Cover photo for Tanja O. Moore's Obituary
Tanja O. Moore Profile Photo

Tanja O. Moore

February 3, 1928 — January 27, 2022

Aiken – Ursula, Louise, Tanja, Margarita Matthes was born in Biarritz, France, and she grew up in Hamburg, Germany, riding horses on her father’s farm to the north, winning tennis tournaments, and loving nature walks on their ancestral land through the meadows of Thuringia to the south. Her father asked her once what she wanted for her birthday, and she said a zebra. He said no. She painted her horse. Her father was not pleased. By the time she completed her studies at the University of Jena, she spoke several languages and dialects. Her father hid two Jewish families in their home and smuggled them out of Germany. As war ended, she was a refugee traveling alone to England and back to Germany to search for her parents. She became an interpreter for the Allies and with a pistol under her skirt, she helped them hunt terrorists and gangs. She worked with an Army soldier named Hammond Moore and she learned that she could depend on him. In 1946, they honeymooned in Paris. In the United States, she taught ballet and modern dance. On a trip to NYC, she received training from George Balanchine. In 1956, Aiken became home. In the years to come, she would help Monsignor Smith and give dancing lessons to children at St. Mary’s and students at St. Angela’s. A teacher at St. Angela’s often asked her to substitute and urged her to become a teacher. Tanja completed studies at Clemson and taught French, German, and advanced German classes at Aiken High School. She would lead her students to watch The Sound of Music, which they cherished, and in making decorative gingerbread houses to celebrate Christmas, and she established a student exchange program with Germany which has endured and grown. “Frau Moore” loved strength into her Family, her students, and so many people that she is beloved by generations of Aiken families. She delighted in listening to classical music, Peter Alexander, feeding the birds, making everything grow in the garden, and in the house, and fishing, hunting, tennis and golf with Hammond on Palmetto. In 1987, Vice President George H. W. Bush was campaigning for president at the USC Aiken Convocation Center, and everyone there was dressed in their finest. She wore an old golf sweater and casual. George came in and walked straight across the room to her and asked, “Do you play golf?” “Yes.” “How do you shoot?” “My husband and I, we don’t keep score.” “You play 18, don’t you?” “No. we just play five or six holes and then we go back to the house and have a sandwich.” George said, “I wish I could do that. That’s how I’d like to play.” Love and admiration for our Mother, Pamela Urban-Moore and Michael A. Moore. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations, in the name of the Moore Family, may be made to the Hitchcock Woods Foundation ( SHELHOUSE FUNERAL HOME, INC., 924 HAYNE AVE., AIKEN, SC To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Tanja O. Moore, please visit our flower store.


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