Jean Somervell Moore, who worked a wealth of jobs while being a mom, died Feb. 16 at the Pickersgill Retirement Community in Towson after a stroke. She was 94.
Mrs. Moore lived in Baltimore County for the past 60 years in the Riderwood, Ruxton and Towson neighborhoods. She raised four children and was married for nearly 68 years to John D. “Jack” Moore, who died in 2021.
Born on Nov. 7, 1928, in Durham, North Carolina, she was the daughter of William Dorsey Somervell, a civil engineer, and Geraldine Rolfe Somervell, a secretary.
When Mrs. Moore was 7, following her parents’ divorce, she moved to Prince Frederick in Southern Maryland where she was cared for by her father’s sister, Olive Somervell Smither.
She was independent and a role model for working moms, said her daughter Elizabeth Somervell Holcomb, who lives in Austin, Texas.
“She set her own goals and she worked toward them,” Mrs. Holcomb said. “She had good work ethics, and if she wanted something or felt something was important — she would work toward that.”
Mrs. Moore went to Calvert High School in Prince Frederick. She then moved back to North Carolina, where she attended Wake Forest University before transferring to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduating in 1949.
In December 1953, Mrs. Moore, who had been a schoolteacher in Mount Airy in Carroll County, married John D. “Jack” Moore, a mechanical engineer. They met on a blind date in 1952.
“He was my escort to a housewarming party,” she told The Baltimore Sun in 2021. “And we clicked. We never separated after that.”
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Together they bought and renovated old houses, including the gardener’s cottage on the grounds of the old William S. Marston School on Springway Road in Ruxton.
Mrs. Holcomb recalled her mother being head of the PTA at her schools and volunteering at churches and nonprofits, including Paul’s Place, a community outreach center, in Baltimore.
Mrs. Moore was an employee trainer at the long-shuttered Hutzler’s department store in Baltimore and worked in admissions at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. She then taught correspondence school at the Calvert School in Roland Park.
For the last roughly 15 years of her working life, Mrs. Moore was an office manager for a Ruxton pediatrician. She worked for much of her life but stopped while her children were little, Mrs. Holcomb said.
One of her fondest memories of her mom were their drives together after church, she said.
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“My mom always liked to go driving,” Mrs. Holcomb said. “Everyone would pile into the station wagon, and we’d go driving around. It was family time. Now I look back on it as a special time, but as a young kid, you don’t really realize that.”
The Moores retired in the early 1990s and traveled the world. They went to China, Japan, the Baltic states and Scotland, and cruised the Chesapeake Bay with other members of their sailing association.
They spent winters in Florida, where they enjoyed an active social life. Even in their 90s, the couple were still boarding planes and traveling on their own, their daughter said.
The Moores were regular diners at The Peppermill restaurant in Lutherville. Mrs. Moore loved to play tennis and was devoted to her various foursomes at bridge.
“She was a very generous, giving person,” said her son W. David Moore of Miami Beach. “Both my mom and dad were that way. They were very involved in the community and that passed on to all of us.”
She was at different times a member of the L’Hirondelle Club of Ruxton, the Woman’s Club of Roland Park, the Country Club of Maryland and the Roland Run Club. She was a member of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Ruxton since 1962.
In addition to her daughter and son, Mrs. Moore is survived by two other children, J. Duncan Moore Jr. of Chicago and A. Dorsey Moore of San Jose, California, and five grandchildren. Her brother William Dorsey Somervell Jr. died in World War II.