Ten decades, 5,200 weeks, 36,500 days.
No matter how you count it, it all boils down to an entire century of life for Pauline Moore, a Brownwood resident who celebrated her 100th birthday on Friday.
A celebration in honor of Moore will be held today after the 7 p.m. church service at the First Baptist Church of Brownwood, where Moore has been a member of since 1978. Despite her age, Moore continues to attend church twice a week, on Wednesday and Sunday nights.
“When I first met her, I thought she was maybe in her 80s,” First Baptist Church’s pastor Dr. Rodney McGlothlin said. “She is only the third or fourth church member I have had the experience of meeting who turned 100.”
In the last 100 years, Moore has traveled through all but four countries in Europe doing missionary work, married the love of her life, written a book, adopted two children, taught hundreds of students English and that’s just for starters. Before accomplishing any of this, Moore learned about God’s love when she was 9-years-old. She credits His love for leading her down the road she’s traveled.
“The best thing that has ever happened to me was learning that Jesus Christ came on Earth to save the people,” Moore said. “I know that the Lord hears my prayers, I depend on the Lord very, very much.”
With the help of her mother, Moore attended the Macon’s Wesleyan College and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1933. Moore continued her education and pursued a Master’s of Religious Education degree from the Woman’s Missionary Union Training School in Louisville, Ky. While working on her master’s, Moore met her future husband, John Allen Moore, a young missionary to-be studying at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Shortly after receiving his appointment, John went to what was then Yugoslavia. John proposed to Pauline in a letter and the two exchanged vows in Rome, Italy in 1940.
“We honeymooned in Venice,” Pauline said. “Then I joined John with his missionary work.”
The Moores stayed in Yugoslavia until the Nazis forced them out five weeks after they occupied Yugoslavia. From there, the Moores continued their missionary work in Austria and Switzerland. In 1951, while living in Switzerland, the couple traveled to Germany to visit two children’s homes. At the age of 39, Pauline became a mother of two.
“I just happened to notice that two of the children were born on the same day,” Pauline said. “I remember telling John, ‘Well, I always wanted to have twins.”
The Moores adopted Edward and Marilyn and surprised their neighbors back in Switzerland when Pauline walked in carrying two babies.
“Our neighbors couldn’t believe I had a baby in each arm,” Pauline said.
Road to Brownwood
After spending more than 40 years traveling overseas doing missionary work, the Moores retired in 1978 and decided to move back to the United States.
“My sister lived in Brownwood, so we decided we would move there,” Pauline said. “Come to find out that she had moved to Oklahoma by the time we got to Brownwood.”
Although her sister moved out of state, the Moores decided to make Brownwood their home, and moved in temporarily with another missionary couple. As it happened, the other couple had just completed building a home, but they decided they wanted to return to the missionary field in Brazil.
“They decided they didn’t want to live in the states any more and told us we could look at the house,” Pauline said. “We came, looked and bought it. It has been a blessing to be here.”
The Moores celebrated 56 years of marriage before John died in 1996. Eight years later, Pauline had to say goodbye to their son, Edward. Despite her losses, Pauline knows their deaths will help others.
“Both my husband and son donated their bodies to science,” Pauline said. “And, when the time comes for me, I will do the same.”
Pauline’s life story could fill pages upon pages of newsprint. She has seen so much, and lived though so much that it’s hard to pick and choose which experiences to share. But, one thing is for sure; Pauline’s life has revolved around her strong faith in God.
“I don’t know exactly why the Lord is keeping me here on earth for 100 years,” Pauline said. “But, I will be here as long as he wants me here.”