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Danese G. Moore, a former journalist who had been active in civic and cultural affairs in Columbia, dies

Danese G. Moore was a charter member of the National Political Congress of Black Women.
Danese G. Moore was a charter member of the National Political Congress of Black Women. (Family photo / HANDOUT)

Danese G. Moore, a former Afro-American columnist who was active in the civic, cultural and political life of Columbia and Howard County, died April 28 of pneumonia at Gilchrist Center Howard County. She was 86.

“She worked in my first campaign in 2002, and was one of my first supporters,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “She was my friend, mentor, strong and well-connected. She was funny, witty, beautiful inside and out, and a joy to be around. She was someone would always make you feel special.”

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Ethel B. Hill, a Columbia resident since 1969, was a longtime friend of Mrs. Moore’s and a political ally.

“I got to know her from our community and I was the first Black Columbian to run for countywide office, so that’s how I got to know Danese,” Ms. Hill said. “She was always involved in my campaigns. She had lots of energy, was a hard worker, and knew lots of people, and she was willing to knock on doors.”

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The former Danese Lillian Goodwin, daughter of William Milton Goodwin, a schoolteacher and the first Black man to own an Amoco franchise in Baltimore, and his wife, Edith Elizabeth Koon Goodwin, a homemaker, was born in Columbia, South Carolina, where her parents were vacationing, said a daughter, Andrea Novice Moore of Columbia in Howard County.

Known as “Needie,” she was raised on Madison Avenue, Woodbrook Avenue and later on Bentalou Street.

“She was my sister and always very interesting,” said her surviving sibling, Reva G. Lewie of Windsor Mill.

“Danese was the youngest of six children and a nurse always came to the house before babies were born, and I told her I wanted a brown skinned-boy with curly hair, but what we got was a light-skinned sister with red hair,” she said with a laugh.

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“She was the most independent of our family and when Danese went to kindergarten she was late coming home because she was helping other children who didn’t know where they lived get home,” Mrs. Lewie said. “There was a lot behind our house where Daddy would sometimes repair cars, and she’d be under the car with him and Mother would get after her because she always got dirty.”

Mrs. Lewie described her sister as a “tomboy.”

“She was always playing with the boys and was the independent leader for her age group,” she said. “She was always full of energy, very smart, and skipped grades in school.”

Mrs. Moore was a 1951 graduate of Frederick Douglass High School, and attended Morgan State University for four years, leaving one semester before graduation.

She met her future husband, Samuel “Duck” Moore,“ at Morgan State, where he had been a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and where Danese was an active member of the Kappa Silhouettes.“He let her know that he had his eyes on her and was watching her,” Ms. Moore said.

After he graduated from Morgan, he enlisted in the Air Force, and was stationed at Mildenhall Air Base in Suffolk, England, when he began a series of trans-Atlantic phone calls. “He called her four times to come and marry him,” Ms. Moore said.

They married in 1958, traveled throughout Europe and had a “honeymoon most folks only dreamed of on the Island of Capri, Italy,” her daughter said.

Because of her husband’s career as director of clinical laboratories, the couple lived at various military installations, and while stationed at Travis Air Force Base in Solano County, California, she was active in the Officers’ Wives Club, and when her husband retired with the rank of major in 1974, the couple moved to Columbia, where Mrs. Moore immersed herself in the civic, cultural and political life of Columbia and Howard County.

From the mid-to-late 1970s, she wrote a column, “In and Around the New Town,” that was published in the Afro-American Newspapers, where she shared news from the new progressive city of Columbia with a “Black population that was just as progressive,” her daughter said.

Mrs. Moore chartered the Columbia chapter of Tots and Teens, and after the children graduated from high school, the mothers of the group, who enjoyed one another so much, established a book club and kept in touch with Mrs. Moore until her death.

She was also a charter member of the National Political Congress of Black Women, and was a charter member of the Concerned Parents of Howard County, which led to the chartering of the Howard County Foundation for Black Educational and Cultural Achievements.

“Concerned parents were movers and shakers and when they entered a school, the administration listened,” according to a biographical profile submitted by her daughter. “They found that there was a growing need for Black students to be able to obtain scholarships and to date they have given more than $1 million in scholarships to African American students in Howard County.”

Mrs. Moore was also an active member of the Howard County chapter of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club and attended Christ Episcopal Church in Columbia.

Late in life, Mrs. Moore earned her property management and real estate licenses and worked for a number of years in property management in Columbia, and then managed the Baltimore properties of her sister, Mrs. Lewie.

She and her husband were world travelers who particularly liked visiting Italy. They also enjoyed entertaining family and friends and spending summers in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and lived a “very simple, yet lavish lifestyle.”

Ms. Moore said etiquette and life’s rules were her cornerstones, and one thing she instilled in her children was “No one is better than you are and you are no better than anyone else is,” her daughter said. “And she shared them with whomever her audience was and shared them often.”

Ms. Moore said her father idolized her mother and treated her like “a queen.”

“She never wanted for anything, she saw the world, had a loving husband, and lived a wonderful life,” her daughter said.

Her husband, who died in 2007, is interred in Arlington National Cemetery. Plans for a graveside service for Mrs. Moore, who will be laid to rest with her husband at Arlington, are incomplete.

In addition to her daughter and sister, Mrs. Moore is survived by another daughter, Angela Danese Moore Rivers of Alpharetta, Georgia; two grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

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