William Moore

Profile Updated: September 8, 2010
William Moore
Residing In: Imlay City, MI USA
Spouse/Partner: Julia D. Moore
Occupation: University Professor
Children: Kerstin Schmidt, born 1968
Bethany Marenna, born 1971
Military Service: Army  
Yes! Attending Reunion

I enrolled at Michigan State University in the Fall of 1960 and continued there ‘til December 1962. Seeing Vietnam on the horizon, I enlisted in the U.S. Army so that I would still have some control over my duty assignment. Actually it was dumb luck! I don’t think any of us foresaw the Vietnam War coming at that time, and fortuitously I got in and out of the military before the war hit full stride. I spent two years, nine months and one day in the Army Security Agency, mostly in Massachusetts and Germany. I was released from the Army in October, 1965 and returned to Lansing just in time to resume classes at MSU. In reflecting upon my life, I think I had a mental age of about 15 when I began at MSU and about 13 when I left for the Army, after two years of “sophomoric” social activities with occasional studying when and if I got a chance—mostly in all-night cramming mode. Perhaps this is selective recollection, but I think my mental age actually regressed during those first two years in college.

When I returned from the Army, now with a mental age of about 35, classes were still difficult, but enjoyable and very meaningful. I graduated with a BS in zoology in December, 1966, and by then had come to the realization that I could probably earn a living doing this forever and ever—that is, being a professional student. So, I left for graduate school at the University of Connecticut and earned a doctoral degree in September, 1971. Living in Michigan has always seemed to be my fate—which is fine with me. I assumed a position at Wayne State as an assistant professor two days after graduation from UConn, and I’ve been there ever since. I will teach my last course at WSU this Fall semester, culminating 40 years with the University, as I am now in the final year of a three-year phase-out retirement program. I spent a sabbatical year in England in 1977-8 and took a two-year leave of absence from WSU to work for the National Science Foundation in Washington from 1988-90.

WSU fancies itself as a research university, which is good. It means we can pursue our research interests, which is like engaging in your hobby all day long—albeit with the guillotine blade of “publish-or-perish” hanging over your neck. I do teach, mostly evolution, genetics and statistics. Fortunately, students at this level are well-behaved. (I’m still haunted with remorse recalling how we did our damnedest to drive Lester Maile (chemistry) and Roger Esker (physics) to distraction, and fearful that in the final judgment, God is gonna get us for that.) My research is in evolutionary biology; specifically, the evolution of birds. My students and I sequence DNA as a way of reconstructing evolutionary history and looking at the processes that lead to the diversification of birds. I closed down my laboratory about two years ago and, in fact, have taken just a bit of time off from revising what I hope is my last scientific publication to write this reflection.

I married for the first time in September, 1963 to Claudia Lee, a 1960 graduate of Sexton. We have two daughters, both born in Connecticut. Kerstin (1968) just moved with her family (two children) from Chicago to Silver Spring, Maryland, and Bethany (1971) lives in Iowa City where she just completed a MS in Library Science at the University of Iowa. Bethany has a son, two, and another on the way. I divorced in 1984 and remarried in 1994 to Juli Dieckman, who I met at Grosse Pointe Unitarian Church. Juli and I have lived in Grosse Pointe Park and still live there part time, but we are in the process of retiring to our “swamp house,” (the birding is great!) north of Imlay City.

I began to enter one of life’s final phases about 30 years ago, metamorphosing into an “old curmudgeon,” driven by the popularization of hip-hop music, body piercing, tattoos, Ronald Reagan and reality television shows. I still listen to Bill Haley and the Comets, have no pierced body parts or tattoos and wistfully recall Everett Dirksen speeches.

It’s strange how the linear progression of time becomes distorted through the “eye of the human mind.” “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time…” -- I memorized that passage in Pauline Baldock’s English Literature course! But Shakespeare didn’t have it quite right. Time doesn’t creep by in regular increments but, rather, accelerates as you grow older, and some periods are denser in memories than others. We spent only three years at Lansing Eastern of the 53-year expanse (5.7%) since we started high school, and only 4.4% of our entire lives. It seemed like an eternity then, but now it seems like yesterday, still vibrant with memories.

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Apr 10, 2019 at 12:33 PM

In our sophomore year, I was severely injured in a near fatal automobile accident. During my 3+ month recovery period, Susie’s frequent, compassionate visits to my hospital room and home gave me great comfort. She was a great friend to me and many others. She was a truly bright light at Eastern High School-- she made a difference in life.

Bill Moore

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Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:54 AM
Juli and Bill Ca. 2008
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 12:54 AM