Family recalls Ben Moore’s Island contributions

Beloved architect, community activist, and family man.

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Selectman Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter, right, talks with Ben Moore at the West Tisbury town party. Moore died Thursday night.

Ben Moore, 83, a beloved Island architect and community leader, died at about 9 pm Thursday in his West Tisbury home, with his wife Paddy Moore by his side, and three generations of his family surrounding him.

Moore would have been 84 on May 24. He suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and recently suffered a stroke. Private services are planned for Saturday, June 30, and a public celebration of his life of service to the community will be held in September at the Ag Hall in West Tisbury. Paddy Moore, his wife of 47 years, said the family gathering at his passing was a testament to the man and his values. “Family was the most important to us,” she said Friday.

“Ben died quietly, he just stopped breathing. The entire family sang ‘Amazing Grace,’” she said.

In an email alerting The Times to his death, Paddy Moore wrote, “Ben not only built houses but also families, and is such a model for being a husband and father. And he sang his way through these last hard years, and only stopped singing the day before he died.”  

By all accounts, Moore lived a life of amazing grace, centered on service to others. An architect by trade, Moore’s design hand is on dozens of iconic Island structures, from Alley’s General Store and the Ag Hall to the Vineyard Haven Steamship Authority terminal and St. Andrew’s Church in Edgartown.

Moore was passionate about Habitat for Humanity, both here and elsewhere. He led an annual mission of Boston and Island Habitat members to Mississippi, designing and building housing there.

On-Island, Moore was a member of numerous public organizations, including the Island Preservation Trust and The Trustees of Reservations. He was a former chairman of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.

Moore’s grand-niece Bella Bennett, the third generation to know him, said Moore’s happiness and love filled the rooms he was in. “I loved going over there,” she said. “I always wanted to make him laugh. His laugh made the room reverberate.”