Educator known for his leadership, love of people
For many who knew longtime educator Lonnie Moore, they knew him as the complete man.
Not only was he a well respected teacher and school administrator, but he also coached two high school basketball teams to state championships, participated in numerous church activities and made each and every person who came in contact with him feel special.
The 71-year-old Moore died one week ago from complications following heart surgery.
Pastor Paul Slaton of the Fallon Church of the Nazarene, said Moore, his father-in-law, did many things behind the scenes and helped those in need. When news came that a couple at the senior center didn’t have many possessions, he and others volunteered to help.
“They put together an apartment package and took it to them,” Slaton said. “He’s been a great father-in-law, loved my girls and I am forever grateful for that.”
Moore’s youngest daughter, Lani Fabel, presented a chronology of Moore’s life from when he was born in Prineville, Ore., in 1942 to when the family eventually relocated to Fallon in the 1950s. She said they moved to Fallon and arrived in the Lahontan Valley on the same day a 6.6 magnitude earthquake greeted them.
Fabel, though, gave a personal glimpse into her father’s love of basketball and how he played whenever he could. In addition, she said he played guitar and piano and sung in church
It was his love for basketball that made an impression on those who knew him. He led Fallon to several titles and entered the University of Nevada, where he also played the sport along with his future brother-in-law Val York. He received his master’s degree in education in 1965 and accepted a teaching job at Storey County High School in Virginia City. He taught seventh- and eighth-grade for two years and then high school science.
In 1969 he accepted the vice-principal position at Churchill County High School.
His love for both his students and the game of basketball also followed Moore to Fallon.
“Lonnie never gave up his love for basketball and played on the city league for many years,” said Fabel, adding her father became a basketball official after he quit playing.
But what impressed Fabel about her father is how he made each grandchild feel special
“Lonnie lived life to the fullest … and never slowed down,” she said.
Retired Churchill County School District Superintendent Ron Flores and Moore worked alongside each other at the high school and as elementary school building principals, Moore at E.C. Best and Flores at West End in the late 1980s and early 1990s. For a time, Flores served as assistant superintendent and said he could always depend on Moore.
“Lonnie was always the go-to guy,” Flores recollected, “when you wanted something done.”
Flores cited the help he received from Moore about the open-concept school without walls at the Minnie Blair School or implementing year-round education.
“He just did things well,” Flores said.
During a career that spanned more than 30 years, Moore touched the lives of many educators including Minnie Blair teachers Donna March and April Chester.
March said Moore was respected and loved by his staff.
“This was the best teaching experience and staff ever,” March said. “He was a wonderful principal and leader and able to get things done when non one else could.”
March said Moore was very interested in his teachers and the milestones in their lives such as weddings and births. Additionally, March said Moore listened to his teachers and gave them opportunities to talk to him.
“He would allow us to give opinions in our meetings,” March remembered.
At the time, March was a library assistant when she first met Moore, but he encouraged her to take additional classes to become a licensed librarian. She said he pushed her and continually asked her if she was still taking classes.
After she finished her classes and became certified, the librarian position opened, and Moore hired her for the job.
Chester said Moore was the first principal for whom she worked, and he helped her with the teaching of special education children who were emotionally disturbed.
“He backed me 100 percent and also his staff,” Chester said. “That’s why we loved him so much.”
From student to friend is how Mike Berney described his relationship with Moore, especially when the educator served as junior high school vice principal and dished out the punishment.
“I spent a lot of time in his office,” Berney said, drawing some laughter. “But he was always a good person to talk to. When I became older, he was one of the people to give me a chance. We became great friends, and he was a great person who always came in (to this real estate office) with stories.”
George Del Carlo was one of Moore’s first students he taught in Virginia City. Del Carlo, who graduated in 1968 and served 22 years in the U.S. Army, was a member of the first state basketball championship team Moore coached. Moore succeeded the legendary coach Lyle Damon, who later became a coach at Hug High School in Reno and at San Francisco State University.
“How did he mold us?” Del Carlo rhetorically asked. “I look back at Storey County and Fallon and how much we’ve done. Coach Moore always had a smile either when you screwed up or when you won a state title.”
Moore’s team won state titles in 1967 and 1969 but lost the 1968 title by two points to Moapa Valley.
“He was a mentor, a friend who put a mark on my life,” Del Carlo added.
Connie Carlson, who also had Moore as a teacher in Virginia City, said he made sure all the students did their reading or they would be in trouble.
Moore inspired hundreds — if not thousands — of students, but none more so than his granddaughter Katie Moore. When she graduated from the Churchill County Adult Education program in May 2012, no one was smiling wider than her grandfather.
Katie Moore left Fallon in her sophomore year to attend high school in Reno. She eventually returned to Fallon to live with relatives and finish her schooling after moving four times during high school.
“He had such a passion for learning and what we were doing,” Katie Moore said at her grandfather’s funeral.
She said Lonnie Moore a had a love for life and was a romantic at heart.
Lonnie Moore is survived by his wife Janice, sister Cheryl (Dean) Russell, children Tammy (Paul) Slaton, Darin (Valerie) Moore, and Lani (Thane) Fabel. He is also survived by six grandchildren (Rachel, Carmen, Katie, Remy, Ben, and Owen,) seven great grandchildren (Aria, Ayalyn, Asa, Asher, Michael, Devon, and Weston,) and one niece, Kim (Steve) Roland.