Jack Lindahl Moore, age 93, of Tullahoma, passed away on Tuesday, July 11, 2023. Jack was a unique force of nature, treasured by his family, friends, and even strangers for his clever and disarming sense of humor, his highly original artwork, and his ability to connect with anyone and everyone he talked to simply by asking, “What’s your name and who are your people?”
Jack, the son of Frank and Eva Carnes Moore, was born in Bessemer, Alabama on July 24, 1929 and grew up in Birmingham. He became a member of the Army National Guard and later served as a medic in the Korean War. Jack’s experiences in the Korean conflict influenced his decision to join the organization Veterans for Peace in his later years.
After he completed his military service, he returned to a job as an assistant electrician at Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company in Birmingham. Subsequently, he attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa where he received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art. During his time at UA, he met Rosa Lee Smith, who would become his wife for sixty-seven years. Jack and Rosa Lee were an interesting couple to be around, and one could always count on a stimulating conversation and exchange of opinions while in their presence.
While Jack was pursuing his master’s degree, he worked as a commercial artist at Gulf States Paper Mill in Tuscaloosa. Jack would go on to be a professor, teaching at several universities in the South and Midwest before becoming the first art professor at Motlow State Community College in Tullahoma in 1969. He touched the lives of many students during his thirty-year tenure at Motlow, influencing his students to experiment with thinking out of the box. Jack was true to himself and marched to the beat of a different drummer, to which those who belonged to his art class marching band would attest.
Jack was known primarily as an artist, recognized for his unique abstract figurative style and passion for recycled materials, proving literally that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. His art was a reflection of his personality – unpretentious, unconventional, and eclectic. Jack was devoted to his craft, investing many hours in solitude creating his art. His work, which spanned decades, includes ceramic pottery, clay sculpture, cardboard sculpture, oil and acrylic paintings on wood and cardboard, the latter rescued from Tractor Supply’s refuse. When asked about his art, he once said, “I’m probably as interested visually in things that are thrown away as I am in things that are kept. There is a message to it as I think we throw away too much. I keep the things that would otherwise be thrown away and present them as images that are interesting to look at.” Jack cared deeply for the earth and those who live on it, particularly the working poor, and this passion is reflected in much of his artwork. His family will always recall him sitting in his well-worn leather chair in the living room of his Tullahoma home, as he filled notebook after notebook with ink, acrylic pen, and marker drawings, accompanied by his own written reflections. Some of Jack’s early art, along with that of several renowned artists, is included in a special collection at the University of Alabama.
Jack loved telling detailed stories about his family of origin and his own interesting life experiences to his family and friends. He also had several unusual hobbies – most notably, he was fascinated with graphic art commercial logos and collected antique metal signs featuring these logos. Never one to waste something that he felt could be considered art, he saved hundreds of stickers from various items. If you were to open any book inside the Moore home today, you might find on any given page a Chiquita banana sticker, a barcode from the back of a DVD salvaged from a used media store, or even a bumper sticker that caught Jack’s eye but never made it onto his hand-painted car. His family will forever remember the one-of-a-kind postcards that he made out of recycled materials, that included his original art and written musings and quotes with the mantra, “Support Your Local Mail Carrier.”
In addition to his parents, Jack is preceded in death by his brother, Bill Moore of Pelham, AL. He is survived by his wife, Rosa Lee Moore; three daughters, Gretchen Caskey (Grady) of Walland, TN, Mandy Moore of Tullahoma, TN, and Emilie Madigan (Paul) of Murfreesboro, TN; one brother, Paul Moore (JoAnn) of Smoke Rise, AL; four grandchildren, Valerie Sanders (Mischa Goldman) of Knoxville, TN, Colin Sanders (Gillian Yeoh) of Knoxville, TN, Chloe Madigan of Nashville, TN, and Natalie Madigan of Nashville, TN; one great-grandchild, Avishai Sanders-Goldman of Knoxville, TN; and one nephew and multiple nieces.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Tullahoma Fine Arts Center or the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Following a private burial, a celebration of life will be held at the Tullahoma Fine Arts Center on Saturday, August 12, 2023, from 2:00-5:00 pm. The family invites friends and all interested to come by and enjoy refreshments, share memories, and experience some of Jack’s artwork.
Daves-Culbertson Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.