Donald N. Moore, the courageous Southwesterner who completed his master’s degree while battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma, died Monday, Aug. 14. He was 40 years old.
He is survived by his wife, Julia, and their five children: Rebecca, Truman, Victoria, Lauren, and Lincoln.
The visitation is set for Thursday, Aug. 17, 7-8 p.m., at Prugh-Dunfee Funeral Home, 200 South Front Street, Grant City, Mo., 64456.
The funeral service will take place Friday, Aug. 18, at 10 a.m. at the Grant City Baptist Church, Mo., on Highway 46, with a graveside service to follow at Fletchall Cemetery.
A faithful husband, father, preacher and student
Moore embraced his life and calling to ministry with quiet, simple and confident faith in God. Moore was known among his friends for his dry wit and upbeat attitude. When asked about his illness, he would give an update, but quickly turned the conversation to the Lord and the blessings other people had been to him and his family.
“I don’t even try to look at any difficulties we have. The blessings have been just so much greater,” Moore said shortly after his graduation last year. Then, about the cancer, he added with understated humor, “It certainly has well-rounded my seminary experience.”
The family has maintained a Web site about Moore, his life and ministry at www.donaldmoore.info.
Moore moved his family to Fort Worth in August, 2002, to enroll at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In an interview with Southwestern News, the Southwestern Seminary’s alumni magazine, Moore said he began his seminary education because of a “very strong calling” to learn and grow as a Christian and share his faith with others.
Symptoms of Hodgkin’s lymphoma surfaced near the end of Moore’s first semester at Southwestern Seminary. A month after arriving in Texas, Moore started experiencing what he thought were symptoms of seasonal allergies. A month after that, Moore thought the allergies had caused a deep chest cold.
More symptoms emerged. The doctors undertook more extensive tests. The news came during the second week in January 2003 that Moore had Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
But the diagnosis didn’t change the direction God gave Moore.
“I just know that God called me to seminary, and this is where I’m supposed to be,” he said.
Moore’s treatment was characterized by highs and lows. There were even points when he was told that the cancer had gone away, only for it to reappear.
In 2005, the family went to Houston for him to begin treatments at the world renowned cancer program at M.D. Anderson Hospital. Members from Sagemont Baptist Church in Houston stepped in and sponsored the Moores’ stay in the city.
The family returned to Fort Worth in October, and Moore needed strength to make the push to finish his seminary training. Friends, seminary students and faculty organized a prayer meeting in the Moore’s home.
“[Don’s condition] was a pretty steady decline until that prayer meeting,” Julia said in an interview last December. After the prayer meeting, he slowly and gradually regained enough strength to finish.
“Donald’s statement to me was, ‘If God is going to heal me, He’ll heal me in spite of us and not because of us,’” Julia said. “I think in that we finally finished giving everything up to God.”
Moore graduated from Southwestern Seminary on Dec. 9, 2005, despite struggling through each semester with cancer. A loud round of applause went up during the commencement service at Travis Avenue Baptist Church when Moore accepted his degree—along with a hug instead of the customary handshake—from Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson. The Moores were members of Travis Avenue Baptist Church during their time in Fort Worth.
“It’s exciting,” Moore had said after the graduation service. “But it will be more exciting to know exactly where God is going to take me and use me.”
The Moores lived in seminary housing for another semester and made plans to move back to Missouri. Last June, the seminary community and members of local Baptist churches pulled together to pack up the Moore household and help them move to their home state.
Memorial fund established
The family announced that the Donald Neil Moore Memorial Fund has been established at Southwestern Seminary to support the education of preachers who minister in rural communities across the nation and around the world, according to Joe Breshears, the seminary’s director of planned giving.
“The fund will give preference to students who are called to pastor churches in smaller, rural communities, since that is what Donald felt called to do,” Breshears said. “But if no student qualifies under that criteria, then the scholarship would go to any student called to pastoral ministry.”
An initial gift toward the establishment of this scholarship fund has already come from an anonymous Southwestern Seminary student.
Donations designated to the Donald Neil Moore Memorial Fund can be mailed to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, P.O. Box 22500, Fort Worth, Texas 76122-0500.
Donations by credit card can be made over the telephone by calling 1.877.GO.SWBTS (467.9287).
Visitation: Thursday, Aug. 17, 7-8 p.m., Prugh-Dunfee Funeral Home, 200 South Front Street, Grant City, MO, 64456.
Funeral: Friday, Aug. 18, 10 a.m., Grant City Baptist Church, Hwy 46, Grant City, MO, 64456.
Graveside service after the funeral service: Fletchall Cemetery. Directions: Follow highway 169 North from Grant City, Mo., to Fletchall Cemetery Road (right-hand side of road). Follow Fletchall Cemetery Road to Fletchall Cemetery
Celebrate Donald’s last sermon: Friday, Aug. 18, 2:30 p.m., Grant City Baptist Church. The family will play a recording of the message Donald preached in July at the Sheridan Christian Church. All are welcome to come.