Dorothy Jane Moore, 99, a pillar of Shiloh Baptist Church in Philadelphia, died Monday, Dec. 21.
Ms. Moore was born in Jacksonville, Fla., and moved with her family at age 2 to Philadelphia. She attended city public schools, graduating from Barrett Junior High and William Penn High School for Girls. She also studied at what is now Peirce College.
Ms. Moore briefly worked for the U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Treasury Department, and Cuneo Press, but most of her career - and life - revolved around Shiloh Baptist Church at 20th and Christian Streets.
In 1937, at age 21, Ms. Moore became Shiloh's general church secretary, a title that belied her role. She held the job for 73 years.
"Everything revolved around Dorothy," one member noted in a church history.
Ms. Moore touched nearly everything at Shiloh. She was responsible for maintaining books, records, and finances, and the systems she implemented were replicated at churches throughout the city, her family said.
She was also a historian. She worked with older members - some former slaves - who lived in the Shiloh Home for the Aged and Infirm. And by virtue of her longevity, Ms. Moore was a resource for church members who wondered what things were like in the old days.
"When she grew up, preachers were still talking about the Titanic," said Margaret Lassiter, a cousin.
Ms. Moore was named Shiloh's first female church trustee in 1957. She served in a number of other capacities, including as a Sunday school teacher.
She was also the well-loved "Granddot" to many nieces and nephews and helped rear a host of cousins, including Lassiter. Ms. Moore lived in South Philadelphia with a first cousin whose family took her in after her own parents died; in turn, she helped raise her large extended clan.
She was devoted to her family, and deeply principled.
Among Ms. Moore's favorite sayings were "Principles over personalities," "Your manners take you where your money won't," and "Look beyond people's faults and see their need."
She loved to read in her spare time, mostly Christian authors.
Growing up with Ms. Moore, lessons in faith and kindness abounded, Lassiter said. And she was a stickler for church attendance. Children who didn't go to service didn't get allowance, Lassiter said.
"She gave us a foundation - values," said Lassiter. "She always reminded us of what was important."
Pleasant until the end of her life, Ms. Moore also got to church as often as she could. Her health began to fail when she turned 99 in September.
In addition to her cousin, survivors include a brother and nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Friends may call on Wednesday, Dec. 30, at 10 a.m. at Shiloh Baptist Church, 2040 Christian St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19146, where a funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Memorial donations may be made to the church.