Staff Emerita Judith Moss, a teacher and mentor to many, has died
Staff Emerita Judith Moss is remembered by her friends and extended family for her caring nature, captivating abilities as a storyteller, and her patience and admired teaching abilities.
A member of the Stanford community and a resident of Palo Alto for over 40 years, Judith Moss passed away on Sept. 22, 2020, from congestive heart failure. Her friends and extended family know that her caring nature, captivating abilities as a storyteller, her patience and admired teaching abilities will endure in their fond memories.
Judith’s breadth of talents were evident throughout her career at Stanford. She arrived in the Bay Area after completing her master’s degree in her home state of Utah, initially taking an administrative position at SLAC. She then became the administrative assistant to the Director of Personnel, and in that capacity, had a memory not many others had – she helped to clean up after a firebombing incident at Encina Hall in 1969 when protestors smashed windows and set several fires. The ensuing firefight with water hoses soaked everything, including employee job records, books and other critical workplace information. Judith would later recount that in the middle of the night after fires were extinguished, she went into the dark, wet offices and retrieved box after box of papers to take home to dry and save the paper files.
Her next position was to administer a new program to advance staff professional development in Personnel, and she was rapidly promoted to a training specialist, becoming a respected and well-loved training instructor. Judith conducted training with thousands of staff members on many topics, developed and ran the Management Development Program for over a decade, and her expertise as a group facilitator meant she was in high demand across campus for team building, conflict resolution, strategic planning and other departmental meetings.
Judith served as the manager of the training department within Human Resources for a time prior to a reorganization, and then as a senior learning and organizational development specialist. In that capacity, she was the project lead for the development of a then-mandatory supervisory training program, at the time a significant achievement for both herself and the university, to articulate what supervisors needed to know and do in that role. She also managed new employee orientation, delighting in helping new hires understand Stanford’s culture.
Prior to the establishment of the Sexual Harassment Policy Office, Judith was responsible for developing and conducting sexual harassment prevention training, both for staff and supervisors.
Her down-to-earth discussions and ability to create a learning experience that was both engaging in the moment and memorable upon reflection were greatly appreciated by those fortunate enough to take her classes. Her quick wit and appreciation of others’ sense of humor was evident in her work. Judith’s expertise in adult learning was one of the ways that she mentored others at Stanford who were designing training and who sought her wise counsel on how to develop a highly effective training class or course.
In her personal life, Judith became an expert in ancestry work and chronicling family history through her lifelong membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), helping others research their ancestry and write family histories. In addition, she served her community as a member of the Mediation Board for Palo Alto Human Relations, was a lead teacher in her women’s historical studies group (Daughters of the Utah Pioneers), taught courses in Stanford Continuing Studies program on memoir and personal history writing, and tutored young elementary students who benefited from and lovingly reciprocated her engaged attention.
One small way that Judith’s insatiable curiosity was demonstrated is when she became intrigued with Star Wars movies in the years prior to her retirement. She and several co-workers would talk about the characters in the movies, including the Jedi, and each of them took on a Jedi “name.” The name bestowed on Judith by the group was “Judmo,” and it always brought a smile to her face when anyone called her by that.
In her letter to request emeritus status for Judith upon her retirement in 2010, then-Vice President of Human Resources, Diane Peck, stated that Judith was selected as the first Heart of HR Award recipient in 2004, an award given each year to an HR employee nominated by peers as someone who exemplifies integrity, teamwork and collaboration, demonstrates significant contributions to HR and the University, and is a model of caring and compassion for others. Diane wrote, “Judith was the unanimous choice to receive the first Heart of HR Award.”
Her family held services in Sandy, Utah, in October. Judith is survived by two sisters-in-law and 10 nieces and nephews. To honor Judith’s passion for history, donations in her name to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers are gratefully accepted by the Moss family.