Educator James Rex Moss was eulogized Monday as a strong family man who served his church, community and state with integrity and an equal amount of gusto.
Family, friends, government officials and education leaders filled the Canyon View 1st LDS Ward, Orem, to honor the former state superintendent of public instruction, who died in an automobile accident Friday.Gov. Norman Bangerter, who served with Moss in the Utah Legislature, sat on the chapel's dais near a red-and-white floral arrangement bearing the seal of the state of Utah.
Members of the State Board of Education, local school superintendents and local school board members, staff from the State Office of Education and representatives from the PTA and Utah Education Association were scattered throughout the audience.
Dr. Moss, 48, served as superintendent for four years, resigning July 1, 1990. At the time of his death he was executive director of the Utah Partnership for Educational and Economic Development. An attorney, Dr. Moss was a former law and church history professor at Brigham Young University and a former state legislator. He helped establish the seminary and Institute of Religion programs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles.
James R. Moss Jr., his oldest child, spoke for the seven Moss children and their mother, LaVelle, praising their father and husband as a man who made decisions sincerely and honestly.
The younger Moss was released as an LDS missionary to British Columbia one week before his father's death.
"My dad did what he thought was right," his oldest son said. "He didn't care if it made him rich, famous or popular."
The younger Moss said his father worked hard, serving his church, the children of Utah through his dedication to education and his community, but he also played hard. "He did everything with the same gusto."
His greatest service, however, was at home, his son said. Dr. Moss scheduled his time each week so he could be at his children's activities, he taught his offspring the value of hard work and he instructed them in gospel principles.
"He left a great legacy as a father. . . . Next to the Savior, he is our hero, our role model, our example," the son said.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell, a member of the Council of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who had taught Moss when he was a University of Utah political science student and Elder Maxwell was a U. professor, extended sympathy to the family from the church's leaders.
He noted Dr. Moss' extensive accomplishments as they were printed in his obituary. But, he said, that wasn't the true measure of the man. "Jim's resume was written in the hearts of hundreds of people in hundreds of places."
He called Dr. Moss a bridge builder, who built lasting bridges between educators and businessmen, who connected church members in the British Isles with their past, who tied law students to their theology and who built bridges of understanding between various factions at the Legislature.
The church leader comforted the family, telling them to cherish the memories of a loving father and husband.
Elder Hugh W. Pinnock, a member of the church's First Quorum of the Seventy, told the mourners that "each of us and the state of Utah are beneficiaries of his lessons, love and life."
A family friend, Elder Pinnock was Dr. Moss' Sunday school teacher when Dr. Moss was 10 years old and later served as his home teaching companion. He called Dr. Moss a man of "intense integrity" whose viewed his family and the gospel as the center of his life.
Dr. Moss was an inspired teacher who "had dreams of what education could be," Elder Pinnock said. As state school superintendent, Dr. Moss accomplished much, he continued. "As the months and years come and go, his vision will be appreciated more than it has been."