Willie Moore is History Well Preserved

Willie Moore is/was one of those Ogden institutions that needs to be preserved, but of course humans have a way of getting older on you.

Which Willie did. Over the years, both when I worked at the Standard-Examiner and later, I watched Willie’s sometimes painful progress through life, getting older and more fragile as they years went on. When his wife Betty died a few years back, concern joined the mix because she and Willie had been a team and Willie’s health was not great.

Willie is a piece of Ogden’s history. He moved his barber shop all around, from the Ben Lomond Hotel to the Marion, to little shops here and there and, finally, about 10 years back, into the Marion again, in a corner shop that had been a lot of things over the years, including Rev. Robert Harris’ restaurant.

Willie said when his shop was there the first time he was paid a visit one day by Eleanor Roosevelt. She was staying in the Ben Lomond and had walked down the street and poked her head in. She told Willie and his customers to be sure and vote, he said, and was very pleasant.

I discovered Willie’s shop when it was located in a little building on 26th Street, opposite the Fire Station which was where the City Building’s parking lot is now.  I had two sons who needed haircuts, and a journalist’s salary that demanded cheap cuts, ahd the $2 Willie charged was the cheapest in town. So every couple of months the boys and I would march down and join the throngs of folks crowding the shop.

Willie moved his shop back to the Ben Lomond about 10 years ago.

One time I was standing with Willie while he was waiting for Betty to come pick him up at his barber shop in the Marion Hotel. I took out the camera and did a series of snaps with the Marion hotel’s sign overhead. Always like this one shot because it looks as if Willie is singing.

A couple minutes later Betty pulled up and picked him up. It was quite a job getting him into the car because his legs were getting weak.

Two years ago Willie left Ogden. His daughter Carol Scott, who lives in Maryland, came and took him home because she could see that her dad needed better care that he could give himself.

She is succeeding. Carol sent me a picture of him last week and it is a joy to see how well he looks, more rested and healthy that he’s been in a long while. Here it is:

But, here’s a real treasure.  Last week the Salt Lake Tribune announced it was putting, on line, its entire photo collection, more than 170,000 images. I pulled it up (click this link) and did a search for Willie. This is what I found:

Carol says the young lady in the picture is not her mom. It is someone Willie was dating before he met Betty. But still, look at Willie, young and prosperous, a wonderful future looking at him. The picture was taken December of 1945, and that looks like the Ben Lomond Hotel behind him.

So long ago.