George Albert Moore
George Albert Moore. Photo: Courtesy family Credit: Courtesy family

George Albert Moore II, beloved teacher, musician, partner, brother and uncle, passed away unexpectedly of natural causes on Aug. 23, 2020, in Berkeley, CA.

Born in Mexico City in 1959, George lived for short periods of time in Michigan and New Jersey before reaching California in 1971. He graduated from Troy High School in Fullerton, CA, where he played trumpet in the marching band and developed a deep and abiding love for the instrument which he continued to play avocationally, yet with great seriousness, throughout the remainder of his life. Upon reaching Berkeley to attend UC Berkeley, he resolved never to live anywhere else, and he never did.

In fact, had he not been confronted with the need to earn a living, George might still be a student at the university today. Being intellectually curious, he was interested in many different fields and was a talented and stubborn discussant of issues large and small, contemporary and historical. He was interested in how things work, hence his passion for science, but in college he became increasingly intrigued with the study of the nature of knowledge, reality and existence. His bachelor’s degree in Philosophy (UC-Berkeley, 1983) was quickly followed by a teaching credential (San Francisco State, 1984), enabling him to merge these two areas of interest into service to his high school students. He was also a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Over a period of 36 years George taught at three Hayward high schools, including Mt. Eden, Tennyson and, for the last eight years, at Hayward. He constantly strove to reach students in math and physics through non-traditional teaching techniques. He was a creative teacher and so on the leading edge of technology that his students noted his early application of tools for learning sometimes would not work. But he was a problem solver, and eventually figured out the latest innovation. As one colleague observed, he was a “strategist,” always looking for better ways of teaching. 

Perhaps as a result of his experiences being bullied in middle school, George had a passion for justice and fairness, even if to pursue those meant rules had to be broken. In any conversation about his students and his teaching, it was impossible not to understand his profound commitment to his chosen profession and to feel his passion, his genuine respect and affection for his students. So devoted to them was George that he overcame his lifelong phobia of flying to take the Robotics Club to a major competition in Florida. One student observed that he believed more in his students than they believed in themselves.

His was a large, high-energy, warm-hearted and generous presence in school and out. Goerge loved provoking argument for argument’s sake, and rarely, if ever and then only grudgingly, yielded a point. He lived amid considerable clutter, and he was always running late. But at his core, he was kind and empathetic. He shared his possessions gladly. He was giving of his time, and often offered to drive students home from the Robotics Club which he founded at Hayward following his successful experience with one at Tennyson. His extroverted presence made him an excellent mentor. 

George had passions outside of the classroom as well. It should come as no surprise that a man who loved physics should be intrigued by karate. Throughout his adult life he took lessons and participated in tournaments, attaining the rank of black belt, although injuries slowed him down as he aged. 

He dearly loved his two dogs, Fiona and Zig, walking them and caring for them. He loved the beauty of the natural world and liked to hike and camp. Mt. Lassen was one of his favorite spots to visit.

After college, he resumed playing the trumpet and applied himself rigorously toward improving his playing. He loved all kinds of music, from classical symphonic music to salsa and jazz especially, and everything in between or emerging.  He took great pride in his collection of special trumpets. 

He loved to eat, but not to cook, so he was a longtime patron of many of Berkeley’s eateries. He celebrated his 60th birthday with family by eating at the memorable The French Laundry in Yountville.

A teddy bear of a man, George retained the innocence and positivism of childhood. He was like an overgrown child himself in some ways, especially at Christmas, loving to give and receive presents. Sometimes the recipient had aged out of these gifts, but, undeterred, George would get down on the floor and spend hours building or setting up the gift, and then, in between playing Christmas carols on his trumpet, would amuse himself for hours with his own gift.

George is survived by his loving partner of 40 years, Leslie (Blaise) Lang of Berkeley, his sisters Gail Moore Morrison (Columbia, SC) and Susan Elaine Moore (Anaheim, CA) as well as by his nephew, Gregory Stephen Morrison (New York, NY). 

In addition, he is survived by members of his partner’s family including her father, John A. Lang (San Francisco, CA), brother Derek Lang (Gail) of Daly City, CA, and their children Cameron Lang (Alicia) of Daly City and Claire Lang (Dundee, Scotland) and two grandnephews, Cameron Jr. and Isaac of Daly City; and his partner’s sister, Erica Shinn Lee (Wilton) of Berkeley and her two children Jessica Eido (Eido) of Seattle, WA, and Christopher Shinn of San Francisco.

George was predeceased by his parents Mr. and Mrs. Warren G Moore (Anaheim, CA),  his brother-in-law Stephen G. Morrison (Columbia, SC), and his partner’s mother, Trilby M. Lang (San Francisco, CA).

George is also survived by many members of the extended family groups that were so important to him: high school students, colleagues and staff; musicians; karate practitioners; and fellow dog-walkers.

In light of the situation with the COVID-19 virus, no funeral is planned at this time. However, should you wish to honor George, gifts may be made to the charity of your choice, to the Hayward High School Robotics Club, or to an animal rescue group involved with dogs.

Guest contributor

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