Retired UT business professor has died

Betsy PickleObits

A stalwart in the University of Tennessee’s business school and economics department, Dr. John R. Moore, died Saturday, July 10, at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center at the age of 93.

Born in 1928 in Kearney, N.J., and reared primarily in Westfield, N.J., Moore earned his undergraduate degree from Colgate University and his master’s and doctorate from Cornell University, where he met his wife-to-be, Shirley. He described himself in a 2013 interview as “not a model student,” reserving that praise for his late wife.

Moore started teaching at UT in 1953, when he was 25, and taught for 38 years. After retiring from the classroom, he continued to do research part-time well into his 80s. He also, starting in 1962, was an economics consultant, often for the U.S. Department of Labor and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), as well as other attorneys and testified in many court cases, including at the Old Bailey in London.

During his teaching years, he also served for a time as the dean of the College of Business Administration. He was named an Alumni Distinguished Service Professor in 1989, received a Chancellor’s Citation for Distinguished Service and was a University Mace Bearer.

When his parents died, he created an undergraduate scholarship in their name in the economics department. Eight years ago, he created an endowment to establish the John R. & Shirley Burr Moore Economics Faculty Award to support teachers doing research.

Moore said he didn’t have any hobbies of his own, but he encouraged and assisted his wife as she evolved from an amateur orchid grower to the owner of Pinnacle Orchids.

After her death in 1992, he closed the business but continued to care for orchids in a small greenhouse on his East Knox County property.

Moore had a wry sense of humor, which he displayed in the classroom, but otherwise he never had any performing aspirations.

“I don’t remember what grade it was, but one of my best buddies and I were called upon to do a skit from ‘Tom Sawyer.’ … Tom and Huck Finn get into an argument, and we performed this for the school. Part of the end was where Huck walks off the stage, and I throw a rock at him.

“Well, we had to figure out what we were going to use for a rock. So we got papier mache and made a rock out of that. I threw the rock at him, and it burst into little pieces. So that was the end of my stage career.”

Moore, who is survived by three daughters, was very involved with his church, St. James’ Episcopal, serving as senior warden at one point, and was also the president of the lay organization in East Tennessee. The funeral will be at the church at 11 a.m. Wednesday. For more details, click here.

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