MIAMI COUNTY — People often recognize Alex Moore on the streets of his hometown, but for divergent reasons. The 36-year-old Covington native wears two hats, each as different from the other as night is from day, but at the same time, alike in more ways than one would imagine.
By trade, he’s the owner and operator of Moore Funeral Home, located at 10 S. High St. in Covington, which he runs full-time with wife Stacey pitching in part-time. Being a funeral home director puts him in the path of many people seeking solace in the form of tributes to their departed love ones.
By chance, Moore also is a newspaper columnist, and meets just as many people, but in decidedly less somber settings. Every two weeks, Moore’s smiling face can be seen in the Daily Call alongside his latest installment of “Calling Around Covington,” a lighthearted listing of events taking place in town.
The 2001 Covington High School grad more or less inherited “Calling Around Covington” from his brother, Kyle — who Moore modestly deems the superior columnist.
“He had a full-time teaching job and wasn’t able to write it consistently anymore,” he said. “So when I moved back to Covington in 2014, I offered to take it over.”
Prior to his return to Miami County, Moore lived and worked at a funeral home in Cincinnati, where he earned his bachelor’s degree at the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. Unlike “Calling Around Covington,” the funeral business didn’t just fall into his lap.
“I got my start one summer day in 2000 as a ‘paid pallbearer’ at age 17, for a funeral with a family who didn’t have enough people to serve as pallbearers,” Moore recalled. “I knew several funeral directors — Cliff Stocker, Ada and Geary Fraley — growing up here in Covington. I kept working at the funeral home on occasion and enjoyed it. I got to see firsthand the value of how you could help a family through one of the most difficult times of their lives. From there, I did my general classes at Edison and moved to Cincinnati for mortuary college there.
Just as it takes a special kind of personality to meet and greet the public at community events, so it does to comfort grieving families. Moore’s description of his chosen profession borders on poetic.
“I feel that our role is to help a family create a beautiful tribute that honors their loved one’s life,” he said. “A funeral or memorial service is the first part of that healing experience of the grieving process, and I think it’s a very important step in the process.”
Whereas most of us view visitations and funeral services as solemn, sorrowful events, Moore strives to make them another step in the families’ journey of healing.
“When a family can view their loved one’s body, looking restored and ‘like themselves’ again, perhaps after a long illness, that is a very satisfying part of my job. It’s an aspect of funeral service that is unfortunately sometimes not a priority, but it’s is something in which I take pride,” he said.
“It may be a cliche, but a funeral really is for the benefit of the family members that survive. A good funeral director can help a family plan and create a moving tribute to a life well-lived.”
No two funerals or families are the same, Moore noted, which makes his job an ever-changing venture.
“Each person whom we are caring for is a unique individual, and their families are unique and different as well. There’s no ‘cookie-cutter’ funeral, and the variety of the work from day-to-day is interesting to me,” he said.
Variety is also the spice of life when it comes to “Calling Around Covington,” which touts everything from from fundraisers and 5K’s to salad luncheons and spaghetti dinners.
“I really just enjoy taking the news and information from friends in the Covington community, and getting that info out to the greater public. I have very good and reliable ‘sources’ for Covington news and information,” Moore said. “And I’m usually attending many of the events anyway, so I might as well be the person to publicize what’s going on here in Covington! I guess it’s a way to serve the community, similar to my job.”
The column has been well-received and its reach extends beyond the boundaries of Covington.
“I have friends from Piqua that don’t come over to our Covington events, but some have said that they still like reading the column, and knowing what’s going on over here,” Moore said. “I think it works well together, being a businessperson in town and writing the column about our village.
“I often have folks saying that they saw something about a particular event in my column, and some say they enjoy my writing style, which confounds me! My brother Kyle is a much, much better writer. And yes, folks do recognize me from the column and photo in the paper, which really surprised me at first.”
In both of his occupations, Moore finds himself on call — to varying degrees. For “Calling Around Covington,” he’s available to take village news at (937) 418-8884 or email@example.com. With the funeral home, his availability is on a much larger scale.
“Owning and operating a funeral home, especially a smaller one, is a 24-hour/seven-day-a-week job. It’s not like a 9 to 5 job; the funeral home is always ‘running in the background of your life,’ so to speak, even when I’m not working. I am always ‘on-call,’ unless we’re out of town, which is rare. That can take some getting used to, but we knew it would be this way when we purchased the funeral home,” Moore said.
“It’s also a challenge to me, but an enjoyable one, to work hard to advance and build our family business on a daily basis. I’ve been a funeral director for nearly 13 years, but an owner for just over one year. So we are able to put into practice the good things I’ve learned in my years of experience. Now I’m my own boss!”
When he’s not working at the funeral home or hunting down hometown happenings, Moore can usually be found spending time with Stacey and their two children — son Silas, 11 months, and month-old daughter Lyla.
He also enjoys playing slow-pitch softball, playing cards, hiking and reading, although he says, “There’s not much time for some of these hobbies right now, with two kids under age 1!”