Ivor Jerry Moore was born Sept. 21, 1941 in Jamestown, New York, son of the late Pastor Ivor and Eugenia Moore. Jerry’s early years were in Mumford, New York and Gary, Indiana. When Jerry was 13, his parents accepted the call to pastor Walker Memorial Baptist Church in Harlem. He attended James Monroe High School, excelled as a football player and began his musical journey as a trumpet player and DooWop singer. Jerry also ministered in song with his mother and brother Donald at Walker Memorial.
Upon graduating high school, he received a football scholarship and attended Morris College in Sumter, South Carolina, but because of a collar bone injury, Jerry turned to music, and was given a full scholarship for the Morris College choir.
During the 60’s racial tensions were high in America. Jerry and a friend went to a restaurant in South Carolina and dared to sit inside, in spite of the “Whites Only” sign. This created a major conflict in Sumter and Jerry was put in jail. About a month later he was jailed in Alabama after joining the now famous Freedom Riders. Jerry devoted the next few years to the civil rights movement.
He completed his degree at Morris College and returned to New York City. By now he was playing the guitar, writing and singing wherever he could. A Columbia Records’ producer caught Jerry’s show in Greenwich Village and signed him. His single, “Love Is Everywhere,” had been targeted to top the charts, but the pain of the civil rights movement pushed him toward Black Nationalism and Islam. It was during this time he played in Greenwich Village in the coffee shops and clubs with Richie Havens and many others.
He formed a band called “The Children Of God” with Eddie Leftwich, Gil Silva and Chris Sigwald. The band immediately got attention for their original R&B sound and Jerry’s strong vocals.
Jerry landed a record deal and moved to Woodstock. At that time the music movement was on fire, and Woodstock was filled with places to play and eager audiences. And Jerry was always ready to perform at countless benefit shows that helped community members who needed a hand.
Cynthia Esposito, pregnant with Jerry’s baby, moved to Los Angeles. The band scene in town was in a decline by then, and Jerry was struggling to keep the Jerry Moore Work Band working. He was excited about becoming a father, so he moved to LA. Everything was different now. His love for his son caused a tremendous change in him.
His brother, Pastor Don Moore of the Living Word Chapel says that when Jerry’s appendix ruptured, he died on the operating table, saw the reality of heaven and hell, and heard the voice of God. Coming back into his body, he was now truly born again. He soon met his wife Elsa, and became a devoted father and faithful husband. Jerry was drug free and used all of his gifts and talents in a righteous way. He learned the piano and was looking for ways to serve the less fortunate. He began feeding people spiritually and physically at a drug infested motel in L.A. He also started a program at Thanksgiving to feed hundreds of people.
Jerry’s son Jason died in a tragic car accident at the young age of 18. But out of this Jerry was motivated to teach as many youth as he could, making sure his gifts in computer science and music were carried on across economic and denominational lines. He ministered at many churches in California and New York. In August of 2000, having seen Jerry’s demonstration of Christian ministry, the elders of Living Word Chapel ordained him as a minister of the Gospel.
He leaves Elsa, his wife of 24 years; his brother Donald and sister-in-law Cynthia; nephews Jamin, Ethan, and Laban and his wife Tiffany; and two grand nieces, Gianella and Letizia.
Pastor Don Moore: “We were going to record a new album next spring, and hoped to involve Ellen McIlwaine. Obviously that will not be accomplished, but in the archives we found enough material to put together one last Jerry Moore album. He was loved by many, and will truly be missed.”
There will be a Memorial Concert and video at the Woodstock Community Center on Wednesday, October 7 at 7 p.m. All musicians who loved and/or played with Jerry are invited to join in. Everyone is welcome to attend.