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Shearn Moody Jr.1

b. 23 May 1933, d. 25 June 1996

Father Shearn Moody Sr.1 b. 2 November 1895, d. 28 February 1936
Mother Francis Lambert Russell1 b. 4 November 1906, d. 10 August 2003
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Birth* 23 May 1933  Galveston, Galveston Co., TX,
Name: Shearn Jr. Moody
Event: Birth
Event Date: 23 May 1933
Event Place: Galveston, Texas
Gender: Male
Father: Shearn Moody
Mother: Frances Russell
Certificate Number:
Collection: Texas, Birth Index, 1903-19971,2 
Death* 25 June 1996  Galveston, Galveston Co., TX,
Name: Shearn Moody
Titles & Terms: Jr
Event: Death
Event Date: 25 Jun 1996
Event Place: Galveston, Texas
Gender: Male
Marital Status:
Certificate Number:
Collection: Texas, Death Index, 1903-20001,3 
News/Obit* 27 June 1996  Isle financier Shearn Moody dies at age 63/Reclusive millionaire dogged by controversy

GALVESTON - Shearn Moody Jr. - millionaire, convicted felon and originator of the popular Moody Gardens in this resort city - has died of heart failure at his home. Moody, 63, had been ill for years. He suffered from chronic high blood pressure and kidney disease and received regular dialysis treatments in recent years. He died at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday at his late parents' home in Galveston's fashionable Cedar Lawn subdivision, where he had lived much of his life.

Once renowned for the raucous parties he threw at his west Galveston Island ranch, Moody in recent years was considered by many an eccentric, somewhat reclusive man. He was known in Galveston for wearing house slippers wherever he went, even to the funeral of his aunt, Mary Moody Northen, in 1986. Moody was the grandson of the late W.L. Moody Jr., who founded American National Insurance Co., and the brother of Galvestonian Robert L. Moody, insurance executive and developer of South Shore Harbor. Robert Moody was unavailable for comment Wednesday. A controversial and colorful figure for the latter half of his life, Shearn Moody was convicted of bankruptcy fraud in a Houston federal court in 1989. Prosecutors said he had illegally concealed property and transferred property from his estate. He already had been convicted in 1987 of mail- and wire-fraud charges in connection with a scheme to bilk his family's Moody Foundation of money. Those convictions were overturned by a federal appellate court, however. Nonetheless, Moody was dubbed "the sleaziest man in Texas" by Texas Monthly magazine in 1987. In November 1989, he was sentenced to five years in federal prison for the bankruptcy-fraud conviction. Released on parole in May 1991, Moody returned to Galveston, where he was discharged from parole six months later. Since then, Moody remained out of the public limelight, devoting much of his time to his work on the board of directors of Moody Gardens, said Doug McLeod, board chairman of the facility and director of development for the Moody Foundation. "Many people have contributed to, embellished and enriched Moody Gardens, but it was Shearn Moody Jr. who first envisioned the concept of a botanical garden of great beauty on Galveston Island," McLeod said. The gardens include a one-acre rain forest under a glass pyramid. Moody was particularly interested in preservation and collection of rain forest plants as potential sources of medicine, McLeod said. An aquarium is planned in the next phase of construction at the popular tourist attraction, proceeds of which are used to finance a rehabilitation program for people who have suffered brain injuries. "I originally conceived the project of the gardens because we wanted to use the gardens to give this community another source of income," Moody said in a 1995 interview. He said he also was working on a book about his life and his family's history. Before his indictments in the 1980s, Moody served on the Moody Foundation board, where he supported millions of dollars in grants used to restore Galveston's 1894 Grand Opera House. Moody's life was laced with controversy.
Attempting to follow in his grandfather's footsteps, he formed the Alabama-based Empire Life Insurance Co. Under federal investigation, he was ousted from the firm in 1972. His dealings there led to the bankruptcy case that landed him in prison.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Galveston's Trinity Episcopal Church. Visitation is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. today at Malloy Funeral Home, 3028 Broadway.

Published in The Houston Chronicle June 27, 1996, page 251 
Burial* 28 June 1996  Galveston Memorial Park Cemetery, Hitchcock, Galveston Co., TX1

Last Edited 18 Jun 2012

  1. [S626] Find-A-Grave, online
  2. [S1218] Texas Birth Certificates 1903-1934 Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997, online
  3. [S942] TX Deaths 1903-2000.

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