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Obituaries

Former NIH Career Counselor Moone Is Mourned

By Carla Garnett

Dr. James C. Moone, former chief of the Guidance and Counseling Branch in NIH's Office of Personnel Management who retired in January 1995 after more than 25 years of federal service at NIH, died Feb. 8 after an apparent heart attack. He was 64.

Dr. James C. Moone

"Jim had always worked strongly with us in our recruiting efforts," recalled Levon O. Parker, minority and special concerns program officer at NINDS. "He was particularly concerned that recruitment programs and initiatives not forget the nonscientists. He would always remind us of the importance of hiring and retaining not only quality researchers, but also those who ultimately support NIH's scientific mission — the grants people, the accounting people, and the people in business fields that help the research effort. He was also a really strong proponent of employees in lower grades who were trying to advance in their careers. As head of guidance counseling at NIH, Jim was a great advocate of upward mobility programs and looking out for workers in the rank-and-file. He will be thoroughly missed."

Moone joined NIH in 1970. The Guidance and Counseling Branch he helped develop and went on to head was established with seven professional counselors in October 1972 to help employees — especially those at the GS-7 level and below — evaluate their potential, investigate advancement opportunities and map out career strategies.

A native of Greenville County, S.C., he graduated from South Carolina State University. He received master's degrees from Morgan State University and the University of Akron before earning his Ph.D. in African studies from Howard University. Later he enrolled in Georgetown University's theological studies program. He worked in the Baltimore City and Washington, D.C., public school systems, serving as principal of Coolidge High School in D.C. He was founding director of the African studies program at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, where was a professor. Over the course of his career, his interest in African studies led him to visit 40 countries. He also published more than 75 articles and two books on African, African American or international affairs.

In addition to his counseling efforts and international work, Moone was also an outspoken civil rights advocate and a catalyst for improving equity in the workplace. He served as president of NIH's chapter of Blacks in Government and was a familiar face at most of NIH's special emphasis programs, even after he retired.

"On behalf of the national organization of Blacks in Government, I would like to express our heartfelt condolences to Dr. James Moone's family," remarked Gerald R. Reed, national BIG president. "Indeed, he was a servant of BIG, civil rights, affirmative action and equal opportunity. A soldier of his stature will be greatly missed. We weep today so that our tears will bear fruit to continue the struggle. May God bless and keep the Moone family."

In retirement, Moone, an ordained minister who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960's civil rights movement, continued to be active in civic and political organizations in Montgomery County as well as statewide and nationwide. He was serving as a pastor of Peoples Community Baptist Church in Cloverly, Md., and president of Maryland's chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference at the time of his death.

"Anyone — Black, white, gray or gay — who could be counted among the disenfranchised, discriminated against, downhearted or the just plain 'dissed,' could count on Dr. Moone as a friend," remembered O.H. Laster, diversity program manager in NIH's Office of Equal Opportunity. "It made absolutely no difference to him whether their ancestors came to America on the deck of the Mayflower or in the hole of the Henrietta Marie. If one of us was not treated right, all of us were in the same boat. It didn't make any difference which way we were turned — he knew if we rocked the boat, we would shake the stern. And if he could not get us all rowing together, he would at least get us rowing in the same direction."

Moone's survivors include his wife, Rev. Dr. Ruby Moone, two daughters, a grandson, two siblings and many other relatives and friends.


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