Centreville's Ken Moore was a loving husband and the kind of guy who attended his children's sports events and helped them with their paper routes. And in his spare time, he shoveled snow and cut grass at his church, Centreville United Methodist.
So it was especially heartwrenching for his family when he died of cancer, early Sunday morning, at age 60. "He didn't live to get to walk his only daughter down the aisle," said his son Dave, 24. "He'll never get to play with his grandchildren."
Born and raised in Franklin, Ky., Moore received a bachelors in electrical engineering from Vanderbilt University and was in the Navy ROTC there. He later obtained a masters in business administration from Virginia Tech.
MOORE SERVED with the Navy in Vietnam, narrowly escaping death when his ship exploded after striking a mine. Afterward, he did intelligence work for the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Md. He continued working there after retiring from active duty and joining the Reserves. At the end of his 20-year Navy career, he was a lieutenant commander.
After leaving the NSA, Moore worked for various defense contractors and then began his own company, Ariel Technologies, doing independent computer consulting for defense contractors. But there was more to him than his career, and his family considered him a hero.
"I'm very proud of who my father was and what he made of his children; his passing is a loss to our entire community," said his son. "He was a devoted husband and an ideal role model to his children, teaching us responsibility, civil awareness, trust and compassion."
Moore and his wife of 30 years, Cherie, raised six children — sons Ken Jr., 28, in GMU's law school; Dave, a senior at Virginia Tech; Tim, 23, a Virginia Tech junior; Mark, 21, and Geoff, 19, both attending NOVA; and daughter Aimee, 26, a GMU grad. They've lived in Virginia Run since 1989.
"Everyone played sports, and he was always at soccer and baseball games, wrestling meets, musical recitals and awards ceremonies," said Dave. He also traveled to the Penn Relays in Pennsylvania and to Virginia Tech to watch son Geoff run track for Centreville.
"Me and three of my brothers wrestled at Centreville High, and he was extremely involved in the wrestling program there," added Dave. "He attended the state championships when Mark wrestled in them and, even after we graduated, he still attended Centreville's wrestling meets."
MOORE ENCOURAGED his children to get involved in church and instilled a strong work ethic in them. "He'd wake up at 4 in the morning — seven days a week for about six years — and help my brothers and I with our Washington Post paper route," said Dave. "He also taught all of us how to work on cars and fix things around the house."
Describing his dad as extremely fair and a man of integrity, he said, "Anything we were involved in, he was involved in, too." And although Moore was proud of his accomplishments and his family, he remained humble.
"Education was important to him, and all of us worked our way through college," added Dave. Cherie obtained a bachelors in nursing from the University of Evansville in Indiana and a masters in liberal arts from Johns Hopkins University. Said her son: "She used her nursing degree to raise six children and, later, to care for her mom."
The Moores dated for two years before they were married, and Cherie called him quiet and easygoing, but respected by those who knew him. "You could always depend on him," she said. "He was a small man in stature, but a big man with big shoes to fill."
She and Ken had many things in common — whether it was furniture, food or whatever — and Cherie could always talk with him about anything. They worked on genealogy as a hobby, enjoyed visiting museums and even liked cooking together.
"We married late and were fortunate enough to have a large family," she said. "Our youngest finally graduated from high school, and this was our year for us. But his disease came totally unexpected. He was in perfect health and led a healthy lifestyle."
Two years ago, both of their mothers — plus Ken's grandmother — died, and he was on call, 24 hours a day for computer advice. So when Moore became tired, it wasn't surprising. But he also began looking pale and, last spring, tests revealed that he had colon cancer.
"He hadn't even had pain and didn't take medicine," said his wife. "And I can't remember a day he missed work." So the family was stunned to learn that his cancer had developed over the years and, by the time it was discovered, had spread to both lobes of his liver. A second site was revealed in October, but Moore kept working, adjusting his schedule around his illness.
"HE WAS A FIGHTER, and he wasn't afraid of it," said Dave. He faith was really important to him. He was realistic and knew what his odds were, but he had enormous amounts of hope."
Moore always wanted to watch a football game at Virginia Tech and, last season, he did — despite a hurricane, the whole game. Said Dave: "He was going through chemo, but he just bundled up and stayed there and watched it with me, my brother Tim, my mother and my fraternity brothers."
His family was with him when he died Sunday at home. Viewing is Friday, 4-8 p.m., and Saturday, 10-11 a.m., at Price Funeral Home, 9609 Center St., Manassas. Funeral services are Saturday, Feb. 7, at 11 a.m. at Price, with the Rev. Don Carlton officiating. Burial with full military honors will be at Chestnut Grove Cemetery in Herndon. Donations may be made to Hospice of Northern Virginia or Prince William.
"As much as he'll be missed, I was very lucky to have shared a life with someone like that for the past 30 years," said Cherie. "Having him here with us was a gift — and he'll be there always for us."