JACKSONVILLE, Fla — In 1995, Jacksonville's Veteran's Memorial Wall was dedicated as a tribute to those who served and were killed in action.
It is the labor and commitment of insurance agent Ray Moore.
"Ray and I met in 1981," said Ed Lawhon. "This was his brainchild."
Moore died Oct. 20 due to a cardiac condition. The father, businessman and a Rotarian, always had a smile on his face and respect for veterans in his heart.
"Ray spent several years researching this for veterans and gathering up money to get it built," said Lawhon.
Moore never served in the armed services, but he wanted to find a way to recognize his classmates from Andrew Jackson high who did and died while in service.
But according to Lawhon, he realized that there should be a standing tribute to all veterans and that's where his journey began.
"As he got into doing it he asked why should I limit this to Jackson high we need a memorial for Duval County," said Lawhon.
Harrison Conyers with the city's Military Affairs and Veterans Department said he and Moore spoke almost every day.
Conyers said Moore gave service above self.
He was diligent in his effort to be sure no veteran went without his due recognition.
"He read every Jacksonville newspaper from 1915 forward to make sure he did not miss a name in the obituaries," said Conyers."He not only put the names on the wall, but he knew the stories."
Conyers said Moore's love for this community is undeniable.
He served the youth sport programs and many other projects, but his heart was for veterans.
"This monument exists because of his work and the work of others, but this community is a better place because Ray Moore walked our streets," said Conyers.
He was a Rotarian with the Club of North Jacksonville and received many awards for his service.
The club paid tribute with this posting:
ROTARIANS and Friends of and from the Club of North Jacksonville as well as from the Jacksonville-Area Veterans Community. are deeply saddened by the sudden departure and passing on October 20th, 2021 of our friend, Past Rotary President Ray Moore- a hard-working, long time Member of the North Jacksonville Rotary Family since 1981. He is widely renowned for his research, creation and fundraising initiatives which helped design and construct the granite Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Wall which is located in the vicinity of TIAA Field- home of the Jaguars. This Memorial is a great tribute to the more than 2,000 Jacksonville-Area Service Men and Women , and their families. This outdoor monument is an accomplishment for which Ray is widely recognized as ‘The Father of the Wall’ and it is currently promoted as one of the largest of its kind honoring active duty and reserve-component soldiers, marines, sailors, airmen, coast guard and merchant marines.
Also, please note that Ray is a five-time ROTARY International Paul Harris Fellow; and, for his exemplary community and humanitarian service Ray was awarded, in 2013, from the Board of Rotary International in Evanston, Illinois, the SERVICE ABOVE SELF AWARD. This is the highest honor for an individual Rotarian, Ray’s death is a very tragic loss for his wife, Jan, and his family; and, for our District 6970 Rotarians and Veterans Community. Jacksonville has certainly witnessed his dedication as a true Servant Leader. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt condolences are with Jan and the entire Moore Family. We will miss Ray dearly.”
Ray Moore's funeral service is planned for Thursday at North Jacksonville Baptist Church.