Edward H. Moore Jr., 80, of Clayton, a longtime school administrator in the Washington Township School District who was known for his gentle demeanor, died after a long illness Tuesday, May 25, at South Jersey Hospital in Elmer.

For 27 years Mr. Moore was a calm, easygoing school official during the day. But at night and on weekends, he captivated audiences in town with his wide-ranging vocal and acting skills.

Music was always a big part of Mr. Moore's life, from youth through his retirement.

But his passion was teaching and helping oversee all the functions of the schools in the Washington Township district, which grew constantly during his service, his wife, Jane, said.

"They were building a school almost each year," she said.

Mr. Moore served mostly as assistant superintendent and was interim superintendent a couple of times during his tenure, which ended in 1983, his wife said.

"He was always insightful . . . he looked at both sides, which was a treat in school administration," former colleague Thomas Mazzola of Pitman said.

Mr. Moore was born and raised in Clayton and graduated from Clayton High School in 1948. From there he went to Glassboro State College, but in 1951, during his senior year, he left to join the Air Force.

In 1952, he married his high school sweetheart, Jane Stewart.

Mr. Moore attained the rank of sergeant in the Air Force. He mostly worked in payroll and other desk duties. But he got some excitement when he was stationed on Johnston Island in the Pacific, which was basically a mile-long island with an Air Force landing strip, his wife said.

Once he returned to South Jersey in 1955, Mr. Moore finished his bachelor's degree at Glassboro State and then completed a master's degree in education while working as a seventh- and eighth-grade teacher in Washington Township. His favorite subject to teach was history.

A few years later, he rose to assistant superintendent of the district.

Mr. Moore often went fishing with friends from the district, including Mazzola, who was elementary school guidance director. During one expedition, he said, a storm caught them by surprise and the three-man party had to be rescued by an Army boat.

As usual, Mazzola said, Mr. Moore remained cool and collected.

"He was always in control of his emotions . . . that's the reason why he was so successful in education," Mazzola said.

Mr. Moore was also part of the now-defunct Script Teasers Community Theatre Group, where he often played lead roles.

On weekends, he sang during services at First Presbyterian Church of Clayton, where he was a deacon and member of the board of elders. He was also church treasurer for several years, his wife said.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Moore is survived by daughters Barbara Boyle, Pamela Strickland, and Elaine Awalt; and six grandchildren. Another daughter, Dorothy Lynn, died in 1958.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 6, at the First Presbyterian Church of Clayton, 205 N. Delsea Dr., in Clayton.

Contact staff writer Claudia Vargas at 856-779-3917 or cvargas@phillynews.com.