Distinguished resident Harold Moss has devoted his life to country, community and family.
A distinguished and storied life is constructed from years of service and dedication to one’s community, family and ideals. It is a compilation of experiences, a shared journey that makes the world a better place. This is the story of one such life, and the man who created it: Harold Moss, a distinguished resident at Spectrum’s Lincoln Meadows Senior Living in Parker, CO.
At 97 years old, Harold Moss exemplifies a life of honor, accomplishment and devotion. He spent much of his career as an FBI agent, and even after retiring from the Bureau in 1966, he continued to provide support to the local agents, working with them on a regular basis. As a result, he was instrumental in several cases when they needed him.
About five years ago, he played a particularly important role in the case of some local residents who were running a Ponzi scheme in Grand Junction, Colo. and swindling people out of millions of dollars. Harold testified in court in 2009, and with the other agents’ work, those criminals were brought to justice.
Recently, with former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and former Director of the FBI and CIA William Webster at his side, Harold proudly accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Former Special Agents and the FBI.
JOINING THE BURAEU
Harold was born near Hannibal, MO, the last day of May in 1916. He attended school in a one-room schoolhouse while his father worked for Burlington Railroad, which relocated his family to Denver, Colo. in 1922.
Harold graduated from high school in the depths of the Great Depression, so going to college was simply not an option. But, with help from the Rotary Club, he got a job at Gates Rubber making fan belts during the summer and was eventually able to attend the University of Colorado where he studied prelaw. After two years, he went on to study law at Westminster Law School (now part of the University of Denver), graduating in September 1941 with his law degree.
As soon as he graduated, Harold passed the bar exam and began practicing law. Just two months later, the bombing of Pearl Harbor would change the course of his life. As a young, newlywed attorney, Harold was presented with the choice of joining the service or joining the FBI. He decided that the FBI would utilize his skills more effectively and was sent immediately to Quantico, VA for 12 weeks of intensive training. He was then given two three-month assignments in Indianapolis, Ind. and East St. Louis, Ill. before he finally arrived in New York City in January of 1943. He would remain in New York for the duration of World War II.
Working as an FBI agent in New York, Harold was “dealing with people who seemed to forget what side of the war they were on,” he explained. His primary job was to arrest “hoodlums” who were stealing equipment that was to be sent to soldiers overseas.
Harold and his wife, Ruth, had their first two children while they lived in New York City. Bardwell was born in 1945 and Arthur was born in 1947. They returned to Denver in 1949, and had two more children, Gayle and Wyle, just a few months before their tenth wedding anniversary.
Now in the throes of the Cold War, Colorado was a major source of uranium mining. As a result, Harold spent much of his time near Grand Junction, where the majority of uranium mining was located. Being on the road so often, with four children back in Denver, Harold decided to relocate his family to Grand Junction where he spent his remaining 16 years working as an FBI agent. His primary assignment at the time was catching criminals who were selling “yellow cake” (unrefined uranium) on the black market or using it illegally.
SERVING ON THE BENCH
In November 1966, just five days after his retirement from the FBI, Harold ran in the general election as a write-in for county judge. He won a landslide victory with 90 percent of the votes and was featured on the front page of the Grand Junction Sentinel touting the effusively positive community endorsement. A well-revered resident and community servant, Harold spent the next 16 years as a judge before retiring from the county court in 1983. Rather than fully retiring, however, he dedicated another 12 years to the Colorado Judicial Department as a senior judge, traveling around the state to fill in for other judges part-time before ultimately retiring in 1995.
Although he lost his daughter, Gayle, to complications related to lupus in 1986, he remembers that time with great fondness. He was able to give his time and energy to people who needed it, and he was able to travel often with his wife by his side.
Harold had a very challenging and fulfilling career on many levels. But his sense of identity rests not in what he has done, but for whom he did it. He has served and shared his life with both his family and his community. Harold had joined the Masons upon returning to Colorado and he became heavily involved in volunteering and service activities in the community. Adding to his many other accomplishments and awards, he also recently received the honorary 33rd Degree from the Masons honoring a lifetime of service.
Only a few months after accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award from the FBI, Harold lost two people very close to him: His youngest son Wyle, an emergency medical doctor, was killed in a plane accident in Kentucky. And shortly after, Ruth, his wife of 71 years passed away. Ruth’s beautiful art hangs on the walls in his apartment today, and brings back wonderful memories.
After living in Grand Junction for 61 years, Harold moved into his apartment at Lincoln Meadows at the end of 2012, after the anniversary of Ruth’s death. Being back in Denver, he now lives close to several generations of family members who continue to learn from him, not only through his example of dedication and service as an FBI agent and judge, but more importantly, by his devotion to family as a loving husband, father, and grandfather.
By Dawn Carr