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Leroy Moore, Fells Point favorite, dies

and Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

Leroy Moore, who was known as the “mayor of Fells Point,” died of lung cancer Dec. 16 at his East Baltimore home. He was 56.

Born in Baltimore and raised in the Sharp-Leadenhall neighborhood of South Baltimore, he was the son of Walter Moses Moore, a sanitation worker, and his wife, Annie Moore, who worked in housekeeping at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.

He was a 1981 graduate of Joseph C. Briscoe Senior High School.

“He was a special-needs person who was a part of a loving family,” said his sister, Debbie Moore Daly of Baltimore. “At first my mother wanted him to live independently and he lived in group homes. But after a while, he did not like living in one and felt he was not being treated well.”

She said that while living in a group home — and doing maintenance work at the Clay Court apartments on East Chase Street — he discovered Fells Point, where he became a familiar presence at its restaurants and bars..

“He just loved Fells Point — his whole life was there — and it was a blessing to see how much the people there loved him in return,” said his sister.

Friends recalled that Mr. Moore, who was 6 feet tall, 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.

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 Slainte. 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.

His friends in Fells Point established a GoFundMe campaign in his honor that raised $6,000 for the man they called the “Mayor of Fells Point.”

One person wrote that encounters 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.”

Mr. Moore’s wandering worried his family, his 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.

”I’m so elated that there’s so many people who really loved him,” said another sister, Ann Moore.

Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 28 at Life Church Ministries, 3820 S. Hanover St. in Brooklyn.

In addition to his sisters, survivors include three other sisters, Evelyn Moore, Teresa Moore and Minnie Moore; his stepfather, Willie Leslie, with whom he lived; and numerous nieces and nephews.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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