As with most warriors and other straight shooters, it was rarely in doubt where John Moser stood on any given topic.
Moser, a 26-year Army veteran who served as Stephenville’s mayor from 1998-2004, died at age 78 on June 20 in Stephenville. His graveside service was held Monday morning.
Moser was born in Gorman, and earned a bachelor of science degree from Tarleton State University in 1964.
He served in the Army during the Vietnam conflict, earning several distinguished medals including a Purple Heart, Legion of Merit, Soldier’s Medal, Bronze Star and a Meritorious Service Medal. He was a member of the American Legion, the Disabled Veterans of America, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the First United Methodist Church. He is survived by his wife, Barbara.
Moser often submitted emails to the Empire-Tribune, on a wide range of topics. One note he sent in October that The Wall That Heals display — the Vietnam Veterans Memorial — was going to be arriving in Stephenville last November. Moser’s note, signed "Kind regards, John Moser" states:
"Some of you may already be aware, but just in case … This memorial is scheduled for the Stephenville City Park on Thursday, Nov. 7th, through the following Saturday. I hope you can visit and see it. It has become the new ‘Forgotten War’ to many, but not those of us who were there. Some of the names on it are old comrades, who to me will always be special, NOT forgotten, and ‘forever young.’ I was almost on it three times that I know of, and probably others I don’t. I was Very Lucky, others were not."
Cindy Stafford, who was the secretary for the city of Stephenville during all three terms of Moser’s terms as mayor, described him as being "a voice" for the community, and made a comparison between his military service and his civic involvement.
"He was was a warrior for his country, and he was a warrior for his city, and he was always ready to fight," said Stafford, who retired three years ago after serving as city secretary for 23 years. "He was ready to stand up for what he thought was right for the city. He was a good man, and I was so proud to know him."
Jimmy Chew, the longtime fire chief at the Stephenville Fire Department, was a student at Tarleton when he first met Moser. They came to know each other through a mutual friend.
Chew said he has known Moser, "Off and on, probably at least 50 years."
He was assistant fire chief when Moser was mayor, and they consulted with each other often over the years.
"John was the kind of guy, he told it like it was," said Chew, who became fire chief in 2004. "You knew where he was coming from.
"Our relationship was based more on respect than anything else. He always came to me with stuff he wanted to know about."
Roger Easter, current adjutant and past commander of American Legion Post 240 in Stephenville, posted the following Facebook message after Moser’s passing:
"On behalf of Turnbow-Higgs The American Legion Post 240 I express condolences to the family and friends of John Moser. John was a twenty-three year continuous service member of Post 240 and for several years served on the Post 240 Honor Guard.
"He earned his American Legion membership via service in the United States Army serving during the Vietnam war era. The Commander of all creation has called our comrade Legionnaire to Post Everlasting where I'm certain many of his Vietnam soldier comrades have greeted him with his final "WELCOME HOME". R.I.P Soldier and Job well done!"
July Danley, president and CEO of the Stephenville Chamber of Commerce, noted that Moser was a graduate of the Chamber’s first Leadership Stephenville class in 1999.
"He was an active alumni who never missed attending the graduation celebration for each new leadership class — always offering words of encouragement, wisdom and humor," Danley stated. "John was a dedicated servant leader who generously and passionately invested his time to improve the Stephenville community."