By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer
Bob Moore graduated from Warner High School on May 9, 1978.
The next day sealed his destiny.
“My dad was an electrical contractor,” Moore recalled. “He said that until I find out what I want to do in life I’d be an electrician.”
He started working for his father’s company on May 10, 1978.
“And I’ve been at it ever since,” he said.
Moore, 53, owns R&M Electrical and Telecommunications Maintenance. He said he’s a third-generation electrician.
“My boys work for me now,” he said. “I guess that makes them fourth-generation.”
The family’s roots in Muskogee go back a generation earlier. Moore said his great-grandfather came to Muskogee with the railroads in the early years of the 20th century.
“My grandfather worked for Jackson Electric back in the 1950s,” Moore said. “My dad worked for Jackson Electric, too. He was a union electrician then, but in 1972, Dad went into business for himself.”
Moore grew up in Muskogee and attended Grant Foreman Elementary and Alice Robertson Junior High schools. He spent a couple of years at Muskogee High School but graduated from Warner.
“I was constantly in trouble, when I was in high school,” he said. “My parents thought it was necessary to get me out of Muskogee and send me to a smaller school.”
Of course, it helped that Moore’s mother taught at Warner. He said he went in his junior class from a school with maybe 800 to 1,000 classmates to one with nearly 62.
After high school, Moore did apprentice work with his father and took a few night classes. He taught at Indian Capital Technology Center for six years.
Now, his job and his interests in hunting and golf take him all over the United States.
Meet Bob Moore
CAREER: Owner, R&M Electrical and Telecommunications Maintenance.
EDUCATION: Warner High School, 1978. Forty college hours at Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology and University of Central Oklahoma.
FAMILY: Wife, Deann; two sons.
CHURCH: Ash Street Baptist Church.
HOBBIES: Hunting, fishing, golf.
Tee for two, but
not the kind you sip
You might have problems catching Bob Moore without a set of golf clubs nearby.
“Everywhere I go, I take my golf clubs with me,” he said.
One reason he keeps his golf clubs so handy is a friendly competition with his friend Tom Renfro.
“Tom Renfro and I have a bet that we play golf in every state before we retire,” Moore said. “I’ve got 28 states so far. We like to play different golf courses. So, we plan to go someplace we haven’t been before and we go out for two or three weeks, then come back.”
He said one of his most recent trips was to an area near Lake Texoma.
“Then we went down to Fort Worth and did Tour 18,” he said. “That course has 18 replicas of the top 18 holes in the country.”
He already has played courses in Alaska and Hawaii.
“In Alaska, I got to tee off at 10:30 at night, and I played nine holes wearing sunglasses,” he said. “It was probably 70 degrees out. And it was probably 2 a.m. before it got dark. By 4 a.m., it would be daylight again.”
In comparison, Hawaii was beautiful but hot, Moore said.
He said his next golf goal could take him to the East Coast.
“South Carolina, North Carolina. They have a lot of courses on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail,” he said.
The trail is a collection of courses — plus some resorts — designed by the noted golf course architect Robert Trent Jones.
Moore said he could not say what course has been his favorite.
He recalled playing twice at a course in Gulfport, Miss.
“But I can’t play it anymore because the hurricane took it out,” he said.
Variety is the
name of the game
A mounted buck looks down from the paneled walls in Moore’s office. He said he shot it during a 2007 hunting trip with his brother in southeastern Kansas. His brother lives in Independence, Kan., and it’s one of Moore’s many favorite hunting areas.
“It’s a good place to hunt turkey and hunt deer,” he said. “It’s a lot like the area west of Muskogee with rolling hills, rolling prairies, lots of open fields and pastures.”
He said he usually goes for turkey season in the spring and deer season during fall.
“I’m mostly a bowhunter,” Moore said, adding that he uses a Hoyt compound bow.
“It’s quieter, more of a challenge,” he said. “You have to get quite a bit closer with a bow, so you have to be quieter. It takes time and patience. Patience is not one of my strong suits.”
Other types of hunting take him to Colorado and New Mexico.
Trophies from many of those hunts are mounted at his home, which has a 16-foot cathedral ceiling.
“We have bobcat, deer, elk, mule deer, I even got a couple of snakes,” he said.
It’s not as easy to get an elk.
“In 20 years of elk hunting, I’ve killed two,” he said. “My wife said it’s the most expensive meat she’s ever cooked.”
Elk can be tasty. Moore said elk meat does not have the wild taste that deer meat tends to have.
“It’s like real lean beef,” he said. “You can almost cook it like beef.”
Moore isn’t stopping with elk.
“My next goal is bighorn sheep, getting a dall sheep in Canada or Alaska,” he said.
The electrical business has changed since Moore started as an apprentice 35 years ago.
However, he has literally risen to the challenge — rising up to 2,000 feet in cellular towers.
Moore’s company specializes in electrical maintenance of cell towers, including repairs and lighting.
Some of the tallest towers Moore has climbed rose to 1,950 feet.
“The Channel 8 tower is 1,930 feet. We changed the lights on that,” he said.
Such work has taken Moore and his crews across the United States.
“We’ve worked from the Minnesota-Canada border to the Gulf of Mexico and east to Tennessee and Kentucky,” he said, adding that a recent trip was to western Arizona.
“What we do is very different from other electricians,” he said. “Not many people do what we do or have the knowledge our employees have. Most electricians don’t want to climb cell towers.”
He said his employees receive specialized training on maintenance, repairs and safety — especially safety.
“We key in on safety,” Moore said. “We want to make sure our workers can safely get up there first, then we teach the rest of it.”
He said a key to safety is to keep tied to the tower,
“Make sure you are physically tied to the tower 100 percent of the time,” he said. “And if the wind gets over 15 to 20 miles an hour, we pretty much stay off.”
HOW DID YOU BECOME AN OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE?
“My great-grandfather came to Muskogee with the railroad at the turn of the 20th century. He met and married my great-grandmother. My grandfather was born in a house on Hancock about a mile from where I live now. I was raised in Muskogee, had sons, built my business. Just too lazy to move away.”
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT MUSKOGEE?
“It’s just home. I am with my family in town. It’s just home. My business does not depend on the economy of Muskogee.”
WHAT WOULD MAKE MUSKOGEE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE?
“I don’t know. I just like it the way it is.”
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING IN MUSKOGEE?
Owner, R&M Electrical and Telecommunications Maintenance.
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
“Hunt, fish, golf, go to church activities.”
WHAT OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE DO YOU ADMIRE?
“Probably Tom Renfro. I have been a business partner and a friend of his for years. He’s an Okie from Muskogee, too.”
WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE THING TO HAPPEN TO YOU IN MUSKOGEE?
“Getting married and having kids.”
HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP MUSKOGEE IN 25 WORDS OR LESS?
“It’s just like any other town. It has its faults. It has its attributes. For a smaller town, I just enjoy living here.”