Rodney Moore always figured he was going to die young. So when his friend and fellow North Texas musician Sunshine Emery heard the news that Moore, 46, had died from a motorcycle collision on Oct. 16, she knew it wouldn’t have been a surprise for him.
“He was living fast and hard and every day to its fullest,” she said. “When you ride a motorcycle and you do all the things he did, it’s not likely that you’re going to live to be old.”
Emery had met Moore seven years ago after playing a show with musician Stefan Prigmore at Macgyver’s Food and Spirits in Burleson. The two had driven to Benbrook Lake to meet a friend of Prigmore’s, but the lake was already closed by the time they arrived.
Shortly after, Moore drove up in his cargo van and Prigmore and Emery jumped in the back to go to his campsite nearby where they hung out and played music.
Emery said she and Moore had recently talked about that first meeting and how, in hindsight, it was a seemingly foolish move.
“He was like, ‘Well you know, that’s how I knew I liked you right away’,” Emery said. “We just talked about [how] we’re risk-takers and there’s a place for that and sometimes it’s stupid but sometimes it leads to great friendships like that did.”
Moore had a welcoming personality, Emery said, and one could tell he had a good heart by looking at his eyes.
Rhit Moore, his younger brother, said he and Moore had been a package deal growing up. When they were kids, he said he remembered a friend of Moore’s inviting him to his house to play but told him to leave the then 8-year-old Rhit at home. Instead of following the request, Moore never went to the friend’s house again.
“Him doing that and choosing me over his friend, without hesitationv... never forgot it,” Rhit said. “And that just explains kind of who he was.”
Rhit said his brother was eccentric, always going out of his way to follow his own path.
After graduating high school, Moore received a scholarship to TCU. After spending a miserable year there, Rhit said his brother decided he didn’t want to go back and pursued other interests, which included music.
A big part of Moore’s life was music, from listening to his grandfather, his dad and friend’s parents play. Going into his sophomore year of high school, he started learning how to play the guitar but he had always been interested in music, Rhit said.
“It was just something we always did. Family reunions, everybody had an instrument of some sort,” Rhit said. “So it was kind of like a natural progression for him.”
Rhit said family has helped him through the trying times as the reality of the loss sets in. Aunts, uncles and cousins helped him around his property, telling stories in between cleaning and tidying things up.
Rhit said what he’ll remember most about his brother is how Moore would have dropped everything for him, no questions asked.
In the years that she knew him, Emery said Moore would help with her volunteer-based charity People Feeding People. Moore was a regular volunteer, she said, who would both collect and pass out food donations or play music during events. There were several times he would show up at a moment’s notice to help her out when she was the only one able to pass out food to those who needed a meal.
“He was that kind of a friend,” Emery said. “I could always call him and he could always call me.”
For the last 10years Moore worked at Fort Worth Floral Wholesale off of East Hattie Street. His boss Earl Campbell said he met Moore during a busy Valentine’s Day season when he volunteered to help at the wholesale shop. After that, Campbell liked him so much that he hired Moore to work there permanently.
Campbell said he was honest, hardworking, innovative and always cheerful, who never shirked a task.
“Just hardworking, really respectful, genuinely really, just a great guy,” he said.
Campbell said he fell to his knees when he heard the news of Moore’s death. That morning he broke the news to his gathered staff, who started wailing over the loss of their coworker.
Fort Worth Floral Wholesale took flowers for his funeral service in the week following his death, a last gift to a faithful employee.
One of Campbell’s fondest memories of Moore is how respectful and willing he was to do whatever was asked of him.
On Saturdays Moore would play hardcore country music off his iPhone. Campbell, a Nashville native, said he would offer a lyrical hook for Moore to work into a song.
Outside of volunteer work and his day job, Moore was a musician, and the trade was his passion. Emery said he would get up early to play multiple clubs a day, running open-mics and hosting events.
One event he started was called “Pick’n ‘Round the Campfire,” which he held weekly on Wednesdays to bring musicians together to play music.
“He just did so much and it didn’t stop,” she said. “For him, I don’t know that it much ever felt like a job to him. It was just like ‘This is what I want to do and I’ve got to do that’.”
On Saturday, the Moore family held a “Pick’n ‘Round the Campfire” memorial for him in Burleson.
Friends and family visited, sharing memories and listening to music with a few eulogies from Rhit and Moore’s cousin Phillip Voss.
In his speech, Voss recalled childhood games he, Moore and the rest of their cousins would play, including a game consisting of invisible ninjas in which Moore would always end by heroically taking out one last assassin ninja star, saving the day.
“As kids, we didn’t have phones so it was, go out in the woods and do something. We just bonded over being outside, playing,” Voss said. “It was just a lifelong bond.”
Moore had a way of letting people know he cared about them, Voss said. The cousins shared the common trait of genuinely wanting to know what was going on in other people’s lives, he said.
Voss said Moore’s ability to find joy in everything is a quality that will forever remind him of his cousin.
The life of a musician consists of late nights and traveling — and Moore’s lifestyle was no exception. Emery said he barely got any sleep and was always awake making every day count.
“He said, ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’ and that’s kind of how he lived his life, just going and doing and doing,” Emery said. “He just didn’t waste time, and he followed his dreams and that’s a hard thing to do.”
But Emery said Moore was starting to look toward a future, one where he could settle down and live at a slower pace.
Multiple times Moore talked to Emery about the numbers on a person’s gravestone and how it wasn’t the numbers that mattered, it was the dash in between that counts.
“Those dates didn’t matter to him, it was the dash and everything in that middle part,” she said. “That would probably be his legacy, is that dash. Living life to the fullest, not being afraid to take chances, doing kind things because they make a difference.”