Who Is Gladys Moore?
Gladys Moore (1903-1995) was a Woman’s Missionary Union leader, pastor’s wife, mother, and public school teacher. She helped secure the donation of the land which is now Mt. Lebanon Baptist Encampment. She loved hosting furloughing foreign missionaries in her home and was a key organizer of RAs and GAs at Colonial Baptist Church, where her husband served as pastor.
In the sleepy town of Blue Ridge, Texas, Gladys was born to Ida Mae (Houk) and Will (William Walter) Pruett on August 28, 1903. Gladys was the second little girl born to this dedicated Christian family. Later three boys and another girl were born. One little brother died in infancy from pneumonia. Will owned and operated the drug store in Blue Ridge. Ida’s mother lived with the family.
When Gladys was 8 years old, the family moved to McKinney where her father founded the W.W. Pruett Monument Company. They joined the North McKinney Baptist Church where Gladys accepted Jesus and was baptized. Later, when they moved to a different house, the family joined the First Baptist Church, and her father served as a deacon. Gladys attended the public schools in McKinney, graduating from high school in 1921. Upon graduation from high school she attended Mary Hardin-Baylor for three years, then transferred to Baylor University in 1924. After graduating from Baylor in 1925 she moved back to McKinney and taught fifth grade in the public schools for one year.
While in college she met John G. Moore, a young insurance salesman, at First Baptist Church McKinney. They married December 22, 1927. John felt the Lord calling him to preach, so in the summer of 1927 they moved to Abilene and John enrolled in Hardin-Simmons University.
In 1928 their first child, Margaret Jo, was born. John Robert was born in 1930. As the Depression worsened, John sold insurance and served the Elmdale Baptist Church and Potosi Baptist Church as pastor. In 1932 he received a call from the Colonial Baptist Church of Dallas inviting him to become its pastor. He struggled with the dilemma of staying in school or moving to Dallas. After much prayer and counsel he moved his family to Dallas and became pastor of Colonial Baptist church. Colonial was a small struggling church in a working class section of Dallas. In 1934 their third child, Gladys Anne, was born.
Gladys and John worked side by side to build a strong church. Tithing was taught and the church became more financially secure. Land was purchased and new education buildings and an auditorium were built. As the church began to grow Gladys led in strengthening the existing Woman’s Missionary Union and organizing the youth missionary organizations. Because her children were young she started with Sunbeam Band, then Girl’s Auxiliary, and Young Women’s Auxiliary. When her young son, John, complained, “There are all kinds of things for girls but there is nothing for boys,” Gladys took on the responsibility of starting Royal Ambassadors in the church. In the 1940s she became involved in the Dallas Baptist Associational WMU. In 1944 she became the tenth associational WMU president.
At the end of World War II, the WMU began searching for places to have the annual youth camps. It became harder and harder to find suitable places. The women prayed the Lord would provide a place for a permanent encampment. They were told that a Baptist man, Mr. Tom Patton, had some land he had offered the Boy Scouts but they had turned him down. Gladys Moore and Mrs. C. L. Doughty decided they would approach Mr. Patton and see if he would give them some land for an encampment. On a Sunday afternoon in 1945, Mrs. Doughty, Gladys and John Moore, and their 11-year-old daughter, Anne, made a trip to Cedar Hill to talk to Mr. Patton. On the way to see Mr. Patton the conversation was about who would do the talking. They decided Mrs. Doughty would do the talking, since she and Mr. Patton were both members of the same church, Calvary Baptist Church, Oak Cliff. Gladys and John were to pray as she did the asking. (John said in spite of the previous arrangements he knew who would do the talking!) Upon arrival at the Patton’s residence they were welcomed by Mrs. Patton and were told that Mr. Patton was out dipping cattle. They all went out to the dipping vat. Soon he stopped long enough to talk with the ladies. Mrs. Doughty began making the request but was so hesitant that Gladys soon took over the conversation and told Mr. Patton of their need. Mr. Patton asked how much land they needed. The ladies replied, “About fifty acres.”Mr. Patton said, “You can’t build a camp on that amount of land. Take the whole 419 acres!” The ladies were incredulous that he would give such a large amount of land. The trip back to Dallas was one of thanking and praising God for the wonderful gift they were given. Years later, Mr. Patton told Gladys, “Of all the things I have done, the land given for Mt. Lebanon is the greatest blessing. I know thousands of lives have been changed because of it.” Truly, it was in God’s timing that those Godly women had the vision of an encampment for the youth of Dallas.
When Gladys and John’s two older children started college it was necessary for Gladys to give up her associational work. Gladys returned to the classroom to supplement their income to help pay the college tuition. She taught first grade in the Dallas Independent School District the next 22 years. John continued as pastor of Colonial Baptist until 1969, a total of 37 years.
Gladys was a woman of unusual energy. In addition to starting the missionary youth organizations, she taught Sunday School, high school Bible course,and led in teacher training. Their home was always open. During their early days, evangelists and missionaries were often house guests. Youth groups were always welcome in their home. It was not unusual for Gladys to teach school all day and come home to host a dinner party for 50 people at night.
Gladys had a real love for missions and missionaries. She taught the mission study books and made missions come alive. Lena Lair, missionary to Africa, was often a guest in their home when she was on furlough. Jewel Daniel, missionary to China with Lottie Moon, was a member of Colonial and was much loved and respected by Gladys. James and Jan Musgrave, missionaries to Brazil, were always special guests. That love for missions did not go unnoticed by her children. Gladys’ youngest daughter, Anne, served in Indonesia as a Southern Baptist missionary for 31 years. She visited her daughter in Indonesia twice. John and Gladys did not win the world to lose their own. Each of their three children have been involved in Christian service. Every one of their grandchildren have come to know the Lord. Now their great-grandchildren are accepting the Lord as their Savior.
Gladys Moore was a woman who loved the Lord and loved people. She wanted people to know the Lord as she did. She was a loving, caring person; a true friend. It would be impossible for us to fathom the extent of her Christian influence because she taught hundreds of first graders, worked with hundreds of young people, and she was instrumental in obtaining Mt. Lebanon. She was a woman of prayer. Her most precious possession was her Bible. Her family was told that in her final days when she was confused she would take her Bible in hand, shake it toward the ceiling and quote scripture. Surely, the Lord can say of Gladys Moore, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Her mind failed and her body wore out. After giving her 92 years on the earth, the Lord called her home to be with Him on June 6, 1995.
Written by Anne M. Mitchell, daughter of Gladys Moore. February 1998