Dramatis persona: Grace Hooten Moore, 1917-2012

Grace Hooten Moore

In a sort of role reversal from Shakespearean England, when Grace Hooten Moore, WC ’38, was a drama and speech student at Brenau College in the 1930s, she had such a deep voice that the only parts she ever landed in theatrical productions at the women’s college were those of men. As one version of the story goes, her classmates in her senior year decided that in at least one production, she would have to play a woman.

Whether that occurred has yet to be determined by archival research, but for the rest of her 95 years Grace Moore played the role of a strong, vibrant southern woman to the hilt. And that included her service, starting in 1974, as the first female chair of the Brenau Board of Trustees.

“First and foremost, Grace Moore was one of the kindest, most concerned, most genteel Southern women you would ever meet,” Brenau President Ed Schrader said after her death on Aug. 22.   “Brenau has lost a great friend and a loyal supporter.”

Her legacy, however, continues. Grace’s daughter-in-law, Evanda Gravitte Moore, WC ’71, followed her as a trustee. Jim Moore, Evanda’s husband and Grace’s son, currently serves on the board. Her son, Walton, also has been an active Brenau supporter. And, until her health began limiting her mobility, Grace was a presence at alumni gatherings and reunions, Alpha Gamma Delta sorority activities, gallery openings, theatrical and musical productions – virtually any kind of Brenau event.

“I’ve told people that, if there was a rat-killing at Brenau, she’d be there,” Jim Moore says with his characteristic – and genetic – colorful manner of speaking. “Next to her family, she loved Brenau and anything that had anything to do with Brenau.”

Born and raised in McDonough, Ga., Grace Hooten migrated to Brenau and Gainesville in the midst of the Great Depression, and she became one of those people who never left – so entwined with the community that she was regarded as a native. After briefly teaching speech and reading at a high school in Canton, Ga., she returned to Gainesville in 1939 to marry her local sweetheart, George Walton “Dub” Moore, whose family was decades ahead of Chick-fil-a with its “Buy Moore Coal” motto. Although raised a Baptist, Grace “converted to another faith,” joining First United Methodist Church – which became her base for a lifetime of community service. She and Dub had five children, sons Walton and Jim, both of whom also remained in Gainesville, and three daughters – Dixie Harris of Raleigh, N.C., June Boggs of Wilton, Conn., and Jean Moore Young of Atlanta.

She was selected Rotary Woman of the Year in 1975 – the same year Brenau presented her with the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award, which is Brenau’s highest non-academic honor, given to women whose extraordinary lives exemplify the noblest of human qualities. Brenau also honored her with an Outstanding Alumni Award, and she was a member of the inaugural class inducted into the Brenau Alumni Hall of Fame.

Throughout her life, she put her Brenau speech and drama training to work in myriad activities of the family, church and community, including a stint at the local library as a “volunteer storyteller” – an art which, as just about anyone who knew her will confirm, she volunteered at every opportunity.  And, frequently her stories included some reference to Brenau.

“She was one of those who had been around seemingly forever,” says friend and Brenau Trustee Betty Norton, WC ’52, “and you tend to take for granted everything she accomplished, but she was very, very important to Brenau.”

To read the full obituary, go to http://www.brenau.edu/news/grace-hooten-moore/

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