AYER -- Zelda Moore, 93, was one of two people honored in the dedication of the newly-published book titled "Images of America -- Ayer." The other person named was a good friend of Moore's - the late Ralph Richardson who died in 1997 at the age of 95.
Among many other hats, Ayer native and landowner Richardson was a member of the Ayer Historical Commission and served for 53 years as Ayer town moderator. Richardson also wrote a series of articles for the Ayer Public Spirit newspaper on the origins and history of South Groton.
Born on Christmas Eve in 1918 and raised in Groton, Zelda Fitch married George Moore and raised their four sons in Ayer. "She provided her four children with a good life," said son Calvin Moore. Zelda Moore was active in Scouting, church organizations, Freedoms Way, and Ayer High School programs among other endeavors.
Zelda Moore's children are fifth generation (and her grandchildren are sixth generation) Ayer residents. A Gold Star Mother, Zelda Moore lost her son Douglas, who served as a helicopter pilot, just before his 22nd birthday during the Vietnam War. Calvin Moore said that during the war, his mother served as a Red Cross Volunteer to transport blood from Worcester hospitals to Fort Devens used to treat wounded soldiers.
Thanks to her passion for Ayer's rich history, Zelda Moore built a treasure trove of town artifacts that were plumbed to help build the chapters in the new Ayer history book. The book went on sale in July.
Zelda Moore spent every Sunday for four to five years visiting the Apple Valley Nursing & Rehabilitation Center and documenting Richardson's vast knowledge of Ayer history. "She hired someone to type all of that information out," said Calvin Moore. "She has years and years -- and years -- worth of material."
Much of the artifacts, photographs, and documents Zelda Moore accumulated are stored downtown on the upper floor of the Page-Moore Block on Main Street. Schwarzel said that Moore's personal library provided integral pieces of information he used to quilt together the town's history. Other sources of town history included the resources safeguarded in the Ayer Library and other pieces provided by Donald and Josephine Wallace, Ed Kelley, and the Ayer Fire and Police Departments.
It was a community affair, said Schwarzel. But, on Aug. 31, Schwarzel and Ayer Historical Commission Secretary Ruth Rhonemus visited Moore bearing a bouquet of flowers, an autographed copy of the book, and a plaque thanking Moore for her service to the town and great assistance with the book.
The book, "Images of America -- Ayer," went on sale this summer and can be purchased at many places where books are sold, including Moore Lumber & Hardware at 22 West Main St. and Kelley's Hallmark at 61 Main St. and online at both Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.