Aug 29, 2019
Blueberry grower, active industry member Lorraine Moore dies at 85

Lorraine Oliver Moore, a longtime North American Blueberry Council (NABC) member and a force behind the creation of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC), died Aug. 26 at age 85.

Born Dec. 10, 1933, in Sampson County, North Carolina, Lorraine and her late husband, Harry, owned and operated Ivanhoe Blueberry Farms in Ivanhoe, North Carolina. The family farm is now operated by their sons, Neil and Willie Moore.

Lorraine Oliver Moore

“Miss Lorraine,” as she was known, took pride in the business that she helped grow from a small family fruit farm into a 600-acre, multiple-farm operation that put her family and her blueberries on the map.

She was active in her church and community throughout her life. She was a member and chair of the Sampson County Board of Education, an adviser to the  Sampson Community College Foundation Board and a member of the Black River Health Services board.

Neil Moore, a member of the NABC legislative, nominations and awards committees, and the USHBC finance committee, said his mother helped him and his brother keep their focus and drive when it came to farming blueberries. “She was the behind-the-scenes person who really kept the whole thing focused. She was an accomplished school board member and rural health centers board member and, in addition to working on the blueberry farm, had roles as a teacher and secretary. In any situation, you knew where she stood and she didn’t mind taking on any role or being in charge.”

Neil recalls his mother and father traveling together to promote the need for USHBC and said she later attended some meetings when he served as president of the organization. “She loved her family dearly and she believed in cracking the whip and keeping everybody in line.”

This included a demand that the offices on the family farm include a full kitchen so she could feed her family during the work day.

USHBC Chair Chris Barnhill, a close friend of the family who said he knew Miss Lorraine for “a good part of my life,” recalls her as a dominant force in the family and the family business. She was known for her devotionals to start each day and for her country cooking.

“She was a very commanding woman. She would be heard, and you didn’t have to guess her opinion on things,” Barnhill said. “She cooked all the time for these guys at their business and at her home. They’re wondering who’s going to feed them now.” 

A funeral will be held Aug. 30. Memorials may be made to the Ivanhoe Baptist Church Restoration Fund, P.O. Box 36, Ivanhoe, NC  28447. 

– U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

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