Mary Moore and her dad James, aka Papa Bear, had an exceptionally close relationship. Here’s a bit more about what made is so special.
Tell us a about your relationship with your dad as you grew up
Oh, my! My dad was incredibly attentive, creative, charismatic and doting. He’s been the strongest nurturing figure in my life, and still challenged me to grow as a person. He also strongly set the Moore family values of being giving and kind. We truly enjoyed our family time.
What is your favorite memory of your dad from when you were younger?
He was very playful, so he would build snow bears (complete with rock eyes and stick claws) for my brother and me in the winter, make ordinary outings into adventures, make my bed into a tent and stuffed animal fairyland, tape hours of cartoon specials on television for us, and make up the best songs to sing to us. He had a wondrous singing voice a la’ Bing Crosby.
How did your relationship with your dad change over your lifetime?
As I grew into adolescence and adulthood, my dad encouraged me to carve my own path so to speak, and get a job early on. He thought it was important to appreciate the value of hard work, and to build relationships with co-workers and within the community.
How did your dad influence your life?
My dad was the most selflessly giving man I ever met and inspired me to appreciate the opportunities we all have to help and connect and be loving. I can’t tell you how many vehicles he gave to folks who needed them, or how many meals he prepared for others, how many poor children he bought cute blankets and toys for. I remember, as a child, how my dad would sit on the porch of our apartment building and fix up bicycles until the sun went down. He thought every kid deserved to have a bike.
He passed away in 2018, but for my whole life he looked like Santa Claus. Children would approach him and say, “I know who you are!” He always told me that Santa Claus was “the spirit of giving.” This poignant phrase still creates magic in each Christmas for me, as I can thoughtfully find the best ways to give to those I love, or to do what I like to call “Secret good deeds.”
What qualities do you share with your dad?
I definitely inherited my love for sharing words of affirmation and doing good deeds from my dad. I’m also whimsical, and try to understand and appreciate people for who they are. My dad would get to know folks without passing judgement, and had a way of making people feel warm and appreciated. I try to honor his spirit by being that way too.
Did your dad have a favorite quote or mantra?
My ol’ Papa Bear liked to say, “Your word is your bond.” He believed we should all be true to our word, and held himself to a high moral standard.