Businessman, volunteer Hillar Moore Jr. dies

Hillar C. Moore Jr., retired president of Associated Grocers, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and active volunteer in the community, died Wednesday.

He was 87.

“He was a truly ‘gentle’ man who clearly understood our role as Catholic Christians to live our lives as Jesus Christ taught,” J.H. Campbell Jr., who succeeded Moore as president of Associated Grocers, said in an email.

“He set a wonderful example for all to follow to be Christlike. He was a warm, loving, and compassionate man. He will be missed by all,” Campbell said.

Moore’s service to the business community and as a board director and member of various civic and charitable organizations earned him the 2001 Golden Deeds award presented annually by The Advocate and Inter-Civic Council.

His service ranged from the Girl Scouts to arts organizations to the fight against cancer. He also counseled business owners.

“You can’t do this without a lot of friends,” Moore said in 2001 while receiving the Golden Deeds Award.

Moore was born in New Orleans in May 1925.

“Growing up, I realized that I had the best family and the best parents a person could ever have,” East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said.

Moore lovingly described his father as a “true hero, leader and a role model,” whom he and siblings looked up to “for all of his 87 years.”

He said his father taught his children “how to give back to the community” and he left a “really big footprint” in Baton Rouge with his service.

Moore is survived by his children: Hillar III, Debra, Michael, David, Steven and Judy.

Hillar Moore Jr. entered the U.S. Marine Corps in 1943, serving during World War II in Guam and Iwo Jima, and he was in the Corps during the Korean War.

Moore later graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and continued to serve in the Marine Corps reserves until 1977.

As a civilian, Moore worked for the now-defunct Louisiana Grocers Cooperative Inc. in New Orleans in the 1940s and became president of the company.

He moved to Baton Rouge in 1975, working for Associated Grocers, and became president a year later.

Moore retired from the company in 1995.

Recognizing the importance of small businesses, Moore was a member of the Service Corps of Retired Executives, counseling people who are starting businesses.

“This country is made up of a lot of small businesses,” he said in a 2008 interview. “People want to be their own boss.”

Another colleague and friend, Len Sedlin, remembered Moore as “the epitome of a gentleman.”

“Always very, very professional, always polite to everyone that he’s ever met. He addressed our clients with respect and gave them the full measure of his years of knowledge and business,” said Sedlin, who knew Moore through SCORE.

“In my opinion, he was the epitome of a gentleman. I have never seen Hillar being angry, being upset and like I said, he’s the epitome of a gentleman.”

Having lost both his wife, Bernadine, in 1991, and daughter, Janet M. Webb, in 1993, to cancer, Moore served with the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and was on its board of directors. Before his wife’s death, he helped found the center’s annual Mary Bird Perkins Charity Golf Classic to help raise money for cancer patients.

There will be a visitation from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday followed by a religious service at St. Aloysius Catholic Church, and burial at Greenoaks Memorial Park with full military honors.