Daniel Moore. Credit: Lisa Wiley

Daniel Joseph Moore, Feb. 23, 1964-Nov. 2, 2022

Daniel Joseph Moore was the third child in a family of six siblings. Both parents, as well as one brother and sister, predeceased him. He grew up in Massachusetts and discovered his lifelong passions for photography, biking, ancient wood-working crafts, ocean exploration, and interstellar travel. His email name was sunstarer.

He grew up in Worcester loving visual arts. He began painting dreamscapes at a young age and was widely recognized in our household for his strikingly realistic depiction of a small gravy gremlin, drawn in permanent marker on the bedroom wallpaper, titled “Gravy Lump.” Our mom, not being the best cook, was still amused and framed it using the same marker.

Dan hated school. He felt constrained and spent after-school hours at our local university library scouring the shelves for beloved literature and scientific journals. He later attended that school, Clark University, but had already outgrown its walls. He believed in self-education, and I credit my broad vocabulary and excellent spelling to many years of my brother’s teasing and challenge.

His perfectionism and self-driven curiosity served him well as a woodworker, photographer and web designer. He was self-employed for most of his career. He built cabinets and window treatments for some of the richest homes in Boston. He built Japanese-style gates for beautiful California homes. And when my husband and I bought an old, foreclosed home for our large, messy family, Daniel made cabinets, shelving and moulding to suit my preferences, as a gift.

Moore was an avid photographer. Credit: Lisa Wiley
A photograph taken by Moore, titled “The Traveler.”

He moved to Berkeley and fell in love with the climate, the people, the vast open spaces to wander. He loved swimming in the Bay, hiking all day long in the local hills, and cooking amazing food from the abundance of local produce.

Daniel was curious about everything, and my favorite memories of him are when we were exploring. Late one night recently we were on the Cape Cod coast, with a bright moon and low tide. We saw a sand bar and started walking. I remember starting to feel anxious when we had walked for 10 minutes out into the ocean. But sharing Dan’s awe with the sky and the sea in the dark was humbling. He had a deep connection with the natural world. He respected its authority.

Daniel didn’t suffer fools but empathized with suffering.

He was a perfectionist, and his own worst critic.

He treasured his friends and family.

He loved the poetry of Mary Oliver. In his memory, please read her poem “Sleeping in the Forest”:

I thought the earth
remembered me, she
took me back so tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the riverbed, nothing
between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated
light as moths among the branches
of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling
with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

A few Berkeley community members shared their memories of Moore:

I have known Daniel for over 10 years, maybe longer. He helped my husband and me with all kinds of computer issues. He was a wizard, always available to us 24/7 and very kind. He never made us feel silly for the trivial issues we had. He was our computer surgeon and we respected him as you respect your doctor. I recommended him to all my friends and always felt good about that. Daniel was a neighborhood treasure.

I miss him every day.

— Micki T.

Daniel — helping me in an instant, no matter the issue. Always responsive to the perceived traumas of the loss of online connectivity or email availability. But also, more. He chose an un-frenetic life so he could listen. And experience it. We will miss you. Not only because you saved us digitally more times than I can count. But because you were a rare, unusual and striving spirit in a very difficult world.

— Kathryn V.

Daniel was a man of many deep talents and skills, and he brought a quiet but infectious enthusiasm to all of his many passions — from woodworking to abalone hunting to photography, ocean swimming, computer repair, upgrading and programming and book and web design. He shared his expertise generously — with friends and freelance clients (which were often synonymous terms). The revenue from his coaching and consulting practice was limited mainly by his generosity; he frequently worked for what he called “the neighbor rate” or “the nonprofit rate” — and often followed up with free advice because he was so invested in his friends’ and clients’ success.

Above all, Daniel was an enabler. Though he was a skilled craftsman and artist in many media, Daniel seemed to take even more pleasure in supporting, motivating and enabling others’ work. He loved teaching artists how to add computers to their artistic toolbox, and when they posted their works online, he would excitedly share that work with other clients.

For all of his computer expertise, he never talked down to clients who were uncomfortable with computers. Said one elderly client, “What I loved about Daniel was that he never made me feel stupid. No question was too minor, and he always answered them. He was so sweet about making me feel understood without making me feel like a dolt.” Daniel helped that client upgrade two generations of computers, and she says now that she’ll never buy another computer; she’ll make do with the last one Daniel configured and personalized for her.

Daniel added new meaning to the word “neighborly.” He first met many of his friends in his nightly walks near his apartment at College and Woolsey Streets, carrying a china plate of dinner for his late, beloved outdoor cat — a stray whom he’d befriended years earlier. In the course of his nightly neighborhood rounds, he gleaned and shared neighborhood news and kept an eye out for strangers acting suspiciously, and he performed many acts of individual kindness, like carrying the garbage of one elderly couple to the street for their weekly pickup day. Every neighborhood deserves a Daniel.

Daniel once spotted a neighbor taking photographs with a point-and-shoot camera. He asked to see some of the man’s photos, praised his eye and suggested he develop his skills, starting with late-night emailed tips. He later became that budding photographer’s mentor and coach, helping him upgrade his camera, teaching him manual controls, providing him with the latest photographic software and teaching him how to use it. He coached and encouraged the neighbor right through his first solo photo exhibit, which Daniel visited with enormous personal pride.

Daniel was also played an important civic role in Berkeley, campaigning against landlords who were converting apartments into AirBnb sites and encouraging (or bribing) tenants to move elsewhere, simultaneously increasing the landlords’ profits on each unit they rented and sidestepping municipal rent control and zoning laws that forbade unregistered hotels in residential areas. He researched the issue to document how widespread the practice was and how it added to the city’s housing crisis. He explained his findings to whatever City Council and staff members and political candidates who would listen and was interviewed by Berkeleyside on his findings.

— Peter S.