Remembering Lige (1927-2020)
By Rev. Keith E. Lawder, GUMF President/CEO
I first met Elijah “Lige” F. Moore Jr. in 1987 at a trade association meeting. I had just come to Atlanta as part of a bank merger. Lige was already a legend who had trained a generation of bankers at our rival, Trust Company Bank. I met him again 20 years later. Having become a pastor, I joined the Georgia United Methodist Foundation’s loan committee. Lige had served as the Foundation’s executive director, trustees chair, and loan committee chair. He had taken the Foundation from a new idea to a vital ministry. And he was humble, gracious, and wise.
Lige recruited Rev. Bob Fletcher (current president/CEO of the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation) to serve as the Foundation’s first full-time president. He guided the establishment of our loan program and provided sage counsel and leadership during the merger with the South Georgia United Methodist Foundation. Fletcher remembers Lige as a “mentor for my life, my ministry, and my career. He did not fear change. He led us through it.”
Rev. Charles “Chuck” W. Savage II, who followed Bob as our next president, remembers Lige for his wisdom and character. “He was always available and tremendously helpful whenever we needed him. He was a gentle giant!” Savage said.
When I came on board in early 2016, Lige had backed off on a daily basis, but was always available and alwyas willing to help any way he could. Lige defined servant leadership before the term became popular. The Foundation honored Lige by naming him chairman emeritus, dedicating our conference room after him, and most recently by establishing the Elijah F. Moore Jr. Servant Leadership Award to recognize staff members or volunteers who exemplify Lige’s spirit.
After reading Lige’s obituary, I realized his servant leadership played out in all areas of his life. He was active in his community, church, the North Georgia Conference, and with Habitat for Humanity, Camp Glisson, Murphy-Harpst, and the Housing and Homeless Council. His children remember him as an attentive, giving father and grandfather. Each one uses words like wonderful, generous, and loving. They watched as Lige and Ena (married 69 years) set the example for a loving couple.
We remember Lige today as one who blessed us with his love, caring spirit, intellect, and servant’s heart. Until we meet again, Lige, thank you!