Mr. Donald A. Moors, age 92, formerly of Bennington, VT and Pittsfield, MA, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, December 25, 2018 at his son’s home in Lanesboro surrounded by his loving family.
Don was born in North Adams on April 12, 1926 to the late Frank W. Moors and the late Lydia Mae (Platner) Blanchard. He was educated in the North Adams schools, and was a 1943 graduate of Drury High School.
Don served in the US Army during World War II, stationed primarily in the Philippines. During the Korean War, he was stationed stateside where he taught map-reading. He was honorably discharged at the rank of 1st Lieutenant in 1961.
After his military service, Don worked as an industrial engineer with General Electric and then Eaton Paper in Pittsfield. In the early 1970s, Don moved his family to Bennington, VT where he began working for Green Mountain Furniture.
He was a member of the Pittsfield Masonic Lodge for many years, serving two terms as Master. Don volunteered with the Civil Air Patrol, ultimately serving as Bennington Squadron Commander and rising to the rank of Lt. Colonel. He participated in countless search and rescue missions for downed aircraft in the Vermont and northern Berkshire County areas over his 25 years of service.
Don’s love of music began early, singing in North Adams church choirs from the age of 8. He became an accomplished pianist and composer, even though he never learned to read music. He composed music performed at the Drury High School 1945 graduation ceremony. Throughout his life, Don would play piano whenever and wherever he could find an available instrument. When Don was scheduled to play one outdoor show in the Philippines, rain threatened to keep his audience away. Insisting to the commander that the concert not be cancelled, Don was gratified to look up from the stage to see a hillside packed with poncho-wearing troops. His part-time career as a piano tuner took him from the opulent palaces of Manilla back to the private homes of Berkshire County, where his most famous client was Cole Porter.
Throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s Don made countless appearances throughout the area, playing for weddings and other public events. He regularly provided the entertainment at local eateries, most notably the Dreamaway Lodge. Despite the character of many of his venues, Don maintained a strict, lifelong abstinence from alcohol.
His composition “Berkshire Rhapsody” was written in the late 1950’s, inspired by the people and places Don knew. Don enlisted a fellow musician to painstakingly transcribe the Rhapsody over what must have been several labor-intensive sessions. The Rhapsody was recorded more than once in local studios with the composer at the piano. In 2014, at age 88, Don was finally able to hear a professional performance of the piece at a recital in his honor at the Berkshire Music School.
Don was a member of the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church choir in Bennington for more than 20 years, and he later sang at St. James Episcopal Church in Arlington, VT. While recuperating from an illness in his late 80’s, Don discovered a little-used piano in the rehab center’s common area. As he began incorporating piano-playing into his recovery, Don became a vocal advocate for the link between music and healing. He dedicated his last years to volunteering at various local retirement and rehab facilities, playing his old favorites for the grateful residents.
Don married the former Carolyn Morrison of Pittsfield on October 28, 1961. Don will also be missed by their four children, Lyndon Moors and his wife Joan Devoe of Lanesboro, Stephen Moors and his wife Colleen of Florida, Carol Shick and her husband Courtney of Framingham, and Donna Moors of Brookline, two sons from a previous marriage, Kent (Marina) and Gary (Candice) Moors, both of Florida, and four grandchildren, Jordan, Ashlyn, and McKayla Moors and Justin Shick. He also leaves his sister, Virginia “Ginger” Houston of Las Vegas, many nieces and nephews, and his favorite waitress, Brenda from Zucco’s Family Restaurant. Don was predeceased by two sisters, Barbara Martens and Gloria Moors, and his brother Robert Moors.
SERVICES: Calling Hours for Don will be SATURDAY, December 29th from 10-11am with a funeral service to begin at 11am at the DEVANNY-CONDRON FUNERAL HOME. Burial will follow at Pittsfield Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to HospiceCare in the Berkshires or Berkshire Music School, both in care of the funeral home.