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Marion Moore, math professor emeritus, dies at age 76

Marion E. Moore
Marion E. Moore

Marion E. Moore was serious about abstract algebra, but he also knew how to have fun.

Dr. Moore, a professor emeritus of mathematics and a faculty member at UT Arlington for 44 years, did important research in ring theory, and he was highly dedicated to his academic pursuits. But he was also an outstanding athlete, and loved the camaraderie of friends and colleagues. He was also an ace poker player.

Dr. Moore, who retired in 2001 and had been a professor emeritus for the past nine years, passed away suddenly at his Arlington home on Dec. 10 at age 76. His funeral was held Dec. 14 at Moore Funeral Home Chapel in Arlington, followed by interment at Moore Memorial Gardens in Arlington.

He was an expert in commutative ring theory, which involves the study of algebraic structures called rings, and in module theory. He wrote a series of influential papers in the 1970s and 1980s on ring theory which earned praise from his peers and brought him numerous recommendations when he was nominated for promotion to full professor.

"He was a talented mathematician and a dedicated, passionate teacher who has left a lasting impact on many students," said Jianping Zhu, chair of the Department of Mathematics.

Mathematics professor Danny Dyer, who has been at UT Arlington for 47 years, knew Dr. Moore well and recalled his friend's prowess at virtually any sport he tried. They were teammates on the math department's intramural softball and volleyball teams in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

"He was a very good athlete, and he was a part of some really good softball teams we had back in the early days," Dyer said. "We won several championships. There weren't too many other teams on campus that could play with us. We had quite a few people in our department who were good athletes, but Marion was certainly one of the best."

Dr. Moore also was a leader of the math department's championship intramural volleyball team. He loved to play golf and basketball as well, and was a proponent of lifting weights to stay in shape. Dyer remembers Dr. Moore working out with his own set of weights in his garage.

"We had a lot of fun in those early days," Dyer said. "Then, when the department's Ph.D. program started in 1973, we were expected to be more serious, and we put a lot of time and energy into developing the program. We still had fun, but we were also busy helping get the Ph.D. program off the ground."

Dyer also recalled Dr. Moore's skill at poker, and said that Dr. Moore won more than his share of their late-night games, which often included Dick Mitchell and H.A.D. Dunsworth, who helped create the University's math department and was its chairman for 20 years.

"Although the rest of us would win occasionally, it seemed like he was always winning," Dyer said. "We joked that we were just making contributions to the Marion Moore Fund."

Dyer also recalled Dr. Moore being smart with his money.

"He was a savvy investor and understood the stock market," Dyer said. "I remember he invested a lot in Dell computers back when Dell was first taking off. He did very well on that."

Dyer said Dr. Moore was a frequent visitor to campus following his retirement, maintaining his office in Pickard Hall.

"If you ever wanted to know if Marion was here, all you had to do was look in the parking lot," Dyer said. "He drove a gold 1972 Mustang, which he kept in perfect condition. He took care of it like it was one of his children."

Dr. Moore was born May 22, 1934, in Boise City, Oklahoma, a tiny town in the Oklahoma Panhandle. He served in the Army and was stationed in Germany in the mid-1950s. Following his military service, he enrolled at West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M) in Canyon, Texas, where he received a B.S. in 1957. He earned an M.S. from Texas Tech University in 1960 and a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in 1968. He worked as an instructor at the University of New Mexico from 1961-66, when he accepted a position as assistant professor at UT Arlington. He became an associate professor in 1970, and was named a full professor in 1997.

He was a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, Alpha Chi Honor Society, Oklahoma Honor Society, American Men and Women of Science, and was an honorary member of Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society.

He served in a number of capacities during his career, including as a reviewer for the American Mathematical Society and as graduate advisor for the UT Arlington Department of Mathematics. He presented numerous lectures at conferences around the world and had dozens of research articles published in a variety of mathematics journals.

Among the many courses he taught at UT Arlington were Abstract Algebra, Real Variables, Linear Algebra, Commutative Ring Theory, Matrix Algebra, and Coding Theory. He also worked as a visiting professor at Texas Tech and at UT Dallas.

Dr. Moore was preceded in death by his parents and by two sisters. Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Cleta; daughter, Leslie and her husband, David Finlayson; granddaughters, Madrona and Laurel; and sister, Leola Wilson.