Anyone who has walked into a Fells Point bar during the past 15 years remembers Leroy Moore. His infectious (and, later in life, toothless) smile. Calling any man he met "buddy," any woman a "goddess," and always offering a compliment up about your shirt or hat. And, no matter the time of year, he told people his birthday was right around the corner.
On Sunday morning, Moore passed away after a battle with lung cancer at the age of 56.
The East Baltimore resident made many Fells Point haunts his home over the years—including Slainte, Dogwatch Tavern, Cat's Eye Pub, Wharf Rat, Spirits, and Johnny Rad's. He would strike up a conversation with a stranger next to him and had a pretty consistent drink order.
"He was sometimes here three or four nights a week," says Johnny Rads owner Rich Pugh. "You really had to interact with him and see that he was a very selfless, caring person. Don't get me wrong, he was clever. He realized he could tell people he was hungry or thirsty and get a Diet Coke out of the deal. But he was a staple of kindness and just always wanted to be a part of the party."
Moore was known for telling some pretty outrageous stories about his life, dancing and singing to David Bowie, and loving the Fells Point neighborhood and its residents. When comedian Dave Attell visited Baltimore for his show Insomniac in 2001, it was indeed Moore who he interviewed about Baltimore and his love of dancing.
"You would sometimes take the stories he had with a grain of salt, but you learned to just enjoy them," Pugh says. "A lot of people didn't know how to take him and, upon first impression, thought he was just there to annoy or bother them. But that really wasn't who Leroy was."
Moore was cared for by his sisters and lived with his stepdad, Willie Leslie, after his mom passed away. He was diagnosed with lung cancer this past year and the treatment was ineffective, with his condition significantly worsening the last few months.
"We've been visiting him and his family, bringing them pizzas," Pugh says. "We saw him Thursday and it was safe to say he was on borrowed time. He went downhill so fast."
A GoFundMe page was started by Moore's friend Shannon Cosgrove to help his family pay for funeral arrangements. "If you have a few dollars and could help towards the cost of his funeral and any celebration of his life, I know his family would greatly appreciate it," Cosgrove wrote. "This community helped love and care for Leroy for decades, I find it only fitting to celebrate him and offer one more sign of love for Leroy by caring for his family now." The campaign has currently surpassed $7,000.
"His family knew he had friends and that people knew him," Cosgrove says. "But it’s insane to realize just how many people Leroy knew. Everyone has a Leroy story. His family has really been really in awe of how much people loved him."
Moore's viewing will take place at March Funeral Home at 1101 East North Avenue on December 27 from 5-7 p.m. and his funeral service is scheduled for December 28 at 10 a.m. at Life Church Ministries at 3820 South Hanover Street (there's a rumor that Bowie's "Let's Dance" will be played).
Every year, another event will honor and celebrate the legacy that he left behind.
"We'll absolutely still have a birthday party for him in July," Pugh says. "Every year, he told you it was coming up and what day of the week it's going to be. As long as I am associated with Johnny Rad's, we will have a birthday party for Leroy."