I aspire to “get rich” in the way that his brother Don talks about Bubba’s riches in the following “History of Bubba,” written after we lost him to cancer a decade ago. Bubba’s life’s work is still making a difference in his community, and in my work and in the work of many others who Bubba influenced in a positive way.
A Brief History of Bubba
by Don Moore
Where do you start to tell the story of Bubba?
Bubba was born in Dayton, TX, June 6, 1949, the 5th anniversary of D-Day. At the age of six Bubba’s mother was struck with polio and after a year’s stay in a Houston hospital, she returned home paralyzed from the neck down, surviving for 13 more years.
Bubba moved to Bryan when he was 17 and enrolled in Stephen F. Austin, graduating with the class of 1967. Moving to a new school and town half way through your senior year is something no parent would want to put their child through. However, Bubba’s dad, Fowler was busy trying to establish a newspaper in Bryan, hoping to earn a living for his family and Bubba had a big role to play.
Fowler ran into problems when his financial backer, tired of losing money after six months, pulled out leaving Fowler with a newspaper, no money, no equipment and no car. At the time Bubba worked at a small grocery back in Dayton where he had saved his money and bought a green 1959 Chevrolet Impala, suitable for dating, which was important to Bubba. Fowler came home and asked if he would mind giving him his car, Bubba said no, he didn’t mind walking.
Fowler was broke and there was no money for groceries. Again Bubba took charge by bringing home groceries from work to feed his three siblings and mother. The seventeen year old brought home food for months until Fowler got the Pictorial Press headed in the right direction and brought the family to Bryan.
Bubba left many friends, his girlfriend and a secure childhood in Dayton to move to what seemed like a big town and a big school. He did not know he would grow up to be the richest person in his new home town, but that is exactly what happened.
With camera in hand and a great knack for photography, Bubba quickly became a hot commodity in the Brazos Valley. If you wanted to get your picture in the Pictorial Press you had to catch Bubba’s attention. From the new kid who walked from West 28th to SFA everyday, Bubba’s reputation started growing and Bubba began telling every new person he met he was from Bryan, not Dayton.
Giving to the family was nothing for Bubba, he never talked about what he had done to help his dad get another chance to make something of himself, he didn’t think like that.
Bubba’s quest for new friends was only the beginning. As the years went by he started doing things most level headed people told him were crazy. His journey included taking in friends needing help. When you walked into Bubba’s house you saw time and again someone who had maybe split up with their spouse living in his home. He would take in his friends in need and on occasion the children affected by the parents’ split would become a member of Bubba’s family as well. There was never an official count of newly separated friends who moved in with Bubba because he never thought about it. Bubba was too bust gathering his riches.
Bubba gained something he didn’t count on when he opened his home to buddies whose marriages were failing, soon their ex-wives were falling for Bubba. Many of the wives loved their husbands but couldn’t live with them, but they knew Bubba would take care of their husbands and often their children.
Bubba and his wife, Nancy, taught their children Preston and Ashley that the Moore house was always open so it was no surprise that as the kids grew Bubba started taking in a new kind of tenant, children from homes needing a loving place to live.
In order to become rich, Bubba knew he needed to do something big. At 26 he took on his first challenge, he ran for Ugly King and won. It was a proud moment for he and Nancy. He continues a life of stepping up for every charity. Maybe he gave publicity in the Press or TV Facts. Maybe it was dressing as a ballerina to make sure a charity event would be successful.
Bubba had many ideas about how to get rich and he didn’t mind trying them out. His most recent was the glass house at Post Oak Mall. Bubba asked for advice from friends and family, most of whom said “don’t do it.” You see Bubba didn’t like to go to the corporate hot shots to fundraise. He believed in the grass roots approach. Bubba had a long history of not listening to his advisors unless they agreed with him. It was not surprising the advice Bubba got was not heeded. Mark Scarmardo told Bubba he needed rich corporate donors to raise $150,000, not people throwing in quarters and dimes. Bubba respected Mark, but he didn’t listen. Inspired by Dr. Mike Reese’s whitening of nearly $10,000 worth of teeth at the mall and his subsequent donation, Bubba got fired up and raised the money he said he would.
As Bubba’s wealth grew he ran into a hill he couldn’t climb, cancer was eating away at his 54 year old body. Saturday, April 3, 2004 Bubba passed away and a celebration of his life broke out. “Friends of Bubba” gathered by the thousands at the Hall of Fame to have a party and raise money for Bubba’s doctor bills. Bubba had no health insurance because he didn’t make enough money to pay for it.
You see, Bubba knew that wealth was not measured by how much money you have, it is measured by the number and quality of your friends. Bubba died the richest person in the Brazos Valley.