When Martha Moore arrived in 1972, she adopted Sooke. There’s really no other way to put it, as she fell in love with the place and carved out a role for herself in as many organizations as she could fit in.
In the 47 years since, Martha, both patriotic and gregarious, never failed to express her views on what should or shouldn’t be done in Sooke.
The arrival here of Verne and Martha Moore and their three children, was the final step in a journey that began for her in Dawson Creek, where she was born in 1933 to Bill and Constance Day. British immigrants, the couple had heard of the farmland in the Peace River District and that’s where they had settled.
Martha Moore died last week at the age of 86.
Martha used to chuckle that she had her first ride in a motor vehicle, a Model T Ford, when her parents brought her home from the hospital in Dawson Creek to their homesteading community of Groundbirch.
After attending the local one-room log school, Martha went on to South Peace High School where she lived in the dorm during the week. That’s where her volunteer work began, as she became a Girl Guide leader in high school.
The Women’s Division of the Royal Canadian Air Force attracted Martha in 1957, and her basic training took place in Quebec and Manitoba.
At her first posting of Cold Lake, Alta, she met Verne Moore, falling head over heels in love. They were married in Dawson Creek, and their first two children were born while they were at Cold Lake – their youngest followed at a Quebec posting.
Verne retired from the Air Force after 27 years’ service, and the couple decided to strike out for the west coast, driving a beater car and pulling a travel trailer. The family kept driving on, looking for their ideal place to live – finding Sooke, they stopped.
Feeling welcomed by the community spirit they found, they dove right in, joining Knox Presbyterian Church, Sooke Community Association and the Royal Canadian Legion, for starters.
Buying a home on Throup Road, both Verne and Martha took on part-time work, he as a Commissionaire, she as a custodian and home care worker, while in their spare time, they were soon immersed into the life of the village.
Their first year in Sooke, Martha entered her baking and won at the fall fair. Her faith kept her involved with the Presbyterian church, where she became a long-time Sunday school teacher.
All Sooke Day and the logging sports convention entertainment evenings held at the hall were a natural for friendly Martha, where she served the coffee for many years. Martha had never lost her interest in Guiding, and served as a leader wherever she lived, including roles over the years as Guide captain and Brownie leader; she also led Pathfinders and Rangers.
Before long she had joined the fall fair committee and this proved to be the love of her life. Perhaps it was remembering the calf she had raised at the age of seven, which took first prize at the Dawson Creek Fall Fair that had fired her up, but she was soon living and breathing Sooke Fall Fair, becoming president in 1989, a role she was proud to keep for 11 years.
Besides the fair, she was always involved in fund-raising activities, as everyone knew how good-natured she was about helping, especially selling 50/50 tickets at countless charity events. Her skill at baking bread and buns also gave her a special role with Meals on Wheels.
It wouldn’t be accurate to say that Martha was retired in recent years, as she kept up her interest in all events, never failing to express her opinions and encouragement after Sooke was incorporated as a municipality in 1999, as she considered this her town.
Martha was predeceased by Verne in 2015. Her special joy of course was her family, and seeing grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was especially pleased when her daughter Terrie came back to work in Sooke recently, after a stay in London.
A Celebration of Martha Moore’s life will take place at Sooke Community Hall on Saturday May 25, at 2 p.m. Left to mourn are daughter Terrie (Steve Shortt), sons Bill and Jim Moore; grandchildren Garett Poirier, Kyle Poirier (Samantha Laliberty), Sydnee Ogden-Moore; and great-grandchildren Kallen Poirier and Sage Poirier.