Moores are Citizens of the Year

Published 6:14 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2018

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

When Florine Moore learned that she and her husband, Bill, were named Citizens of the Year, she questioned the decision.

“Why us?” asked Florine, 80, whose list of community contributions is long and distinguished, including serving on the Smithfield Town Council for 16 years, with two years as mayor. Bill, 82, served for 23 years as a juvenile and domestic relations court judge and has served on the Isle of Wight County Museum Foundation. 

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The couple is most recently known for their uncommon hospitality in a town that attracts visitors from all over the United States and beyond. The Moores often invite tourists into their yard and house on S. Church St. to provide a history of their much beloved Victorian home and hometown. 

“Many visitors to Smithfield have gone home with tales of this remarkable town and that remarkable couple,” wrote Smithfield Times Editor and Publisher John Edwards in his letter nominating the Moores.{mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

The Moores will be honored Thursday at a joint meeting of the Smithfield Ruritan and Rotary clubs, which has bestowed the award every year on outstanding Smithfield area residents since 1970. 

Bill and Florine met on a blind date. She was from Texas and attending Randolph-Macon College and he was from Norfolk, attending the Virginia Military Institute. 

A friend advised that she would perhaps like Bill better than his friend and she was right, said Florine.

The couple has been married for 58 years, and raised their three children in the Victorian house they moved into in 1975. 

In addition to serving as judge, Bill was an Eagle Scout that served on the Eagle Scout selection board. Florine was active in town beyond the town council, as a founding member and former chair of the tourism board, and member of the Smithfield Shakespeare Class and Smithfield Library Association. She was also a driving force behind the South Church Street beautification effort. 

Today, when visitors pass by, the Moores make sure they have a map, and Florine will invite them into the yard.

Many are unaware that there is a river behind the houses on South Church Street and that river was instrumental to the founding of the town, said Florine. 

Indeed, Smithfield was founded by Scottish shipbuilders who recognized its location as advantageous for a sea port. 

“It’s important. It’s what made Smithfield,” said Florine.

Bill and Florine like to provide tours of the inside of their circa 1875 house and explain its many features, such as inlaid tiles in the front threshold and a curved entrance way leading into the dining room.

Along the rear of the house is a panoramic view of the Pagan River. 

Bill enjoys telling stories about the support they gave and received with their neighbors and friends over the years, and what a wonderful place Smithfield was to raise their children. 

The Moores love Smithfield so much that they recently abandoned plans to move away to be closer to their children. 

“There’s a warm feeling here,” said Bill.  {/mprestriction}