MOORE, JERRY COCREHAM (1925 ~ 2017). The following is an obituary for Jerry Cocreham Moore, spouse of Joe Grady Moore. The obituary was provided by Weed, Corley, Fish Funeral Home of Austin.
Longtime Austin resident Jerry Cocreham Moore, 92, died Wednesday, May 3, at Hospice of East Texas in Tyler. Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Monday, May 15, at First Baptist Church in Austin. Burial will follow in the Texas State Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 14, at Weed-Corley-Fish North Funeral Home in Austin.
Jerry's mission in life was to help people. She sought to bring joy to each person she met – to encourage them, to comfort them, to mourn or rejoice with them. She was a servant leader long before that term became popular.
In 1960, Jerry found her true calling as director of placement in the College of Business Administration at The University of Texas at Austin. She spent the next eight years helping college seniors find jobs. Jerry was the first full-time placement director at the university, and she had a hands-on approach. When she thought a student would be a good fit for a position, she called the employer and told him why he should hire that student.
It's fitting that she retired 35 years later from a similar post: director of career planning and placement at The University of Texas at Dallas in Richardson. During her 20 years at UT Dallas, Jerry helped hundreds of students find jobs and careers. Many of "my students," as she called them, credited her with helping them find their direction in life and kept in touch with her long after they graduated.
While at UT Austin, Jerry shared her knowledge of placement services with several historically black universities, including Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, and Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri.
A lifelong Democrat, Jerry was an active member of the League of Women Voters during most of her life. In Austin during the 1950s and 1960s, she was involved in the league's work to overturn the poll tax – a tax on voting used by southern states to deny African-Americans and other racial minorities their right to vote. Texas' poll tax was in effect until 1966, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.
Jerry came from a long line of women who stood up for what they believed, and it showed. In 1944, she was among thousands of UT students who marched to the State Capitol in Austin to protest the firing of President Homer Price Rainey by the UT board of regents. In an era when most married women were homemakers, she had her own career separate from that of her husband, Joe Grady Moore, Jr., whom she married on Nov. 13, 1948, in her hometown of Trinity, Texas.
She was born March 27, 1925, in San Antonio, grew up in Trinity, and received a bachelor's of science degree from UT Austin in 1957. Her degree was in home economics, with an emphasis in costume design. She loved UT and was known to say, "I bleed orange blood" to show the depth of her feelings for "The University."
A lifelong friend called Jerry the only true Christian she had ever known, because she helped people regardless of their beliefs, lifestyle, race, or station in life. In June 1974, Jerry was ordained along with two other women as deacons at First Baptist Church in Austin; they were among the first female Baptist deacons in Texas.
Her honors include the John M. Brooks Award for Meritorious Service to the Southwest Placement Association, The University of Texas Honor Service Award, and the U.S. Air Force Honorary Recruiter Award. She served as president of the Southwest Placement Association, as a College Placement Council board member, and as vice president of the Austin Society for Public Administration.
Jerry is survived by son Joe Grady Moore, III, of Austin; daughter Anntoinette "Toni" Moore and her husband Phil Clymer of Tyler; and her first cousins Dr. Joe Frank Thornton and wife Mary Ellen, of Trinity, and Letty Lou Thornton of Oxnard, California. Other survivors include brother-in-law George Moore, of Austin; sister-in-law Rae Jean Moore, of Denton; sister-in-law Bettye Moore of Elgin, and other cousins on the Moore family side. Other survivors include cousins Albert Newnam and wife Marisa, of Salem, Oregon; John Frank Newnam of Austin; Elizabeth Newnam of San Francisco; Dr. Robert Frank Thornton and wife Amanda, of Tyler; Anna Lisa Thornton Jackson and husband Martin of Conifer, Colorado; Myk Thornton and wife Shannon of Grand Junction, Colorado; Douglas Thornton of Bay City, Texas; and Ann Thornton Powers of West Columbia, Texas.
In addition to her husband, Jerry was preceded in death by her parents, John Taylor Cocreham and Velma Irene Thornton, and her sister, Elizabeth Ann Cocreham.
The family offers heartfelt thanks to two exceptional women who helped take care of Jerry since her 2009 diagnosis of dementia. They are Colleen Green of Del Valle and Rena Trent of Tyler. In addition, the family thanks Dr. Laura Guerrero of Austin Diagnostic Clinic and her staff, as well as the medical professionals and caregivers in Tyler at Hospice of East Texas, Christus Mother Frances Hospital, UT Health Northeast, Providence Park Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing, and Atria Copeland for their kindness and loving care of Jerry during the final years of her life.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Joe and Jerry Moore Scholarship in Water Resources, Texas State University Foundation, 601 University, San Marcos, Texas 78666; or to First Baptist Church in Austin, 901 Trinity Street, Austin, Texas 78701.