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1946 – 2022


Marilyn Kay Moore

Thank you for visiting Marilyn's Memorial Webpage. We hope you will be able to join us to celebrate Marilyn's life on Sunday, May 1st. 

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“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.” 

- George Washington Carver

Marilyn's Celebration of Life

Thank you to Marilyn's family and friends who joined her Celebration of Life on May 1, 2022.

Marilyn's Ceremoy Recording

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Marilyn was a bright light in this world who lifted up those around her and made them feel their own self worth.


Thank you to everyone who shared their stories and memories about how Marilyn lifted them up.

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Marilyn Kay Moore, 75, passed away Monday, February 28, at Silverado Memory Care Community in St. Charles, IL, surrounded by the love of her daughters and family.

Marilyn was born August 29, 1946, in Chicago, IL, the eldest child of James and Helen Moore. She was preceded in death by her parents and her sister, Shirley. She is survived by her youngest sister, Nancy (Oscar) Menoyo of Hoffman Estates, IL.

Also surviving are four daughters: Heather (Joe) Summers of Chicago, IL, Kara (David) Levin of Irvington, NY, Victoria (Doug Pride) Van Kirk of Chicago, IL and Erin (Chad Yutka) Ruddy of Chicago, IL; two step-children: Emily Woods of Oswego, IL and Ryan (Tara) Ruddy of Melbourne, FL. Also surviving are nine grandchildren: Jeremiah, Isaac, and Vivienne Summers; Max and Henry Levin; Dylan and Madelyn Alton; and Finley and Sean Ruddy. Marilyn was close to her nephews Matthew (Felicia) Menoyo and Michael (Francesca) Menoyo, both of Chicago, IL, and her nephew James (Jimmy) Tompkins, who predeceased her. There is no doubt that Jimmy and his mom Shirley were two of the first to greet Marilyn on the other side.

Marilyn was born on the South Side of Chicago, near Midway Airport, in 1946, and grew up close to her cousins, aunts, and uncles. From a young age, Marilyn displayed the qualities of a future teacher. She was excited to bring her zest for new experiences to young children. She organized the neighborhood kids to participate in variety shows in the backyard of her home, and when she grew older she took her two younger sisters on many fun field trips around the city.


Marilyn observed social injustices while growing up in the city, and knew that she needed to act. She took a special interest in minimizing educational inequality for minority children. While attending Northern Illinois University, her desire to teach in an urban setting led her to request a student teaching placement at a school on the West Side of Chicago. Marilyn very quickly realized how underprepared she was, and vowed to do the work to prepare others for urban education.

Marilyn did take a break from teaching to become a flight attendant with American Airlines in the late 1960's and early 1970's – funny enough, the first flight she ever took was to flight attendant training in Texas. Her sense of adventure and wanderlust made her travel the globe in her Bill Blass stewardess uniform with tall, white go-go boots. But while jet-setting, she couldn't stop thinking about the children she taught in Chicago, which steered her back to her calling. She earned her Masters's Degree in education from the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Marilyn never stopped educating children. She took part-time positions in childcare centers, became a mother to four girls, a stepmother to two more children while maintaining focus and diligently completing her doctoral work to earn her Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University.

Her teaching career spanned over 35-years. She became a full-time tenure-track faculty member in Curriculum & Instruction at Illinois State University (ISU) and worked in administration as an Associate Dean of the College of Education. She collaborated with committed colleagues to organize urban bus trips designed to immerse ISU College of Education students in urban education. Interested students were paired in mentor/mentee relationships with elementary school students in inner-city schools. This program provided powerful learning and understanding for future teachers for more than 20-years. Because of initiatives like these, she earned the Outstanding Teacher of the Year award at ISU and was an Oxford University Round Table scholar (twice!) in Oxford, England. These journeys complemented her love of the English countryside where she could enjoy a good cup of tea, a scone, or a delicious slice of banoffee pie.

Marilyn's most important achievement was motherhood. Her children have deep gratitude for the support she gave. Whether it was working past midnight on her dissertation, when the house was finally quiet, or gently pushing each child to try new things and then try them again. She gave her all for her children, so they could have good lives full of meaningful connections to others, giving them opportunities to participate in the arts, athletics, and other things that helped them feel good about themselves. She taught her children to be adventurous, work hard, and have empathy. She believed empathy is the golden ticket to moving through this world in a meaningful way.

Although eight-years with frontotemporal dementia took away significant connections and the opportunity for Marilyn to retire as she intended, some slivers of her beautiful mind and heart would still emerge during this time and instantly warm the hearts of anyone in her presence. Marilyn's soul is beautiful, and her influence remains strong in her children. Her great love for life, her students, her colleagues/friends, her extended family, and especially her children and grandchildren, will live on.

It was Marilyn's special gift that she was able to connect with others, despite the limitations imposed by dementia. Some of her most valuable connections were with her caregivers. These exceptional caregivers who helped her family, when it would have been too much to do alone, are the ones with the truest gift. They dignified her and loved her with compassion and for this, Marilyn's family remains incredibly grateful.

Where does Marilyn's influence stop? It's impossible to know. But it is out there forever. Marilyn overcame odds that would have stopped most people, and made significant contributions to the lives of others. She planted seeds of encouragement and support in countless people. She will be missed, always.

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