Lenora Moody was born in the small town of Pleasant Hill, Missouri in 1932. Her father was a doctor and her mother, who stopped medical school to have a family, helped him in the office. Lenora was a singer, basketball player and valedictorian of her class. While in college, Lenora was introduced to a friend's brother, Jack Moody, who was just finishing up his medical training. They were married in the Baptist church of Pleasant Hill and bought a house in nearby Harrisonville where Jack started his medical practice. Over the next eight years they had three children and moved into a two story Victorian house.
In 1962 her husband, Jack, joined the Methodist Board of Missions and they moved to southern India where he worked in a rural hospital. Living in an isolated part of India 60 years ago with three small children presented many challenges that Lenora could not have anticipated. Electricity was on for, at most, a few hours a day necessitating a kerosene stove and refrigerator. Telephones were non-existent and the telegraph unreliable. Milk was delivered by a water buffalo that was milked in front of the house. The family slept under mosquito nets, a cobra was once found in the well and troops of monkeys fought on the roof. Lenora rose to these challenges, but one of the hardest things was sending her 7 and 9 year old children to boarding school a day's train ride away. She wrote them daily letters while they were gone.
Her fourth child was born in India during one of the world's last smallpox epidemics which must have been an unimaginable stress until fresh vaccine could be obtained. They finally left India when one of the kids fell from a tree breaking his leg resulting in a serious infection which required evacuation to the US. They returned to their hometown in Missouri where Christopher recovered after several operations and lengthy time in a body cast. Lenora had a fifth child there and completed her teaching credentials as well as singing in the church choir.
In 1969 with 5 children in tow, the family returned overseas for Jack to take a position in Kathmandu, Nepal. Even though intercontinental jets were then commonplace they made the journey by sea on a freighter which took 99 days from New York to Calcutta. Her fortitude and optimism were apparent as not everyone would take their family overseas let alone spending three months at sea getting there. In Nepal Lenora studied the local language and was active in their church where she sang in the choir and directed a children’s music group. They also lived in Afghanistan where she taught music in an international school. Their last international posting was in Sri Lanka where Lenora helped found a Montessori school.
The family returned to the US 1975 and settled in Silver City, New Mexico which would be her home for the rest of her life. They moved into a historic house next to the Methodist Church that was convenient as this church would be part of her extended family. Lenora taught kindergarten for twenty years and participated in local music and dramatic productions. Her enthusiasm and positive outlook nurtured a generation of students. Long after she had retired from teaching, former students would still greet her in the aisles of the supermarket.
Lenora was active in music in the church and sang in the choir for thirty years. As she aged, attendance at the church next door became an even more important feature of her life and she strove to attend regardless of the weather or how she felt. This resulted in her collapsing during services a number of times due to health conditions—though she blamed it on the length of sermons rather than her heart. She attended services until the week before her death and valued the support and affection that the church offered.
Throughout her life Lenora was considered a beacon of positivity who radiated stability and calm even in difficult circumstances. She raised her own family to follow her example of hard work and instilled these values in her students as well. She will be missed by her children and grandchildren.
There will be refreshments prior to Funeral services Saturday, June 12, 2021 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Silver City. Funeral Services will start will follow at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers we ask that donations be sent to the Methodist Church of Silver City.
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