John Ryor stood before the main building of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association in Largo on Monday and finally gave a speech about Jade T. Moore, his friend of more than 35 years.
Ryor, former president of the Florida Education Association, noted the two very different sides to Moore's personality.
"Those who knew Jade know he spoke two languages," Ryor said. The first: a diplomatic one as he led an 8,000-member teachers union. The second: the colorful language of a straightforward comic.
"I enjoyed Jade's opinions even when I disagreed with him because he was always amusing," Ryor said.
Moore, executive director of Pinellas' teachers union for more than 34 years, died in December 2008 of complications from a stroke at 61 years old.
On Monday, Ryor joined more than 150 people, including members of Moore's family, in a special ceremony dedicating union headquarters in Moore's honor.
His wife, Sue Moore, as well as his 90-year-old mother, Jean Moore, daughters Michelle Moore and Jennifer Peace, granddaughter Rowan Jade Peace, and younger brother Tim Moore, all attended. Also present were five state representatives and Pinellas School Board members.
Ryor said he was unable to share his words at a memorial for Moore last year because he was too distraught with grief over the death of a man he respected so much.
"Jade was intelligent. He was honest. He was a man of integrity," Ryor said. "He was a teacher, and he believed that we are all at one time both teachers and pupils."
A bronze plaque inscribed with Moore's name was installed outside the building. It also noted his inspirational leadership, optimism and political savvy. Moore divided his time between visiting the Pinellas County schools and lobbying on behalf of teachers in Tallahassee.
"Jade understood how important politics and lobbying was to our everyday lives as educators," said Moore's successor Marshall Ogletree.
Tania Karas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8707.