Cassandra Chrones Moore, R.I.P.
Our dear, longtime friend Cassandra Chrones Moore passed away on Sunday, July 7, 2019, at Stanford Hospital. Her husband, Thomas Gale Moore (founding member, Board of Advisors, Independent Institute), and her children, Charles and Antonia (Tonia), were at her side. Hospitalized the previous Friday, she died of aortic valve stenosis, a heart condition that had reduced her strength over time.
Cassandra was born in Oneonta in upstate New York. Her mother, Antonia Laskaris Chrones, from a Greek family, went back to Greece in the 1920s where she met and married Cassandra’s father, Constantine Chrones, known as Gus. Antonia and Gus started their family back in the U.S., where Gus became a successful businessman.
After high school in Oneonta, Cassandra went to Radcliffe College and earned her master’s degree in Romance Languages from Harvard University. She spent a year in Paris on a Fulbright Scholarship. She also studied Italian, Spanish and German, and spent time in Greece where, having heard Greek growing up, she quickly mastered it.
Cassandra met Tom Moore in 1958 on board the Greek passenger liner Olympia on its third day out from New York. Tom left the ship at Naples, Italy, while Cassandra went on to Greece. Tom wrote to her, urging her to join him in Florence. She did go, and there, Tom asked her to marry him. If you have seen the 1985 movie A Room with a View, there is a brief glimpse across the river Arno of the loggia where Tom proposed. Tom and Cassandra were married that December in New York City, worrying that nobody would come to Oneonta in mid-winter. They then returned to the University of Chicago, where Tom was a graduate student. Cassandra quickly found a teaching job at a local Catholic school. A year and a half later, they moved to Manhattan, where they stayed with Cassandra’s aunt and where their son Charles was born. After a time on Staten Island, they moved to Pittsburgh. Arriving in the city, Cassandra wept at the sight of the abandoned steel mills, but she also cried three years later when they left. Their daughter Tonia was born in upstate New York, during the time Cassandra held a much-beloved teaching job at Duquesne University.
In 1965, Tom became an associate professor of economics at Michigan State University. Cassandra also taught French there, but soon started commuting to the University of Michigan to earn her Ph.D., completed in 1975 while the family was settling into their new home in Palo Alto. Her dissertation traced the development of the “romantic triangle” in Italian and French literature from the Italian works of Giovanni Boccaccio in the 14th century to the French novels of Madame de La Fayette in the 17th. Academic jobs in her field were scarce in the ‘70s, but Cassandra was always proud of her degree, saying she did it “for love.”
A strong-willed person, she earned her real estate and broker’s licenses. Operating on the policy of “good Greeks do not work for someone else,” she opened her own firm, Windsor Properties, and ran a successful business. In 1985, Tom was appointed to a position in the Reagan administration in Washington, D.C. After a few months, Cassandra closed her business and joined him, working with the National Association of Realtors. (She was the only person in that office who had ever sold a house!)
Returning to Palo Alto in 1989, she decided not to restart her business. That year, she developed an urge to travel and started her first trip around the world. She and Tom went to Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Greece, and then London. In the next few years, she traveled to Antarctica, South Africa, and Argentina, among other places. She went around the world four times!
In the ‘90s, Cassandra was affiliated with the Cato Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Independent Institute. Her book, Haunted Housing: How Toxic Scare Stories are Spooking the Public Out of House and Home, published in 1997, concerned radon, lead, asbestos, and electromagnetic fields in the home.
In 2003, while jogging through Barron Park in Palo Alto, she was the victim of a hit-and-run. A neighbor saw the incident and the driver was arrested. Cassandra never jogged again and in recent years had difficulty walking. Her knee had been shattered and she suffered much pain. However, she and Tom went back to Paris in June 2019. They were to continue on to the mountain village in Greece where she owned a small house built by her grandfather that she had carefully tended and modernized. But after a few days in the summer heat of Paris, she was not feeling well, so she and Tom decided to come home. Nine days after she returned, she had two bad falls and wound up in the hospital.
Cassandra will be remembered with great love and missed dearly by many friends and especially by her devoted husband Tom, her two children, her two grandchildren, and her daughter-in-law. She was a strong woman who never questioned her ability to accomplish any endeavor, who cared deeply about human well-being, and who loved her family fiercely.
Requiem æternam dona ei, Domine. Et lux perpetua luceat eis.