William Marion Moss, beloved father, husband, brother, and teacher, died October 10 at Forsyth Medical Center.
The son of William Marion and Susan Chappell Moss, he was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on September 28, 1940. When he was nine, his family moved to Macon, Georgia, where he graduated from Lanier High School. At Davidson College, he studied chemistry, philosophy, and classics but ultimately majored in English literature.
From 1963 to 1965, Bill served in the U.S. Army as a tank commander with the 69th Armor, 25th Infantry Division, stationed primarily at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii.
He completed a Ph.D. in English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and in 1971 began teaching English at Wake Forest. He read and studied, taught and wrote about American literature, particularly the work of Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, Twain, and Faulkner, for more than forty years.
A sign on his door in Tribble Hall expressed the bond between who he was and what he taught: “American by birth, Romantic by temperament, Southern by the grace of God.”
With a passion for travel that matched his passion for teaching, he pursued projects that married the two. He was involved in founding the Irish Poetry Series of Wake Forest University Press and co-led January-term study trips to Ireland.
Through a friendship with visiting Chinese scholar He Xiang-lin, Bill began to study Chinese language and literature; he spent the fall of 1989 as a visiting professor at Guangxi Foreign Studies University in Guilin and was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at Beijing Foreign Studies University in 1992-1993.
He also directed the Wake Forest Program in Japan at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies in 2001 and taught American literature at Kansai Gaidai in 2006. Even more important to him than his work, however, was his family.
He is survived by his wife of thirty-one years, Elisabeth Stephens; by two sons and daughters-in-law, Jonathan Moss and Miho Kurosawa of Winston-Salem and Cullen and Madison Weidberg Moss of Wilmington; and by two daughters, Beatrice Moss of Durham and Cora Moss of Winston-Salem. He also has five treasured grandchildren, Dixon, Emi, Roi, Louie, and Emmett.
His precious family includes his sister, Sue Moss Coggins of Macon, Georgia, and the beloved brother-in-law who preceded him in death, Wilbur Coggins; nephew Bill Coggins of Beaufort, SC, his wife Mari Flowers and son John Warren Flowers; and goddaughter and niece Chappell Coggins Traynham of Macon, her husband Jay Traynham and children Eleanor and Thomas Traynham.
He is also survived by his first wife, Deanna Carlisle Moss of Winston-Salem, and too many friends, from too many different phases of his life, to list here.
A true renaissance man, Bill blended learning and action in his life. His passions were many and diverse, from literature, theater, and art, to gardening, woodworking, hiking, and college basketball. Sharing his enthusiasms freely, he transformed the lives of family and students.
His family suggests that gifts in his memory might be made to Davidson College, Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC, or Piedmont Land Conservancy.
Bill’s family thanks the Oncology Specialists at Novant Health, especially the team of Dr. Eun-mi Yu and Donna Nagy, for their knowledgeable and compassionate care during his illness.
A remembrance and celebration of Bill’s life will be held at Tanglewood Park on October 24.
Online condolences may be made to www.salemfh.com.