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The Dash Between: Tippie Moon 'was always in best form'

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Tippie Moon, wearing a traditional all-white nurse’s uniform and a smile of delight, straddled the back of a motorcycle and hung onto the young man driving it as they made their way down State Route 254 to Elmwood Cemetery.

The diminutive Tippie, along with fellow funeral ushers Diane Jackson and Lela Glass, agreed to the unusual mode of funeral transport for a bike-loving friend’s funeral.

“Tippie was on a Cross Rocket — the faster one,” Jackson said.

As members of the Lorain County ushers and nurses union, the women offered tissues, water and comfort to bereaved families during funerals. When necessary, they escorted those who were overwhelmed with grief away from the ceremonies.

More photos below.

Tippie, who died May 29, 2010, of complications from cancer, performed similar duties for elderly members and the pastor at her home church, Second Baptist in Lorain, twice a month.

The rest of the month, the white nursing shoes, cap and dress stayed hidden in the closet among the more colorful and stylish pieces of her wardrobe. Tippie wore all of them well.

“You would think she’d been to modeling school,” Jackson said. “She knew what to wear and how to wear it. She never wore the same thing over. It was always something different. She could put it together, and you would think it cost a million dollars.

“Stepping out the door, she was dressed. Even going to the store to go grocery shopping, Tippie was always in best form.”

The Dash Between:

About this feature

The Dash Between is an obituary feature written by Alana Baranick about regular folks from Lorain County and adjacent areas.

Baranick wrote her first obit in 1985 when she was a reporter for The Chronicle. She wrote obituaries for Cleveland’s Plain Dealer from 1992 through 2008.

She is the chief author of “Life on the Death Beat: A Handbook for Obituary Writers” and director of the Society of Professional Obituary Writers. She won the 2005 American Society of Newspaper Editors Distinguished Writing Award in the Obituary category.

Today, Alana Baranick examines The Dash Between Aug. 31, 1960, when Tippie Moon was born in Lorain, and May 29, 2010, when the former EMH Regional Medical Center employee died of complications from cancer at the Cleveland Clinic at age 49.

The Dash Between is scheduled to appear in The Chronicle every other Sunday.

To suggest a story or make a comment, contact Baranick at abaranick@chroniclet.com.

Read more:

She lived all her life in Lorain, where she was born Theresa Moon on Aug. 31, 1960. Her older brother, Robert, then a toddler, had trouble pronouncing “Theresa” and started calling her “Tippie.” The name stuck.

“Most people don’t even know her real name,” said her daughter, Tamira.

Tippie’s father, Hix, a Korean War veteran, operated a crane at U.S. Steel Corp.’s Lorain steel mill and belonged to Herman Daniels VFW Post 8226.

Her mother, Mary, held various offices with the post’s auxiliary and housekeeping jobs at Lorain County Community College, Lorain City Hall and the Style Center in Lorain.

Back then, African Americans couldn’t get into Style Center to shop, according to Tippie’s older sister, JoAnn. If Style Center had a dress that their mom wanted, she would go to Agnes Kay, a boutique next door, and buy one just like it.

Tippie’s mom took her three children to the Young Timers clothing store to shop for clothes. They bought their Easter outfits at Higbee’s at the Westgate Mall in Fairview Park to avoid wearing the same clothes as someone else.

“We were very fortunate children,” JoAnn said. “We were very loved and spoiled. We loved clothes.”

According to family lore, Tippie’s brother dressed so sharp on his first day at school that the principal took him around to other classrooms as an example of what the well-dressed elementary school student should wear.

Even their father had a stylish wardrobe, including burgundy shoes and hat to match his burgundy suit.

Tippie often walked home from Garfield Elementary School for lunch, but her parents didn’t want her or her siblings to walk home from school in winter. When the weather was bad, their folks gave them money to buy lunch at Rosie’s Pizza or Cardinal Restaurant.

The Moons paneled a room in the basement where they entertained.

“We did a lot of talent shows,” Tippie’s sister said. “We sang and danced. We would play bingo.”

Tippie, a 1978 Admiral King High School graduate, went on to show off her dancing skills at such clubs as Richard’s Lounge, Warren and Mary’s, Gil’s International and Showcase Lounge.

She favored such swing dances as hand dancing and steppin’ and won several dance contests. One of her favorite dance tunes was R. Kelly’s “Step in the Name of Love.”

Tippie also danced at birthday parties, weddings and family reunions – often the reunions of other people’s families. Food rivaled dance and camaraderie as her chief lure to such group functions.

“She weighed 102 pounds, but she loved to eat,” said her half sister Jane Beard. “We wondered, ‘Where is she putting all this food?’ She was so tiny. She was just itty bitty.”

Tippie gorged on sweets, desserts and other fare at the gatherings, then loaded plates to take home, but never gained weight.

“She used to come over to my house in her pajamas – to eat,” said her friend Shirley Pruitt Glover.

Tippie invited others to eat at her house as well.

“She used to enjoy barbecuing her ribs,” her daughter said. “Whether it was winter or summer, she put the grill on the back porch. She would invite people over.”

Tippie, who had worked at EMH Regional Medical Center for more than a decade, liked to sample the wares of other cooks at rib fests in Cleveland, Taste of the South in Elyria and the Lorain International Festival.

Mourners gathered for a fish fry at her sister’s house after the funeral.

“She was loved so much, at the fish fry, the backyard was packed,” JoAnn said. “Standing room at the funeral. The homegoing was just phenomenal.”

Contact Alana Baranick at (216) 862-2617 or abaranick@chroniclet.com.

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