WGA/ESF remembers longtime leader Jim Moore

WGA/ESF remembers longtime leader Jim Moore

GOLF, Illinois (Wednesday, Aug. 13) – James E. Moore, who dedicated his career to helping thousands of deserving caddies attend college through the Western Golf Association’s Evans Scholars Program, has passed away. He was 73.

During his tenure, Mr. Moore helped lead the nonprofit’s growth from 600 Scholars in school and 1,000 Alumni to having 870 Scholars in school and 9,990 Alumni. He served the Program for 47 years, longer than any other WGA employee, in several capacities, including as educational director and senior vice president of foundation advancement.

“Our hearts and thoughts go out to Jim’s family and all of those whose lives he so deeply touched in his leadership roles at the Western Golf Association,” said WGA Chairman Dennis O’Keefe. “Jim was a pillar of our organization and the face of the Evans Scholars Foundation to thousands of young men and women who received the Evans Scholarship over the past five decades. He will be greatly missed.”

The Evans Scholars Program, administered by the Western Golf Association in Golf, Illinois, is one of golf’s favorite charities and among the nation’s largest privately funded scholarship programs. Each year, more than 240 full housing and tuition college scholarships are awarded to caddies who show outstanding academic, leadership and caddie records, as well as financial need.
On 14 college campuses across the country where there is an Evans Scholarship chapter, recipients live together in a Scholarship House, excelling in the classroom and in the community. 

Mr. Moore first arrived at the Western Golf Association as assistant educational director in 1967, helping then-longtime Educational Director Roland F. “Mac” McGuigan with the growing needs of the Evans Scholars Program. Previously, Moore taught at Rich Central High School in Park Forest, Illinois, where he was a football and tennis coach.

From 1989 to 2008, Moore served as educational director, and he worked tirelessly to improve living conditions for all Scholars. During this time, every one of the Program’s 14 Scholarship Houses was replaced or upgraded through renovation or purchase of new property.

He made numerous visits to the chapters and met with hundreds of Scholars each year, advising them on academics and personal matters. He maintained close ties with many Alums, serving as a mentor and friend as they built their careers.

Notable achievements include:

  • An increase in academic standards for Evans Scholars.
  • An increase in diversity among the Evans Scholars.
  • The introduction of co-ed living in the Evans Scholars Program.
  • The requirement that all chapters have an annual philanthropy or community service project.
  • The re-introduction of resident advisors to the Program to help emphasize chapter living.

Every day, Mr. Moore looked forward to coming to work.

“Without question, the greatest reward is (that) I have been the first person from the WGA to talk to these young people in a one-on-one interview about the scholarship,” Mr. Moore recently recalled. “When I see them as frightened, nervous youngsters coming in for that preliminary interview and then, years later, to know them as successful men and women in their careers, there’s a great deal of satisfaction in seeing that transformation and hopefully to being a part of it, to have assisted in a small way.”

In 2008, Mr. Moore became senior vice president of foundation advancement, helping to develop a loyal base of supporters to guarantee Program funding for future Evans Scholars.

Also in 2008, the Evans Scholars Alumni Association established the James E. Moore Endowed Named Scholarship in honor of his more than 40 years of service to the WGA. His legacy also lives on through the James E. Moore Scholarship Trophy, which is annually awarded to the Evans Scholarship chapter with the highest overall cumulative GPA.

“Jim’s legacy also is evident through the lives of the thousands of young people he helped during his many years of service to the Evans Scholars Foundation,” said John Kaczkowski, WGA president and CEO. “He was a father, uncle and brother to many of the caddies he mentored and who grew to know him, most of all, as a friend. We’re saddened to know he will no longer be here to help us with our mission to educate caddies, but we know the work he did in his tenure here has laid a firm foundation for the future. His spirit remains with us in the lives of those thousands of caddies he so greatly impacted.”

Mr. Moore, of Green Oaks, Illinois, was born on March 3, 1941, in Champaign, Illinois. At a very young age, he moved to Fairbury, Illinois, later excelling in sports at Fairbury High School. He played college basketball at Illinois State University. His interests included sports, golf and spending time with his grandchildren.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Benjamin “Guy” and Edith Moore, and one sister, Janice (Rohrer). He is survived by wife Jermayne Moore, son Jeffrey Moore, daughter Rebecca “Becky” Palmieri, son-in-law Thomas Palmieri, and his grandchildren: Dolores Andres Palmieri, Jonathan Michael Palmieri, Kathleen “Katie” Jermayne Moore and Kyra Elizabeth Moore. Also surviving are two sisters: June (Larry) Green and Jane (John) Brown.

A celebration of life service is being planned for a later date.