Denver Moore, R.I.P.

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

Every Wednesday and Friday one of our Life List Club members posts a blog on the LLC Website. Today, Jenny Hansen,is posting on that site. Sadly, this will be the last time this wonderful lady and gifted blogger posts as a Life List Club member. Other writing-related activities have grown to take up too much of her time, so she’s having to leave us. After you read my post, be sure to come back up here and click on the LLC Website so you can read hers also.

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Yesterday, one of the largest crowds ever assembled in my church gathered to honor the memory of a man who spent much of his life homeless. Denver Moore was born into the world of a sharecropper family in Louisiana and was raised in near-poverty by his Uncle James and Aunt Ethel. At age 23 he hopped a freight train and left that life behind for one of homeless wandering.

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Denver Moore

www.samekindofdifferentasme.com/photos.aspx

After ten years of hard labor in Angola Prison in Louisiana, he ended up in Fort Worth, where he spent much of the rest of his life homeless and roaming the streets. In the mid-1990s he moved into the Union Gospel Mission of Fort Worth, where a lady named Debbie Hall ignored his aloofness long enough to befriend him.

David Conner, a buddy and frequent breakfast companion of mine, was the resident manager of the mission at that time, and he says Denver was big enough and surly enough that everyone pretty much left him alone. He wouldn’t even eat his meals in the dining room with other residents.

Debbie changed all that. She kept smothering him with kindness to the point he finally began to respond. Through her, he met her husband Ron and became a good friend of both. They spent time with him and took him with them at times to their country retreat on the Brazos River.

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Rocky Top and the Brazos River

www.samekindofdifferentasme.com/photos.aspx

Debbie died during the early years of their friendship, and Denver and Ron became even closer. This poor, uneducated black man and his wealthy, educated white friend began to emphasize their commonality as human beings and Christians rather than their obvious differences, leading Denver to remark to Ron, “You’re the same kind of different as me.”

I don’t know if that remark was the spark that caused them to co-author the book or not, but it did inspire the title. Same Kind of Different as Me was published in 2006 by Thomas Nelson. Sales went viral and made Denver more money than he ever dreamed of. He immediately became a much-demanded speaker. In 2009 they released What Difference Do It Make?This second book has sold several hundred thousand copies in its own right.

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Ron Hall and Denver Moore

www.samekindofdifferentasme.com/photos.aspx

The only time I ever met Denver was the day he was installed on the board of directors of Union Gospel Mission. My wife and I were invited as guests by my friend Don Shisler, president of the mission, because David was being honored that day. My impression of Denver was that fame and fortune had done little to change him. He still seemed to be a simple down-to-earth man who, though no longer either poor or homeless, seemed unconcerned about having been both. He was just Denver, a poor man from Louisiana.

clip_image007David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his non-fiction Web Wisdom: Inspiration from the Inbox and starting his new fiction work—a series of novellas set during the period from 1860 to 1880.

Contact me at davwalktx@yahoo.com or tweet me at @davidnwalkertx

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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14 Responses to Denver Moore, R.I.P.

  1. J Holmes says:

    Hi David. Thanks for a great ppst. It’s an inspiring story. I can always use a little inspiration. Some of the most effective social work being done in the US is done by a variety of church groups.

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  2. A beautiful story we should all take to heart. We are all the same kind of different, aren’t we? Thanks so much for sharing this.

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  3. Dawn says:

    While reading your post, I popped over to the website, “Same Kind of Different as Me”. I have heard of this book, but never looked into it before. What an interesting and inspiring story. Now, thanks to this beautiful tribute you have written, I will need to read the book 🙂

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  4. Jenny Hansen says:

    Great post, David – I like Denver’s face. I’ll have to look up the books. And thank you for that sweet, sweet note at the top of your post. I’m sad to leave Life List Club, but I’m trying to scale back a bit. 🙂

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  5. Barbara Estinson says:

    I .like your beautiful tribute to Denver, David. Though I never met him, I felt a commonality with him as I read “Same Kind of Different As Me.” His and Ron’s story, and Debbie’s of course, really touches me. The world is richer for Denver’s having been in it. I didn’t know about the second book, but I will look for it.

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  6. susielindau says:

    Awesome tribute David! People can be brilliant and uneducated. It sounds like he was an amazing man.

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  7. I love this story about looking for commonality instead of seeking differences.

    These two men are a wonderful example of how I’d like to view my world. Thanks for giving me another life lesson, David.

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