|James Thomas “Joe” Moss, 80, died peacefully at Duke Raleigh Hospital on Thursday, February 7, 2008, after a brief illness.
He was born on July 3, 1927, in Youngsville, North Carolina, to the late William Thomas Moss and Lula Wade Moss. Despite suffering childhood polio and a massive stroke at age 45, he lived a life of many accomplishments and pursued a wide variety of interests. He was known for his love of fellowship with his family and friends and for his easy presence, even temperament, keen memory and love of learning, and a good sense of humor.
Joe grew up as the only child on his family’s farm in Youngsville. His father was a prominent farmer in North Carolina and his mother, a third grade teacher, prepared him as a child to enter school in second grade. He finished high school at age 15. Four years later, he was the youngest member of his class when he graduated with numerous honors from N.C. State, Class of ’47, with a B.S. in animal industry. Two years after that, he received a Master’s Degree in agronomy. He then decided to decline opportunities that he had been given to pursue a doctorate in either agriculture or medicine and instead returned to Youngsville to enter into a partnership with his father to manage a progressive farm operation, which they named Mosswood Farms. Their enterprise became known for breeding polled Hereford cattle and for growing certified seed, including hybrid corn, soybeans, and small grains. The Moss family would like to extend special appreciation to Mack Richardson and his family for their 95-year employment with Mosswood Farms.
Joe became heavily involved in civic and professional organizations. He was a lifelong member of the Lions Club, and he was elected in 1960 as governor for an 11-county district. In 2005, he received the highest award given by Lions Club International, the Melvin Jones Fellowship, for outstanding service. He served in a variety of leadership capacities with a number of agricultural organizations in North Carolina, including the N.C. Polled Hereford Association and the N.C. State School of Agriculture Advisory Council. He also served as president of the N.C. Crop Improvement Association and the N.C. Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts. In 1967, he was appointed to the North Carolina Banking Commission by Governor Dan Moore and later reappointed by Governor Bob Scott.
In 1962, he was honored by the national Junior Chambers of Commerce as one of the four top “Outstanding Young Farmers” in the nation based on three factors – progress in farming, use of good conservation practices, and contributions to the community. The News & Observer also honored him that year by selecting him as a “Tar Heel of the Week.”
In 1968, First Union National Bank engaged in a search for a newly created position of corporate vice president for agri-business by seeking the names of potential candidates for the position from Jim Graham, then the North Carolina Secretary of Agriculture, John Alexander, a well-known businessman in the agricultural field, and the dean of the N.C. State School of Agriculture. Joe’s name was the only name to appear on each list, and the bank approached him about the job. Though he was reluctant at first, he ultimately accepted the position and served the bank with distinction until his stroke in 1972.
Joe was a lifelong member and deacon of Youngsville Baptist Church. He enjoyed extensive travel throughout his life in the United States, Canada, and Europe. He was also an avid hunter, outdoorsman, and collector with broad interests. He was an active member of the Wake County Wildlife Club and one of the first judges for the Dixie Deer Classic.
Joe is survived by his three sons, James T. Moss, Jr. and his wife, Susan, of Youngsville; William H. Moss and his wife, Mary, of Raleigh; and David B. Moss of Raleigh. He is survived by four granddaughters, Kristy Moss of Raleigh, Jody Ransom and husband Bryan of Paris; Elizabeth Moss of Youngsville; and Caroline Moss of Raleigh; three grandsons, William Moss, John Moss, and Alex Moss of Raleigh; and the mother of his children, Margaret B. Moss of Raleigh. He is also survived by his cousin, Lucy Mitchell DePorter and her husband, Al, of Youngsville.
Visitation was held on Friday, February 8, 2008, from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at Bright Funeral Home, 405 S. Main Street, Wake Forest, N.C. 27587. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 9, 2008, at 11:00 a.m. at Youngsville Baptist Church on 315 E. Main Street. The service will be followed by a luncheon in the church’s Fellowship Building to be catered by his favorite hometown restaurant, Holden’s Barbecue.
The family extends special appreciation to the staff of Carolina House in Wake Forest for their care of Joe during the past five years.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Youngsville Baptist Church, P.O. Box 297, Youngsville, NC 27596, or the North Raleigh Lions Club, c/o Glenn Day, 160 Meadow Glen Drive, Wake Forest, N.C. 27587, or a charity of your choice.
Bright Funeral Home & Cremation Center and at the home of Yvonne Clark at other times. (919-556-5811)