By Kathy Chouteau
Carrie Lee Moore, age 100, is an independent spirit who enjoys the simple pleasures in life and who lives by the “golden rule” of treating others the way you want to be treated. On the cusp of her 101st birthday May 23, it’s a life philosophy that’s served the San Pablo resident well during her years living in the Bay Area and beyond.
“Mother Moore,” as community members call the local elder, was born in Red Bird, OK in 1921. Her mother passed away when she was an infant and she was raised by her father until the age of 16, when she struck out on her own.
She lived in Shreveport, LA for a spell and then moved onto her first stint in the Bay Area living in Alameda and Oakland during the mid-1940s. During her early years in the East Bay, Mother Moore recalls working on Treasure Island, where she made her living as a press operator pressing sailors’ clothes. From there, the then-20-something—who used to make all of her own clothes—was off to Detroit, MI, where she lived from 1946-1984 and worked her way up the ranks at the Cadillac Garment Manufacturing Co.
Mother Moore—who did marry, but divorced and never had children—returned to the Bay Area in 1984, when her father fell ill and eventually passed away in 1986. She made her home in San Pablo and quickly joined the North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church—the congregation of which she considers family now that all of her blood relatives are gone.
Throughout the years, Mother Moore has always enjoyed a good walk. Back in the day, her walks were much longer—spanning an hour or more—and traversed the San Pablo and Richmond areas. And while she still gets out, nowadays her walks are shorter and less frequent. She gets most of her exercise over at the Community Senior Citizen Center of North Richmond, which she visits a few days a week.
Aside from visiting her church and the senior center during the week, Mother Moore said that she spends her time enjoying some of her personal passions, such as doing needlepoint, listening to sacred piano music, reading from the Bible and writing down her reflections on the lessons learned from scripture.
“I’m still on the go,” said Mother Moore about all of her activities. “I’m not just sitting down watching the TV.”
A vegetarian, she’s also an avid cook, and does her own shopping to boot. “I used to love to cook, but I got so large, I decided to come out the kitchen,” she kidded. Truth be told, Mother Moore is still cooking away, but she describes her current meals as simpler, “solid, cooked food” that’s never fast food. “I always take time and cook my own food,” she said, later adding, “The Lord gave me to do everything for myself.”
Reflecting upon her various activities, Mother Moore described the key to happiness in life as enjoying its simple pleasures. “The Lord is keeping me around,” she said, “for some purpose,” adding that “you can always be an example for someone else…I just try to live the best I know how and try to treat everybody right.”
Our thanks to John “Johnny” Lopez, property manager at Church Lane Properties, for telling us about the incredible Mother Moore and for helping the Richmond Standard coordinate its interview with her.