The Rev. Berkley Leroy Moore, died on January 4, 2018 at the age of 85.
Berkley was born on August 7, 1932 in Youngstown, OH to James Berkley Moore and Lillian V.B. Moore (née Lundgren). He graduated from Pennsylvania’s Grove City College in 1954 with a Bachelor of Science. Berkley worked for three years as a chemical engineering researcher before attending Massachusetts’s Harvard Divinity School, where he earned his Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1960.
Rev. Moore was ordained by the now-defunct All Souls Unitarian Church in Windsor, VT on April 14, 1961; given the UU consolidation in May of that year, Berkley appears to have been the last ordained Unitarian minister. He simultaneously served All Souls and the First Universalist Church of Hartland, VT until 1965. In that year Rev. Moore was called to serve two congregations in Minnesota: the First Unitarian Church in Virginia (1965 – 1968) and the UU Congregation of Duluth (1965 – 1969). After moving to Springfield, IL in 1970 Berkley began working as an engineer for the state’s Environmental Protection Agency. At that time Rev. Moore began serving the Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation as their unofficial part-time minister—performing wedding and memorial services—until the church called a settled minister in 1981. Over the years Berkley continued to serve the Springfield church in various capacities, and was also a supply preacher to many congregations in central Illinois. In 1995, after 25 years of membership and service, the Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation named Rev. Moore their Minister Emeritus.
In addition to his parish ministry, Rev. Moore served the Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation for a time as their Board President and the Chair of their Program Committee. Berkley also taught adult religious education classes at the congregation. He was also a member of the Prairie Group of ministers for many years.
Berkley was known for his scholarly curiosity and tremendous knowledge across a vast range of subjects, from history to genetics to religion and particularly music, with deep interest in classical, jazz and traditional folk music. He authored several hymns himself, including lyrics for “Let Love Continue Long” in the UU hymnal How Can We Keep from Singing? (1976) and the tune for “Kelham” in Missouri Harmony (2005). Rev Moore was also an active member of the Illinois shape note singing community, and being a virtual expert on folk hymns he shared his enthusiasm and knowledge on this subject with many in Illinois and across the country. Additionally, Berkley served as a delegate for Jimmy Carter at the 1976 Democratic National Convention. And Berkley was a dedicated father, and loved traveling to many destinations around the world with his sons.
He is survived by his sons James B. Moore and Erik P. Moore (Tom Liberty); his former wife Kathryn VanBuskirk (née Holland), mother of James and Erik; his former wife and longtime friend Barbara Moore; his brother-in-law David Culp; and his nieces and nephews Kenneth Culp, Lillian Williamson (Jon), and Carl Culp (Tina). Berkley was predeceased by his sister Hildalee Culp.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the UU Service Committee. Donations by mail can be sent to UUSC, PO Box 808, Newark, NJ 07101-0808.
A celebration of life will be held at 2pm on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at the Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation, 745 Woodside Rd, Springfield, IL 62711.
Notes of condolence can be sent to the Moore family at email@example.com.