Roxie Ann Moore, 95, gospel songwriter

Roxie Ann Moore

Roxie Ann Moore was a licensed evangelist and gospel songwriter.

Moore died Feb. 13, 2012. She was 95.

She was born March 15, 1916, in Neabsco, Prince William County, Va. One of 18 children born to Lillian “Ada Dell” Owens-Richardson and George Robert Robinson, she was the last surviving child.

Moore attended the only school for Black children near Occoquan, Va., where she completed the eighth grade.

From the third grade through the rest of her schooling she acted as a teacher for the other children in the school. Her mother used to go about her day singing hymns with Moore trailing behind, begging her to teach her the words to the songs she would sing.

At a young age, her father sent off for a piano for her. She was given a few lessons but mostly taught herself, playing by ear.

After a while, the family moved to Washington, D.C., where she stayed until she married Daniel Bond of Windsor, N.C., in 1934. They set up residence in Baltimore, Md., on Stricker St., and in 1937 they were blessed with a daughter, Sheila D. (Bond) Hawthorne. She and Dan separated in 1942, and in March of 1953 she married Roosevelt Moore of Spartanburg, S.C., in Washington, D.C.

They left Baltimore and moved to Philadelphia following Roosevelt’s cousin, Ira Tucker, who was a singer with a little gospel quartet, The Dixie Hummingbirds. This was so that Roosevelt could work promoting the group. In 1954, they were blessed with another daughter, Robin A. (Moore) Cooper Cox, and for a number of years they ran the Peedie Lou Record Shop located on Dauphin St. in North Philadelphia.

However, after 1958, she and Roosevelt separated and things became rather hectic as she moved between Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, and back to Philadelphia. During that period she started working for the U.S. Postal Service and bought a house on Walnut Street in Philadelphia.

After 22 years of being apart, she and Roosevelt reunited in 1980. She retired from the Postal Service and they moved back to Baltimore. While in her 80s, she went to work for the Shaw Bus Co., where she rode school buses as a bus monitor. She and Roosevelt were together until he died in 2001. Since then, Moore has led what she called a “bi-coastal life, with only one coast.” She would split her time between her daughters Sheila in Pikesville, Md., and Robin and son-in-law Errol in Tijeras, N.M.

From the age of 16, Moore was involved with the church. She was one of the original workers during the start-up of the Pentecostal Church of God in Christ under Bishop C. H. Mason. She could sing and play the piano, so she was often asked to work the church circuit, going between Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, the Carolinas and Pennsylvania. It didn’t take long before she became a licensed evangelist, and whatever else she may have done in life, this is what she considered her life’s calling. Even though, for a short while, she left the church.

Moore and her best friend, Sister Rosetta Tharpe moved to New York City. By this time Moore and her guitar were becoming famous. It didn’t take long for Moore to be noticed. Being surrounded by show business people, she got to know, perform with and/or befriend many such as; Red Foxx, Sarah Vaughn, Diana Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker, “Hot Lips” Paige, Billy Eckstein, Tony Bennett, Duke Ellington and Count Basie.

As she found her way back to the church, she got to know many of the gospel groups and singers of her day.

She first tried her hand at writing gospel music in the late ’40s/early ’50s when the Dixie Hummingbirds were in need of new material and it was suggested that she “try and come up with something.” She had been writing ever since.

Some of her songs are: “Jesus He Looked On Me,” “I’ll Keep On Living After I Die”, “Will the Lord Be With Me,” “When I Found Jesus Christ,” “Smooth Sailing,” “It Won’t Be Long” and “Love Your Fellowman.”

In 1989, she received the Philadelphia Music Award from the Philadelphia Music Foundation for “Best Songwriter in Gospel Music.” Lately, she served as an information source for documentaries and books about Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Dixie Hummingbirds, other music greats, and on the formation of the Church of God In Christ.

As a Bible scholar, she knew scripture and had a very developed knowledge of right, wrong, good and bad.

Moore loved this nation and was very politically active. She had an ongoing correspondence with many government officials, beginning with the Eisenhower administration.

Moore is survived by her daughters, Robin and Sheila; son-in-law, Errol; six grandchildren, William Hawthorne, Burshia McCoy, Shedana Patterson, Jennifer Cooper, Dr. Anthony Cooper and Jonathan Cooper; 20 great-grandchildren; and 17 great-great-grandchildren, as well as other relatives and friends.

A viewing was held February 24 at the Vaughn C. Greene Funeral Home, 8728 Liberty Road, Randallstown, Md. Services were held February 25 at Blessed Trinity Church of Deliverance, 4535 Old Court Rd., Pikesville, Md. The burial was at the Delaney Valley Cemetery, 200 E. Padonia Rd., Timonium, Md.

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