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Robert J. Moore, early leader of Port Jefferson Village, dies at 86

Robert J. Moore in May 2014. He died

Robert J. Moore in May 2014. He died Sept. 30, 2014, at 86. Photo Credit: Handout

Robert J. Moore, one of Port Jefferson's first trustees and an early village attorney, died Sept. 30 at the Sunrise of East Setauket assisted living home.

He had been ill since January with vascular dementia. He was 86.

Moore lived for 52 years in Port Jefferson, where he was elected in 1962 to the village's first board of trustees after the municipality formally incorporated. After seven years in that role, he served as the village attorney for 10 years.

He ran his own law practice, but Moore was best known for being among Port Jefferson's first generation of officials who took office in 1963 and helped establish the new local government. Flags in the village were lowered to half-staff at news of his death.

"He's more or less one of the founding fathers of the village," said his wife, Mary Moore, 84. "He's the last one."

Moore helped forge the early years of incorporation along with Mayor Robert Robertson and fellow trustees Walter Berndt, Clifton Lee and William McEwing.

"He was the foundation for practically all of the things I accomplished in my administration," said former Mayor Harold Sheprow. "He was a daily credit to this community in everything he did."

Moore was village attorney during Sheprow's six terms. "He was always very proud of the village, proud that he was such an integral part of it," his wife said.

Moore knew the woman he would marry all of her life. They grew up in the Bronx playing Parcheesi, Chinese checkers and other board games while their parents socialized in the next room. The two started dating in 1950, after running into each other on Fordham Avenue in the Bronx. For some reason, the former Mary Hermann said, that day things were different between them.

A week later, Moore invited her to a Fordham University football game for their first date.

"I was excited because -- this is going to sound trite -- it seemed as though I always loved him," she said. "From the very beginning, there was something there."

They wed in 1953 in Bronxville.

Moore was born in Yonkers and attended Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx in 1945. He served a year in the Navy, based in Pensacola, Florida, before being honorably discharged in 1946. He graduated from Fordham in 1951 and Brooklyn Law School in 1959.

Moore was an active parishioner at Infant Jesus Roman Catholic Church in Port Jefferson. He was a parish council member for 15 years and a parish trustee.

Moore also served on many village commissions and community groups. He was a grand knight for the Knights of Columbus, Joan of Arc Council and was a Paul Harris Fellow for the Port Jefferson Rotary.

"He always felt that Port Jefferson was home," his wife said. "We never had any intention of moving any place else."

In addition to his wife of 61 years, Moore is survived by three daughters, Peggi Battaglia of Port Jefferson, Barbara Baillie of Massapequa, and Tricia McDowell of Cape Coral, Florida; one son, Robert Jr. of Moriches; and five grandchildren.

Burial was at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Port Jefferson.

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