He was as an unlikely a guardian angel as someone could have asked for.
Six-foot-tall Leroy Moore walked into the bar one night about eight years ago wearing a suit and a top hat. He sat next to Shannon Cosgrove, then a regular at the bar, and handed her a rose and his trademark line: “You’re a beautiful goddess.”
Over the course of that evening, as he sipped on a Coke, Mr. Moore explained to Ms. Cosgrove how on the nights when she appeared to be drunk that he followed behind her to make sure she made it home safely.
Mr. Moore died Sunday morning at the age of 56 after a battle with lung cancer. Within hours, a gofundme Ms. Cosgrove set up in his honor had raised $6,000, and countless comments from friends family and acquaintances sharing memories of a man many called the “Mayor of Fells Point.”
One person wrote that run-ins with Mr. Moore were a highlight of living in Baltimore: “No matter what type of mood you may have been in, he would leave you smiling. His heart was bigger than Baltimore itself.”
After their first meeting at the bar, Ms. Cosgrove and Mr. Moore became friends. When she began working at Johnny Rad’s, Mr. Moore would come to visit her, staying as she closed the bar and walking her to her car late at night. “He always wanted to make sure I was OK,” she said. “He did this for countless people.”
Ms. Cosgrove made a habit of looking for him in the Fells Point bars he frequented — always dressed in something outlandish, maybe a sombrero, or a hat he’d gotten for free. Typically, he could be found at one of six spots, including Johnny Rad’s and Slante. Friends set up a Facebook page where they could track his whereabouts. To men, he’d say: “Hey, buddy, I like your shirt.” Women were always beautiful goddesses.
He was a fixture in the neighborhood. Bargoers reminded him to take his medication and encouraged him to drink Diet Coke instead of the regular stuff — better for his diabetes. Ms. Cosgrove and others held a birthday party for him every year at Johnny Rad’s. They knew this year would be his last. “He probably got about 200 cans of Coca-Cola,” Ms. Cosgrove said.
Mr. Moore’s wandering worried his family, a sister, Ann Moore, said. But it was impossible to keep him cooped up.
Even as he was undergoing treatment for lung cancer, he insisted on visiting his beloved Fells Point, Ms. Cosgrove said. At his request, she took him there a few weeks ago. “As soon as we turned on Broadway he just started chanting, ‘Fells Point, Fells Point,’ ” she said.
His mother, Annie Moore, and brother, Larry Moore, preceded him in death. In addition to his sister Ann Moore, he is survived by sisters Evelyn Moore, Debbie Moore Daly, Teresa Moore and Minnie Moore, as well as by his stepfather, Willie Leslie.
Ms. Moore said she has been touched by the outpouring of warmth from the Fells Point community after her brother’s death and learning of the joy he brought to so many people.
”I’m so elated that there’s so many people who really loved him,” she said.
And she’s comforted by her last memory of her brother. Lying on his deathbed, he reached out his arms as if embracing an angel.