Conway’s Jewel Moore celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by dozens of friends and family on Tuesday at the Faulkner County Senior Wellness and Activity Center.
Moore was a biology teacher at the University of Central Arkansas for more than 40 years and now has a section of the area named after her.
UCA sits on a part of the original Conway Prairie, 18 acres of prairie and woodland, which used to serve to pasture livestock in the early days of the university, according to UCA website.
Moore though, in 1977, began using the area as an outdoor classroom.
In 1980, to preserve the history of the area, the UCA Board of Trustees named it the Jewel Moore Nature Reserve.
The former teacher was also responsible for the Faulkner County Council on Aging, which started in 1974, and many other important groups.
Guests described Moore as a loving woman who did not judge those around her, but supported them.
“Jewel is not a wealthy person in money but she is a very wealthy person with friends and she is a very wealthy person with love from her family,” Moore’s niece, Carole Ann Burns, said, choking up. “We love her dearly.”
Deanne Jones Thompson, another niece of Moore’s, also talked about memories she had of her Aunt Jewel.
She said when she was younger, every Sunday family members would gather for Sunday dinner. One season in particular, Thompson said, she had just graduated high school and had no idea what she was going to do with her life.
“My family couldn’t afford school and I sure didn’t want to get married and I sure didn’t want to get a job,” she said, laughing. “Jewel said, ‘have her come and live with me, I will pay for her first semester of school.’ She started me on a 46-year very joyful, educational career and I owe every bit of it to that dear lady. I love you.”