Susan Joan Moore
Jan. 14, 1952-Nov. 1, 2023
Palo Alto, California
Submitted by Rebecca Renfro
During the magical hours between October 31st and November 1st, while the veil was at its thinnest, our beautiful mother, Susan Joan Barnhill Moore of Palo Alto, CA, passed peacefully in her sleep. Susan was born January 14, 1952, in Paducah, Kentucky to James Edward Barnhill and Katherine Wood (Barnhill). She was the youngest of seven children.
Susan moved to Sunnyvale, CA as a teenager and met her first husband, Robert Renfro, in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. She was a proud flower child and “not a hippie” as she would be sure to correct anyone who called her one. They moved to Los Angeles, married, and had two daughters, Tabitha and Rebecca. Susan moved with her girls back to Sunnyvale after divorcing their father. Soon afterwards, she and the girls were in a major car accident and though severely injured, she began her recovery, relearning how to walk and talk, a testament to her determination and resilience. While still recovering, she enrolled at De Anza College in Cupertino, CA where she would meet Michael Moore, her life partner of almost 50 years, and earn her Associate Degree in Recreational Therapy.
After earning her degree, Susan moved with her girls to Mountain Home, Arkansas where they lived with her mother and stepfather for a year before returning to California where she would marry and live with Michael for the rest of her years, the last forty of them in Palo Alto, CA.
Being a grandmother to her two grandsons, Zachary and Bennett, was her greatest joy and she was so proud of them both and loved to talk about them whenever the opportunity arose. Susan had many hobbies and interests including dancing, candle-making, painting, Egyptian mythology, science-fiction, Anne Rice and Stephen King novels, watching movies at the Drive-In, nature hikes, and making hand-made greeting cards for her family on every occasion. Her cards were special and looked forward to every year by everyone who received them. She was a great lover of music, especially The Beatles, David Bowie, Queen, Talking Heads, and anything that could make her dance. Oh, how she loved to dance! She was always dancing and “bebopping around”, as she called it.
She spent many years as an activities coordinator at College Park Convalescent Hospital in Menlo Park where she brought so much happiness and light to the residents with her fun classes, arts and crafts, and holiday parties. Every Christmas she performed “Santa Baby” for the residents at the holiday party and made everyone’s days merry and bright.
Though her life was not always easy, it was filled with adventure, love, laughter, art, music, and so much more. She was stylish and beautiful, down-to-earth and kind. She was complicated and moody at times and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind or swear like a sailor. Susan was loved by so many and has a large extended family of people who will miss her terribly. Her absence creates a void that can never be filled. Those who knew her will carry her in their hearts forever.
Susan is survived by her husband, Michael; her daughters, Tabitha, of Wilson, NC and Rebecca, of Berkeley, CA; her grandsons Zachary and Bennett; her sisters Janice and Janette; her son-in-law, Paul; and many adoring nieces, nephews, and family friends who love and will miss her dearly.
RIP, Suzo-me. Shabully-bully and we’ll see you on the other side!
"And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed."
- Maya Angelou