Tom Moore, 1926-2017
Longtime downtown businessman was Living Treasure
·By Robert Nott | The New Mexican
·Sep 11, 2017 Updated Sep 11, 2017
Tom Moore, a Santa Fe businessman whose clothing shop once served as one of the Plaza’s anchor stores, died Thursday at his home in Santa Fe. He was 91.
“His customers weren’t just people who were going to come buy something at the store,” said Louis Padilla, a longtime employee of Moore’s. “He was interested in who they were as people.”
As a downtown businessman, Moore served as president of the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce in the early 1960s, joined the Kiwanis Club of Santa Fe and the Rotary Club of Santa Fe and became president and later executive director of the Menswear Retailers of America.
He was named one of Santa Fe’s Living Treasures in 2015.
“I feel very honored to be joining a pretty doggone distinguished group of people as a Living Treasure,” he said upon receiving that honor.
Moore was born in 1926 in Laurel, Neb., to T.I. Moore and Ruth Flisram. His father ran a clothing store in Laurel, where the younger Moore learned the retail business at 10 cents an hour.
Moore enlisted in the Navy during World War II and became a radar operator. He said the only action he saw was when he used a Thompson machine gun to detonate an errant mine that was floating toward his ship.
After the war, Tom Moore moved to Santa Fe to join an uncle, known as E.P. Moore, in a new clothing store on San Francisco Street on the Plaza. Tom Moore and his brother Jim ran that store for more than 40 years, from about 1948 until 1989.
“He felt like his customers were an extended family,” said his son Tomas Moore. “He saw them through a lot of phases in their lives. Families would bring in their children to buy their first suits, and they would also come in and have to buy clothes for a funeral.”
In an interview in 2015, Tom Moore said he could see the way downtown Santa Fe was changing in the 1980s and how that change was negatively affecting locally owned businesses. “Rents were escalating, shopping centers began to draw customers and local people found it hard to come downtown,” he said. “The parking situation was bad.”
Moore’s daughter, Terry Boothman, said her father had a good sense of humor that he maintained until the end. When the family recently bought him an electric lift lounge chair for his comfort, he joked that he hoped he would not press the wrong button and thus be catapulted into the Santa Fe National Cemetery, where he will be buried as a military veteran, before his time.
Shortly before he died he said, “I think I’m running out of jokes.”
Tom Moore had just put the finishing touches on his memoir, From The Plains of Nebraska to the Plaza in Santa Fe: The 90-Year Journey of Tom Moore. His children are currently editing that manuscript.
“He had a life well-lived,” Bootman said.
She said the family is working on putting together a memorial service for her father.
Besides his children, Tom Moore is survived by his brother Jim and two grandsons, Tomas and Max.
Contact Robert Nott at 505-986-3021 or firstname.lastname@example.org