He walked and walked and walked. Even as osteoporosis bent him over so much that he looked down at the sidewalk, Donald J. Moore of Omaha kept walking.
“He walked with a stoop,” said friend George Miller. “You'd see him coming down the street. You couldn't miss him because of the way he had to stand.”
A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he worked in payroll with Peter Kiewit Sons' Inc., and later as a clerk in the order department at the downtown public library.
“He was incredibly conscientious,” said Verda Bialac, who retired as assistant director of the library. “And he had a wry sense of humor.”
A lifelong bachelor who loved sports and keeping records and charts, Don Moore died six weeks ago at 87. But people are still talking about his kind, generous and gentle ways, his will to live after a severe injury and his persistence in putting one foot in front of the other.
He was a fixture in the Dundee-Memorial Park neighborhood, but didn't seek attention.
“Don wasn't the type to wear bright colors — he usually wore tans and browns,” said Rebecca Means, a fellow congregant at Dundee Presbyterian Church. “But he was always interested in speaking with people. He was small of frame but large in heart.”
In 2001, a motorist backing her SUV out of a driveway along Happy Hollow Boulevard didn't see him and rolled over him. His sister, Dorothy DeMarco of Columbus, Neb., said his injuries left him in a coma and required surgery, but he recuperated.
Longtime friend John Marburger said the accident affected Don. “He was already a little hunchbacked before that, but it continued to get worse.”
But Don enjoyed going to lunch with friends. When healthier, he had traveled Europe and Canada, and in Australia he walked to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Don was born in Butte, Neb., and the family lived on farms near Coleridge and Laurel. Dorothy said he was very intelligent and good with figures but wasn't cut out to be a farmer.
“Our father used to say Don could give the square root of any number,” she said, “but he couldn't plow a straight row.”
He served in the Army in World War II, she said, and helped out on the family farm before living in Omaha. He enjoyed his nieces and nephews and liked to make people laugh.
“My daughter said, ‘Do you like my pretty dress?'” Dorothy recalled. “He said ‘Yes, but it wouldn't fit me.'”
Even when he became bent over, she said, he would joke that it made him smarter “because my head goes first.”
He especially enjoyed girls and women's sports, and got to know high school and college coaches and athletes. He was also a regular at Bible study.
At his funeral at Dundee Presbyterian, the Rev. JP Carlson said Don had a strong faith — and that in all his walks, in sun or rain, he walked with God.
“From walking all around town to cheering on all kinds of sports teams,” the minister said, “Don had a way of marching to the beat of his own drum. ... We thank Don for blazing the trail, for walking in front of us.”
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