Communities don’t get to experience true greatness all that often.
Thus, when one of its great men or women leave this world, it’s good to take special notice.
Amarillo has lost of one of its true giants. Dr. Winfred Moore, the former senior pastor of First Baptist Church has died at the age of 95. To those who knew him and loved him, his absence in their lives will require lots of time for a complete recovery, if that will be possible.
Having said that, I now must acknowledge that I did not know Dr. Moore well. He and I were casually acquainted. But I certainly knew of this man shortly after arriving in Amarillo in January 1995 to take up my post as editorial page editor of the Amarillo Globe-News. He cast the longest possible shadow over this community.
I do have a single Winfred Moore story that I want to share. Those who heard him preach — or even those who heard him speak in any fashion — will understand the purpose of this brief story.
The Rotary Club of Amarillo had selected me to be its president during 2006-07. Our service organization at the time comprised about 150 members. One of them was Winfred Moore. The club long before had made him an “honorary member,” which meant he wasn’t required to attend meetings, but he was always welcome to attend. Dr. Moore’s wife was ill at the time and he was spending a lot of time tending to her.
He came to one of our weekly meetings, which then were held at the Amarillo Country Club’s main dining room. It’s a fairly spacious venue. I was presiding over the meeting.
Before we convened the meeting, I noticed Dr. Moore sitting in the back of the room eating lunch with some of his Rotary pals. I went to the person who was scheduled to give the invocation to start our meeting and said I wanted Dr. Moore to pinch-hit with the blessing.
I then went to Dr. Moore’s table and said, “Dr. Moore, would you mind giving the invocation when we start?” Of course he agreed.
I rang the bell, we sang the National Anthem, said the Pledge of Allegiance and then I said, “To give the invocation, we have Dr. Winfred Moore with us today. Dr. Moore, would you like to come to the podium?”
“Oh, no,” he said, “I’ll just do it here” … from the back of the room.
With that, the man known around the Texas Panhandle as “The Voice of God” boomed out an invocation that — I’m telling you — brought chills to those of us in the room. Winfred Moore could make anyone a believer.
He filled us with renewed faith and inspiration.
What a man, indeed.