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  WINDY CITY TIMES

PASSAGES Former Chicagoan Steven Moore dies
UPDATE BELOW Nov. 9 service planned
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2014-10-28

This article shared 24941 times since Tue Oct 28, 2014
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Steven Moore, a former Chicago resident who moved to Colorado about two years ago and was the executive director of the National Gay Pilots Association, died Oct. 27 in a plane crash in Boulder County, Colo. He was 35.

Moore was flying at about 7:45 a.m., when his plane went down. According to 9News in Colorado, an NBC affiliate in Denver, deputies say a preliminary investigation shows the aircraft struck the road, propeller first, and caught fire after impact. It is too early for investigators to say what went wrong, the station said.

Moore was flying a Mooney M20F, a fixed wing, single engine aircraft. Aviation expert Greg Feith said final conclusions about what caused the crash will take time, according to 9News.

"They'll be looking for mechanical malfunction or failure," Feith told 9News. "Of course, they'll be looking at the weather. There was some weather moving in this morning that had some gusty winds."

Whitney Wild, a reporter for 9 News said Moore, in his role as NGPA executive director, "helped hundreds of young pilots find their place in the aviation industry."

The NGPA was the first to confirm Moore was the pilot with a Monday statement: "It is with greatest sadness that we must announce the loss of a treasured member of our NGPA family. Our Executive Director, and valiant crusader for the NGPA cause, Steven Moore, passed away this morning while flying his beloved Mooney in Colorado. Steven, we love you, we will miss you, and we will be forever indebted to you for all of the passion you put into your work with NGPA."

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were on the scene investigating.

Jeff Slater, who was working on gas lines near the runway, heard but did not see the crash. He told the Daily Camera newspaper that the plane "didn't sound right" when it took off.

"It was choking and sputtering pretty bad," Slater told the Daily Camera. "It sounded horrible."

Moore's passing shocked Chicagoans, as he lived in Lakeview during his seven years in the city, and sent ripples through social media.

Moore had two brothers and a sister, and was the youngest. He was engaged to Nathan Samek since April and the two were set to be married in Colorado on May 2, 2015. Moore and Samek celebrated their two-year anniversary together in August.

"He was an amazing, amazing man," said Kathy Moore, his mom. "Steven knew no strangers; he cared about everybody he met. He would take the shirt off his back and give it to anybody who needed it; he was just that kind of person.

"Steve was one who stopped and smelled the flowers, all the time. That's just the kind of guy that he was. He was passionate about so many different things."

Especially flying. "He loved to fly; he was passionate about flying," she added.

When asked how Moore got hooked on flying, his mom laughed. "I wish I could answer that; he just decided one day that he wanted to fly. And when Steven decided that he wanted to do something, he did it."

G. Scott Shatzer, 43, who lives in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood, is the Midwest Regional Sales Director for Flexjet, LLC. He also is the board chair for the NGPA and said that Moore had a "huge impact" on the organization.

Moore joined the NGPA around Easter 2009 and became its executive director in the fall of 2012, for a two-year term.

There are about 1,000 paying NGPA members and another 1,000 non-paying members.

"Since Steven took over [as executive director], those numbers are easily up about 25 percent," said Shatzer, who noted that he has more mutual friends ( 344 ) with Moore than any other Facebook friend. "Steven was single handedly responsible for starting to generate job fairs in conjunction with our three annual events, where airlines come to hire pilots from our organization."

Shatzer said Moore "positively and profoundly touched as many people as anyone I know."

Shatzer said it is too early for final plans, but the NGPA will name a scholarship after Moore.

Samek, 29, said Moore "was the shining star when I woke up and all I had to do was look at him and I would smile." He called Moore "Handsome" and Moore nicknamed Samek "Beautiful."

Moore loved coffee and one of his lifelong goals was to own an airplane, which he fulfilled last month. "Unfortunately that is the plane that went down," Samek said.

Moore also had a passion for teaching people to fly, Samek added.

Tommy Holl of Chicago knew Moore since he moved into the Windy City and said he had a "spirit and energy that connected with everyone."

His mom said Steven "disliked biased people, [including] bullies who picked on people who were gay because he was in the closet for so long, and when he finally came out, that was big for him."

Holl added, "He was an absolutely wonderful person who accomplished a lot in a short period of time … It is so, so sad; I am in total shock."

Holl took real estate classes with Moore and noted that he was one who "brought the community together because he connected with everyone.

"He never will be forgotten and definitely left his mark on Chicago, and certainly had a lot of friends here. He left this earth tragically doing something he truly loved."

Moore served as a local and national judge for female impersonation pageants, including the Miss Continental, which has been held in Chicago since 1980 at the Baton Show Lounge usually over Labor Day weekend.

"He was very knowledgeable on the art of female impersonation from watching it so much. When I talked to him [about the subject,] he had good questions, good answers," said Jim Flint, of Chicago.

"He was one of those wonderful people who I never, ever heard one thing bad about. No one had anything bad to say about him. He used to bring his mother in here [to the Baton], and she lived in Indiana. He was just a gentleman every time you met him. I think that's why everyone is so hurting—because he was one of those rare, rare, wonderful men who everyone idolized."

Flint said Moore often sent him photos while traveling. "He was very proud when he became a pilot, and when he became the executive director of the National Gay Pilots Association, that was one of his happiest moments."

Flint recalled one pageant in Florida when Moore was introduced as a male model—and that led to autograph-seekers approaching Moore, Flint said, laughing.

"Rest in peace; we're all going to miss him, and never forget him," Flint added.

Cordey Lash of Dallas was one of many who changed his Facebook profile photo to himself and Moore. He posted a video of Moore driving and singing, and wrote, "This is the true essence of why we are all soo devastated; Steven Moore was AMAZING at soo many things, but being REAL would by far be the favorite."

Sasha Kekauoha, of Los Angeles, was the 2012 Miss Continental winner ( as Sasha Colby ). She tagged Moore on Facebook as "like a brother to me," and added that "words could not express how deeply saddened all of your family and friends are right now."

Precious Davis of Chicago said Moore "changed my life forever." She has flooded Facebook with a slew of smiling photos of Moore and fellow Chicagoans.

Jack Neilsen of Chicago posted on Facebook while on vacation in Mexico that, "Knowing my sister Lady Tajma Hall is welcoming her brother Steven Moore home to greatness is numbing news. My thoughts and prayers are with Steven's family at this time. I'm still sitting here in disbelief."

Sean Michael Guerrero, a Chicago-based flight attendant, said that whenever he spoke with Moore, "he made whatever I was saying the most important thing right then at that moment, that what I said mattered. That means the world to me when people genuinely want to hear what you have to say."

Guerrero added, "He was always so nice to me in the airport, always saying hello, [with] this great aura around him. He made you want to go out of your way just to say 'Hi' to him."

Chadwick Stadt of Chicago labeled Moore as his "older brother."

"He was my mentor, my best friend," Stadt said. "He was always the first one to put me in my place when I needed a reality check, but never in a way that was judgmental or unloving. He believed in me at times when I didn't, and was always there to give me that extra boost of confidence when I needed it the most. I'm going to miss our movie nights on the couch, cooking dinner together, our banter about drag whenever he came to visit, his hugs, phone calls checking in, his amazing smile, everything. The one thing I'm finding comfort in is knowing that I just got one hell of a guardian angel who is by my side now every single day."

Davis tagged Moore as "a mentor, father figure, brother, confidant, listening ear, and the glue that held our entire circle of friends together."

She added that Moore "believed in connecting the people in his life so that each person could celebrate and interact with the diversity in his friends that he was drawn to."

Davis and Moore first became friends about five years ago as neighbors on Roscoe Street in Lakeview. Davis was the "fresh out of college young woman [who] moved into a party house next to the home that Steven and his then-partner Lee purchased. Steven and I quickly became friends as one day I was on front porch carrying on with some friends and wasn't wearing a top, just a pair of shorts. I quickly covered my chest and said, 'I'm a woman; don't look at me.' He looked at me and said, 'Of course you are.' We both laughed and he invited me over for dinner. That dinner would be the first of many dinners that would discuss my dreams, triumphs, and challenges.

"Steven quickly became a father figure to me and many other young people in our circle. He was stern, fun, youthful, [and] always challenged us to be our best."

Moore organized a group of pilots to come talk to the youth at the Center on Halsted about the possibility of having a career in the aviation field, Davis confirmed. "He believed in supporting young people and also Trans women," Davis said. "He understood the plight and societal boundaries that Trans women faced because of his background in sociology. He loved the pageant world, had a deep appreciation for the art of female impersonation and supported countless entertainers across the country with support."

Aurora Sexton met Moore working at the now-closed Spin Nightclub in Boystown and then were neighbors on Roscoe Street.

"He would bang on my windows and yell, 'Get up, you lazy queen,'" said Sexton, who now lives in Nashville. "He loved drag, was always at the shows and pageants screaming my name like a pageant mom."

Whenever Sexton and Moore texted, it always started and ended with a witty back and forth.

"I love you," Moore said.

"I love you more," Sexton answered.

"Not possible," Moore replied.

Moore was known for his passion to cooking and often invited friends over from all walks of life.

"He had a way of bringing people together because he genuinely cared about everyone he met," Sexton said. "Steven saw the good in everyone and helped them bring out their personal best.

"Even [after] I moved to Nashville he would fly in on layovers and stay with me and we would just lay there and talk all night about life and all the plans we had.

"He always made me feel special, loved, appreciated, cared for. He made everyone around him feel that way. I could talk to him about anything, without judgment. He was my big brother in every sense, my family, my sword and shield and pushed me harder and further than I knew I could. He defined what it meant to be a man and a good person. A part of my heart is gone forever, [yet] I know he's looking down raising his eyebrow on all of this fanfare because that was not his way. He just wanted to leave this world and the people he knew in it better than when he came in, and that's exactly what he accomplished."

The Steven Moore memorial service is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 9. The memorial will be held at Bridgeport Art Center Sculpture Garden, 1200 W. 35th St., 1-4 p.m., with a ceremony scheduled for 2:30 p.m.


This article shared 24941 times since Tue Oct 28, 2014
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