the Moore family.
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