Business, civic leader Tom Moak passes away

Published 11:02pm Saturday, November 30, 2013

Brookhaven business and civic leader Tom Moak died Saturday at his home, leaving a rich legacy of dedication to God, family and community. He was 91.

His son Frank said many people called the Moak home Saturday evening and he was so taken by how many people told him that his father was their mentor or told him stories about his father’s acts of kindness.

Tom Moak
Tom Moak

“There are so many things I could say about my father and what he meant in my life,” he said. “But, if there was anything central about my father’s life, it was the influence and ministry he had in so many other peoples lives, too.”

Moak’s daughter Sarah Moak Pruet remembered her father going out on calls at any hour when local folks needed him.

“He just thrived on helping people,” she said. “That was his vitamin – when people called and needed help he never said no, and it wasn’t just businesses or civic things, it was for personal things, too. He would help anyone who needed him.”

For those who knew Moak, finding a way to put into words all that he meant to the community is difficult. He was known not only for knowing how to get a job done, but for being the person working behind the scenes in every corner of the Brookhaven community from the 1950s to today in 2013.

His nephews, Dr. Ed and Dr. Joe Moak, talked of the many things he had a hand in as a servant to the community. He owned Perkins Hardware Store. He was a president of the chamber of commerce and always a very active member, he served on the board of directors for State Bank and Trust and Bank of Brookhaven. He was a faithful and valuable member of First Baptist Church where he was active as a Sunday school teacher and deacon. He had a passion for the Lincoln County Public Library and served on its board of directors. He was a part of many civic projects that have made Brookhaven the town it is today, they said

“His service to others was characterized by a “boots on the ground” mentality,” Ed Moak said.” He was the guy who not only could get the job done he was the guy doing the job. He always went above and beyond.”

Joe Moak said his uncle was instrumental in the development of the city, but in a quiet way.

“He was THE go-to guy,” he said. “If a group in the community were having a problem, like a school or civic organizations … whoever, he was the guy they called and he would be there for them working behind the scenes, getting the job done, and he never wanted any publicity about it either.

“He did more to put things together in this community than anyone I know,” Joe Moak said. “He put so many city projects together and he was always out there being positive and doing whatever he could to motivate people in a positive way. He never had a bad thing to say about anyone.”

Ed Moak said that his uncle was a mentor to him and Joe and others.

“He was a great influence to Joe and me,” he said, “He filled so many roles in our church and our community. He was a valuable business mentor – he became very successful but, he was never flashy about that. He had an incredible business acumen and he shared that with us.”

Ed Moak said one of his fondest memories was that he and his uncle shared a passion for sports and said his uncle had been featured in a Clarion Ledger article for the fact that he’d not missed a Brookhaven High School home game for fifty years.

There were so many small acts Tom Moak carried out that showed he was there for people in the community, Joe Moak said.

“He did so many little things,” he said. “For instance, before he went to teach his Sunday school class, he went and taught Sunday school to the firefighters who were on duty downtown. Who does these kinds of things anymore? Uncle Tom will be irreplaceable.”

Funeral services for Tom Moak are incomplete and will be announced by Riverwood Family Funeral Services.