The Moore Family Endowments Reflect a Legacy of Servanthood
When Elijah "Lige" F. Moore Jr. and Ena, his beloved bride of 69 years, passed away in 2020, it's easy to imagine Jesus saying as He welcomed each of them into the Kingdom of heaven, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
During their lifetimes, they impacted countless lives, including their four children, Susan Posey, Robert Moore, Rev. David Moore, Rebecca White, nine grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. Lige and Ena selflessly served and supported North Decatur UMC, the North Georgia Conference, related agencies, nonprofit organizations, civic groups, and athletic associations.
Through their work with Murphy-Harpst Children's Center, severely abused and neglected children and teenagers found hope. Their ministry with Camp Glisson strengthened the faith formation of generations of campers. And thousands of individuals found housing thanks to their service with Atlanta Habitat for Humanity and the North Georgia Housing and Homeless Council.
"My mother devoted her life to loving and serving other people. She was a literacy tutor for adults. She befriended foster children," Susan said. "She also served as the founding director and lead preschool teacher at Inman Park UMC and then later worked as a kindergarten teacher at Fernbank Elementary School."
Rebecca adds, "When I think of my parents' legacy, it is about the lessons learned. Their obedience in serving the church, the community, and their family came out of their love for God and God's love for us."
Raised by devout United Methodists, Lige and Ena grew up during the Great Depression. "Stewardship was always a priority because their parents indoctrinated it," Robert said. "My father's parents lost their refrigerator, car, and then their house. Yet even when they were struggling, they continued to be active in the church and gave what they could."
Ena graduated from LaGrange College. Lige earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Duke University and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University. Lige met Ena when she served as the director of Christian education at Cherokee Heights UMC in Macon. They married in 1951 and then moved to Boston while Lige finished his last year at Harvard.
After graduation, Lige began a distinguished 35-year-career with Trust Company of Georgia, which became SunTrust Bank and then Truist.
"Dad was investing in the lives of people at Trust Company through a weekly Bible study," said Rev. Moore. "In the 1970s, he regularly prayed with one man whose son had cancer. I got to know him later, and he said he couldn't have made it through without my dad."
Lige and Ena taught their children how to tithe, a practice that dates back to Ena's father, a surveyor. "He always pledged 10 percent of his income to the church, even though it changed from year to year," Rev. Moore said. "Bobby, Susan, Becky, and I all believe in giving. Part of our joy in life is to be givers of time and money."
They also taught Susan how to grocery shop, while Bob, David, and Rebecca learned how to manage the family's regular checking account and their "tithes and contributions" account. "We learned that giving is not the leftovers; it's the firstfruits," Robert said.
After Lige's early retirement in 1988, he held several key leadership positions with the Georgia United Methodist Foundation, including executive director and chair of the board, loan, and investment committees. He faithfully served the Foundation for decades. In 1992, the Moores established an endowment in Ena's name, and in the early 2000s, they established two charitable gift annuities and a unitrust with the Foundation.
Lige passed away in May 2020, and Ena followed nearly five months later. Their estate plans expressed their desire to have two endowments of equal size with the Foundation. Ena's endowment will benefit LaGrange College and Murphy-Harpst, while Lige's endowment will support Glisson Camp & Retreat Center and TMS Global. Their unitrust account passes directly to the Foundation to provide continuing support for its programs.
"They were wise enough in their financial management to have a comfortable estate to live on in later years and still be able to give a share of their estate for charitable purposes," Robert said. "What my parents demonstrated is very similar to what we learn from John Wesley's statement, 'Earn all you can, save all you can, and give all you can.' Their frugality was a part of their social ethic and captured their concern for others. If they didn't use more resources than needed, they had more resources to give to others."