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J. LaVonne (Sather) Moore now rejoices with her Savior Jesus Christ who freed her from Alzheimer’s on September 22, 2023. She is a hero who bore the disease for over 15 years after volunteering for experimental treatment that might help save others from its isolation.
LaVonne went from farm girl to celebrity in her life. She was born on May 9, 1932 in Madison, Minnesota where her parents, Sigfred Julius Peder Sather and Mary Alice (Kay) Sather, came from Norway to build the Golden Rule Farm. She was the youngest of eight children, preceded in death by Orville, Stella Peterson, Stanley, Fred, Florence Cogswell, Elwood, and Don, who spent their summers on such joyous tasks as detasseling corn and “picking rocks.”
LaVonne would ride her horse, Prince, to elementary school in the one room schoolhouse, then off to High School in the big city of Madison (pop. 1900) where, in severe weather, she stayed with Aunt Mae and Uncle Bea and worked “candling eggs” at the poultry house and as a proofreader at the Western Guard newspaper. In summers, LaVonne went to Marshall, Minnesota, home of her oldest sister, Stella, to babysit her nieces and nephew Jan, Lynne, and Phil.
LaVonne attended North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. She was very active, including singing in the Festival Chorus on the campus radio station. That is where God led LaVonne to Tom Moore, who worked at the station, and a life with him in radio. Tom is often heard saying, “every boy on campus knew who Vonnie Sather was,” but she said “yes” to dating him. They were married August 31, 1952 in Ebenezer Church, Madison, Minnesota. LaVonne and Tom then moved to Denver where he worked in radio and she at the Montgomery Ward Mail Order office and Rocky Mountain Bank Note Company.
In 1962, Tom and LaVonne moved the family to Bucyrus, Ohio to start WBCO, the county’s first radio station. They, and the radio station, became integral parts of the town and its success. LaVonne was the office manager and on-air personality as the talk show host, and was an officer in the Ohio Association of Women in Radio and Television. She was often requested to do remote broadcasts, emcee various events, and even lead groups on international travel tours. LaVonne was voted one of the “Top Ten women you need to know” in Bucyrus, the pronouncer of words for the Crawford County Spelling Bee for seven years, and served on several local organizations including the Bucyrus Rotary Club where she was named a Paul Harris Fellow. LaVonne also served on the board of the Flat Rock Children’s Home in Flat Rock, Ohio.
LaVonne and Tom were active members of the former Grace United Methodist Church in Bucyrus where LaVonne was a member of the Ever-Faithful Sunday School Class, sang in the choir, and taught Sunday School. For the larger United Methodist Church, she was on the Board of Communications, a lay leader in the Mid-Ohio District, and delegate to the East Ohio and International General Conferences. She also served as Conference Secretary, assisting the Bishop, at the East Ohio Annual Conferences, and was a member of the United Methodist Women’s mission organization.
Tom and LaVonne eventually sold the radio station and retired, living in Bucyrus and travelling to visit family and sites in the US, Norway, and dozens of international cities during their personal and church related trips. Then in 2010, after LaVonne’s Alzheimer’s disease progressed, they moved to the Willow Brook at Delaware Run retirement community in Delaware, Ohio. Tom was the forever loving and dedicated husband, taking excellent care of her and visiting every day after LaVonne moved to the Memory Care Center at Willow Brook.
LaVonne is survived by her husband Thomas Paul Moore; children Randy Ellen (Gary) Garrett, Patricia Kay Moore, and Gregory Sather (Barbie) Moore; grandchildren Chelsea Leigh (Mark) Thomas, Abby Paige (Josh) Chapman, and Ellie Grace Moore; and great grandson Killian Joseph Chapman.
When interviewed about her battle with Alzheimer’s, LaVonne was asked what she was most afraid of losing; she said, “Family.” LaVonne loved family gatherings including Sather Sunday meals and reunions in Minnesota, Moore family holidays in Akron and Illinois, and immediate family gatherings which included her step-great grandchildren Shawna, Tammy, Austin, and Cindy Garrett. She loved and enjoyed all her numerous nieces and nephews on both the Sather and Moore sides of the family.
LaVonne’s immediate family held a private graveside service and laid her to rest in Oakwood Cemetery in Bucyrus. A separate memorial service will be announced in the future.
The Moore family thanks Willow Brook at Delaware Run and the Memory Care Unit for excellent care of LaVonne. Please make all donations payable to the “Willow Brook Memory Care Activities Fund” or the “Central Ohio Alzheimer’s Association” and send to Wise Funeral Service, 129 W. Warren St., Bucyrus, Ohio 44820.