McCrabb: The music, friendship ended too soon when William ‘Kippy’ Moore died

William "Kippy" Moore performs at his CD release party at the Rising Phoenix Theater in Middletown in 2005. Moore, 58, a 1981 Middletown High School graduate, died April 2. FILE PHOTO,

Credit: AP

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William "Kippy" Moore performs at his CD release party at the Rising Phoenix Theater in Middletown in 2005. Moore, 58, a 1981 Middletown High School graduate, died April 2. FILE PHOTO,

Credit: AP

William “Kippy” Moore was a quiet, mild-mannered man who you probably wouldn’t remember if you saw him at a party.

That is, unless there was a microphone handy.

Then he turned into “The Unforgettable Entertainer.”

The first time I experienced this transformation was years ago when The Middletown Journal sponsored the entertainment at the Christmas Balloon Glow at Smith Park. On this particular year, one of the church choirs that was scheduled to sing called me at the last minute and said it had to cancel.

That left me with a hole in the entertainment lineup.

I knew Moore worked at Universal Studios in California and had a musical background, and since he was the publisher’s assistant at the newspaper, I asked him if he could sing.

“I can do two or three,” he told me.

“Songs?” I asked.

“No sets,” he said.

He brought several CDs, told the disc jockey what songs to play and then the fun began. I introduced Moore to the chilly crowd, handed him the microphone, and suddenly Moore turned Smith Park into a Vegas lounge act.

It was like Kippy walked out of a phone booth and became a singing Superman.

His voice changed. His mannerism changed. He was a different man, this William “Kippy” Moore.

The music stopped on April 2 when Moore, a 1981 Middletown High School graduate, died of colon cancer. He was 58.

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His death has left all of us in shock. He can’t be dead we keep telling ourselves. He was so full of life.

How could a person who constantly smiled bring us to tears? We just wanted one more minute with Moore, one more song.

The outpouring of love from the Middletown community and beyond since his death has been overwhelming. I’m still waiting for someone to say something, anything, negative about that guy. Those words never will be spoken.

If you needed to feel better about yourself, Moore was your man.

Besides working at The Middletown Journal, Moore served as program director at the Middletown Senior Citizens Center, student services at Cincinnati State and program director at the Dayton Salvation Army Kroc Center.

Moore represented the Second Ward on Middletown City Council, but resigned after fulfilling two years of his four-year term.

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His fingerprints are everywhere in the Middletown and Dayton arts community.

His visitation is set from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday at the Sorg Opera House, 63 S. Main St., Middletown. Two hours won’t be enough.

A couple of years ago, I covered the Memorial Day Parade in Middletown. Parade organizer Jeri Lewis said Moore never hesitated to sing after the parade at Woodside Cemetery.

“He just knew what God had gifted him with,” she said. “He knew his call, his purpose. He was so humble about it.”

I hadn’t seen Moore for a few years when we spotted each other at the park.

“Get over here,” he told me.

Then he gave me a big bear hug.

I have lost two great men to colon cancer. My dad, only 56 years old, died in 1984, and William “Kippy” Moore. With my family history of colon cancer, I have routine colonoscopies as directed by my family doctor. I started when I was 40. That was 21 years ago.

Anyone will tell you, the worst part of a colonoscopy is the prep. And the worst part of losing someone to colon cancer is not being prepared to say goodbye.

More online

See a photo gallery of Kip Moore’s life in our community.

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