On Tuesday, Nov. 6, a true Southern gentleman left us for heaven. The founding partner of Moore Ingram Johnson & Steele, John H. Moore, lost his four-year battle with prostate cancer on Tuesday. John was a giant in the legal profession and was consistently voted by his peers as one of the Best Lawyers in America in the specialties of land use, zoning and litigation. John was also a true visionary in the legal profession, having decided to start his own firm in the mid-1980s by recruiting lawyers from Atlanta to create a full-service law firm in Marietta, with lawyers specializing in many different areas of law. Under John’s leadership, the firm grew from just a few lawyers to over 90 lawyers with seven satellite offices in five states.
When John first approached me about leaving what is now Hall Booth Smith P.C., to join his startup practice in Marietta, I respectfully declined the invitation. But, being a good lawyer who did not take no for an answer, John called my father (a former Cobb County commissioner whom John knew) and developed a strategy to have my father persuade me to accept John’s offer. John’s vision and perseverance changed my career and life, and I will be forever grateful to him for that.
John is survived by his wife, Robin, his three children, Kevin, Traci, Bradley, and seven grandchildren. Kevin Moore is a partner with our firm. John loved his family and friends and loved to spend time with them.
John recognized the importance of giving back to the legal profession by his service as president of the Cobb County Bar Association, more than a decade of service as a member of the State Bar Board of Governors, service as chair of the Board of Bar Examiners, service on the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism and service on numerous other bar related committees to which he donated significant time. John constantly mentored our new and young lawyers to make service to the community and bar a priority, and there is no doubt that our firm’s growth over the past 30 years is a direct result of the culture he created.
One of John’s greatest gifts was his story telling ability. He loved to tell stories, which is one reason he was a great trial lawyer. Juries typically loved him, and he was able to achieve great results for his clients. That gift also made John magnetic among friends. I have heard so many colorful and hilarious stories of John’s Marietta Country Club golf trips that I now tell the stories in first person as if I was there.
Positively Impacting Others
John was a man of faith who recognized the joy of assisting the less fortunate among us. Twelve years ago, he encouraged our firm to create a foundation to assist Cobb students obtain a college education. The firm worked with administrators at Marietta High School to identify deserving students whose families could not afford to send their children to college. Under John’s leadership, we awarded tuition scholarships of up to $20,000 each to send these deserving students to college. That foundation has now raised and donated more than $300,000 to pay for the college education for dozens of students who have graduated from college and started productive careers because of John’s vision and heart for service.
Over the past few days, I have been receiving emails and phone calls from lawyers and judges all over the state who John positively impacted. Below are a few excerpts from three of those emails:
“Many years ago, when I was an Assistant Attorney General, I had a case where John represented the co-defendant. The case was brought by a very experienced plaintiffs attorney who was slicing me up in a deposition. During the lunch break, John took me aside and pointed out my flawed tactics. I always appreciated his kindness and advice on that day. —Atlanta lawyer
“John was just one of ‘those guys’ who made the lives of others so special by doing the simplest of things. He was very kind to me when I was just starting out and put a lot of trust in me at times when no one else did. I valued his kindness and his always-ready smile. The Bar lost a very good friend when we lost John, and I just wanted you to know that I was thinking of you.” —Marietta lawyer
“John was a kind man and so highly regarded. I am hearing many reflect on what he did for them over the years.” —Cobb judge
John’s presence will be sorely missed, but I know that the lessons and legacy he left behind will live on.
Celebration of John’s Life
There will be a celebration of John’s life on Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Marietta. The family will receive visitors at the church preceding the service beginning at noon.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First United Methodist Church of Marietta, 56 Whitlock Ave., Marietta, GA 30064 or WellStar-Hospice in care of WellStar Foundation, 805 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta, GA 30066. Arrangements are by Mayes Ward-Dobbins Funeral Home and Crematory of Marietta.
Robert D. Ingram is a partner at Moore Ingram Johnson & Steele.