Mending the Line

Douglas County Couple Marks 70TH Wedding Anniversary


IDLEYLD PARK — Jeanne Maes was 17 years old when she begged her mother to let her get married.

Her fiance, Frank Moore, then 19, had signed up to serve in the Army during World War II. He would leave in a few days for Fort Knox, Ky., to train with an artillery unit that would participate in D-Day.

Jeanne’s mother didn’t really approve, but she allowed her young daughter to marry on condition she finish high school after the ceremony.

“It was war time, and I think that’s why she did allow it,” Moore recalled.

Jeanne may have been young, but she knew what she wanted. Since their first date when she was 15, she knew Frank Moore was the one for her.

Time has proved her right.

The two were married New Year’s Day 1943. On Tuesday, Jeanne Moore, 87, and Frank Moore, 89, of Idleyld Park celebrated their 70th anniversary at the Idleyld Lodge, the same place they celebrated their 25th and 50th anniversaries.

In their seven happy decades together, the Moores raised four children and ran two restaurants. They founded the Steamboat Inn east of Idleyld Park in 1957. Both are well known in Douglas County for their efforts to conserve the wilderness around the North Umpqua River.

Frank Moore remembers the first time he saw Jeanne was the day he returned to Canby Union High School. He had graduated, but visited the music class one day and sang for the students.

“This beautiful little redhead was sitting on the left-hand side of the room in front and she smiled at me,” he remembers.

He was dating a friend of hers at the time, Jeanne recalled. After the friend moved away, Frank Moore came calling at her house.

“November fifth he walked up on the porch at my house. I opened the door. It never dawned on me he was coming to see me. I took him over to see my Dad,” she said.

Frank Moore took the opportunity to ask her father if he could take her to a movie.

The movie itself is long forgotten, but Jeanne Moore remembers Frank Moore held her hand but didn’t kiss her on that first date.

Two years later, the young couple began their married life separated by the war. Jeanne Moore stayed with her mother and successfully petitioned the school board to allow her to finish high school even though she was married — against the rules at that time. Meanwhile, Frank Moore trained to fire antiaircraft artillery. During the time he trained, they saw each other for only a few weeks.

Frank Moore shipped out to Europe in February of 1944.

He recalled his first shipboard meal.

“The first morning out, they served us boiled codfish, which was rotten. It was awful. On top of that, they gave us boiled eggs and the eggs were rotten,” he said.

After that, he got to know the kitchen crew well, an interest which may have influenced his post-war career as a restaurant owner.

Moore spent several months based in England before being deployed to Nazi-occupied France. He was a sergeant in the 453rd automatic weapons battalion.

When his unit rolled its amphibious vehicles onto the section of Normandy’s coastline code-named Utah Beach during the D-Day invasion in June, communication between the young couple was severed.

“When we went into the beach then, I think Jeanne had it a lot worse than I did. For three weeks or so they never had any information from us. She had no idea what was going on with me,” he said.

Frank Moore would go on to fight in the Battle of the Bulge and to help liberate the small village of Savigne Sur Lathan in central France.

Jeanne graduated from high school and worked at a bakery. She saved $3,000 of her and her husband’s earnings, which they would use to open their first restaurant in Roseburg after the war.

Jeanne Moore said one of the most romantic moments in their marriage was the day her husband returned home from the war.

Frank Moore recalled he called his wife from Boston when he returned to America. Then he got lucky and caught an Army Air Force C-47 transport plane to Fort Lewis in Washington and made his way to Canby.

“She thought I was still in Boston. She wasn’t expecting me for a week,” he said.

Jeanne’s reaction was strong.

“She never was much of an athlete, but she jumped up straight in the air four feet and landed in my arms,” he said.

“It was just a moment you remember for the rest of your life,” Jeanne Moore said.

After the war, the Moores moved to Roseburg.

They operated Moore’s Cafe on Cass Avenue for 10 years and then opened the Steamboat Inn as a fishing lodge and restaurant.

In the early years of their marriage, Frank Moore spent so many afternoons fly fishing that the waitresses at the Moores’ first restaurant once placed this classified ad in the News-Review: “Lost: One owner and manager of Moore’s Cafe. Last seen up the North Umpqua River.”

Both have worked to preserve the wilderness along their beloved North Umpqua River.

Jeanne Moore is the chairwoman of the annual Glide Wildflower Show, which features roughly 650 species. Her observations in the Limpy Rock area helped secure its designation as a protected Research Natural Area by the U.S. Forest Service.

Frank Moore has received many awards for his efforts to preserve fish and their habitat in the North Umpqua River watershed. He was inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in 2010 and received the International Federation of Fly Fishers Conservationist of the Year Award in 2003. Oregon Wildlife Federation named him Conservationist of the Year in 1969.

The Moores raised two sons and two daughters.

Frankie Moore, 65, is an emergency room doctor in Anchorage, Alaska. Dennis Moore, 60, is retired and lives in Glide. Their youngest, daughter Colleen Bechtel, 50, is a fourth-grade teacher in Green.

The hardest time in their lives was when their other daughter, Linda Moore, a senior at the University of Oregon, was killed in a car crash in 1970.

“That’s a place where you either pull together or break the marriage. We pulled together,” Jeanne Moore said.

In 1975, the couple sold the Steamboat Inn and began building the log house they live in now, which is filled with the keepsakes of people who have lived interesting lives.

The Moores say the best thing in their lives has been each other, but the second best has been the people they have befriended.

Some were famous, like writer and conservationist Jack Hemingway, the son of Ernest Hemingway and a man so devoted to fishing he called his autobiography “Misadventures of a Fly Fisherman: My Life With and Without Papa.”

Another fishing friend was Oregon governor Tom McCall. Frank Moore recalled that McCall was so moved by one fish’s struggle for life he told the story of his catching her in rhyme. A picture of McCall fishing is on the wall of the couple’s log home, along with a wealth of other photos and memorabilia.

Frank Moore credits his wife for his long years, relative youthfulness and successful marriage.

“She is just about as perfect as any woman or any person could be,” he said.

Their health isn’t perfect. Frank Moore received a pacemaker three years ago. It probably saved his life, but he said he wouldn’t have had it implanted if his wife hadn’t implored him through tears to see a doctor about his extreme fatigue.

Jeanne Moore has had two hip replacements, so her husband puts on her socks for her.

The Moores say they hope to keep living together in their log home for as many years as they can.

“We’re having a good time. We want to keep it going,” Frank Moore said.


You can reach reporter Carisa Cegavske at 541-957-4213 or

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