Jimmy Moore – He Was the Man He Didn’t Have to Be, but WE Needed
by Brian Coll
Where do I start? Let me start with the title of this. Jimmy Moore – He Was the Man He Didn’t Have to Be, but WE needed. So, if it sounds a little like a country song title it is. Brad Paisley sang this song a number of years ago and I have heard it a few times over the years. The title of that song is He Didn’t Have to Be. If you really knew Jimmy, I don’t need to explain part of this title, I’ll simply leave it at, he was a gentleman and if we each look ourselves in the eye, I don’t know that too many of us could do or understand what he did for his family. Moore family, before I write anything else, you need to know my entire family is thinking of you.
Now, let’s talk about Jimmy and hopefully honor his memory a little bit here. If you’ve been in this great borough for a number of years you may remember a time when things weren’t what they are today. There were more kids in the borough and a few of these kids needed a male role model in their lives. The fact that this particular male role model drive past your house twice a week on the back of a trash truck was something else. My first memories of Jimmy, were probably made as he drove past my house a couple times a week picking up the trash, and I would wave to him through the window or run out of the house all the time to say hi. He always had a smile for me or any other kid in the neighborhood. He was a kind man. As the years went by and I started going to the Fellowship House more and more…..most days after school he was always there with his wife Maureen. The Fellowship House wasn’t what it is today. Now, this next part isn’t a knock on the current Fellowship House or Conshohocken Community Center if you will, but here it is, In the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s the Fellowship House was packed and I mean packed with kids everyday from the time school let out until a parent could get there to pick up their child or the kids would walk home from the Fell. Currently, there are more employees in the building then there are kids after school. Now, in Jimmy’s time at the Fellowship House, you had him and Frank, Maureen and Floyd…. it seems like 4 people worked that building for 100 hours a week each. I don’t know that there was any money to ever pay them. Ever. There was barely enough money to buy a spare kickball if one went up on the balcony. Basketballs were bare, most had a strange spot that looked and felt like someone was trying to pop it. And somehow, they made it work. If you grew up as a Fellowship House kid, you knew Jimmy Moore. If you watched the trash trucks go up and down your streets you knew Jimmy Moore, and guess what, Jimmy knew you too and cared for you. Jimmy would see my parents somewhere years later and ask about me and my sister Jackie.
When it comes to Conshohocken, I’m in the middle, I know where we’ve been, I appreciate what we have going on currently although I could do without the hotel coming to the bridge….. but in all my time in this borough, there is no one today that can compare to Jimmy Moore and what he meant to generations of Conshy Kids. Frank Zoltolwski is the only person in my mind who would be a comparison and they both worked together at the Fellowship House when Conshy didn’t have any money and neither did the Fellowship House or the families in the borough. Jimmy and Frank made due with what was here and generations of Conshy Kids are better off because of these men.
Don’t get me wrong, we have some good people here today, we have some great people in fact, but there is a sweet spot in your life when you are very impressionable and Jimmy Moore was the right man to leave that mark. We have all had some coaches come through our lives, little league baseball, high school football, soccer and so on, but how many of those coaches saw you on the sporting field, and then the next day saw you in the neighborhood? Jimmy was special.
I don’t know how to actually say this, but it needs to be said. I am a white man, now in my 40’s, I had an African American Santa Claus. Jimmy Moore would put on the costume at the Fellowship House and make a lot of Conshy Kids happy. And he was the best man for the job. If I had to describe to my 4 year old what Santa is without saying big belly and white beard I would say that Santa is caring, he cares about you and all the kids out there, Santa is loving and giving, and he did that. He loved the kids that came through the Fellowship House doors, he cared for us, he looked out for us, he gave us the time we needed after school while our parents were at work. If I had to describe Santa to my kids without painting a picture, I’d be talking about Jimmy Moore.
Once again, Moore Family, we are thinking of you. From one Fellowship House family to another. Thank you for sharing Jimmy with us for so long. He definitely was The Man he Didn’t Have to Be.