Larry Moss, a longtime member of this forum in its many incarnations, died yesterday at his home in Big Lagoon (Trinidad), California. A consumate wine connoisseur with a love of fine Loire and southern French wines, he will be missed by those fortunate enough to know him. I personally met Larry on internet wine forums before I moved to Big Lagoon where we started a monthly wine tasting and potluck group for our neighbors that has continued for the last 6 years. He taught me a great deal about wine, and about life.
Below I am including the press release about him which was released tonight by the Humboldt Botanical Gardens Foundation. I will miss him, and hope those of you whom he touched will salute his memory. All the best, Jim Vandegriff
Larry E. Moss
Humboldt Botanical Gardens Foundation
He was delighted to spend his last years in public services working on a project that served everyone and whose purposes are to conserve species of plants, educate the public and to bring beauty, peace and harmony to all.
Due to illness, Larry Edwin Moss retired as President of the Humboldt Botanical Gardens Foundation (HBGF) on June 20, 2006 at the regularly scheduled meeting of the HBGF Board of Directors. He died peacefully in his sleep in his home at Big Lagoon, California on June 22, 2006 surrounded by his loved ones, garden, books, and music.
Larry was born in the Platte River Valley of Nebraska on July 6, 1934 to Edward and Ruth Moss. He developed his love of nature and science as a child roaming through his grandparent’s farmlands.
When his parents separated, Larry moved west with his mother to the unique community of Coronado, a small island off the coast of San Diego where is older brother Don was stationed in the U.S. Navy. There, he continued to develop his interest in science. When he graduated from Coronado High School in 1952, he was the recipient of the Bausch and Lomb Science Award and the Westinghouse (now Intel) Science Talent Search Award. He also received the Naval Reserve Officer’s Training Corp Scholarship which took him to Europe for the summer on the battleship Iowa.
He graduated from the University of California in Los Angeles in 1957 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature. His senior thesis was about the St. James Bible which he believed contained many of the English language’s most beautifully written passages.
Out of college, he returned to science as a computer systems analyst with System Development Corporation and was the editor for technical manuals for the maintenance and repair of the Atlas Missile System for Convair Astronautics. The life of missiles and computers was not for him and he went north to live on California’s Big Sur Coast in 1961. There, he taught himself to play guitar and became an accomplished classical guitarist. He also wrote scripts for programs in the golden age of television including Gun Smoke and Ben Casey, M.D.
He spent the academic year of 1962 commuting from Big Sur to the School of Architecture at U.C. Berkeley. He returned to Los Angeles in 1964 and opened a guitar teaching program in West Los Angeles and was a studio musician in Hollywood. His love and focus was classical guitar, but he played and taught all styles of guitar and the 5-string banjo. He had the specialty of teaching film actors with guitar playing roles to look like they were playing guitar. He worked with the 1960s American made for television group The Monkeys who were selected for their roles based on their appearances rather than their ability to play music.
A self directed student, he continued his studies of literature, music, art, and science all of his life. While living in Pacific Palisades, California he founded the organization No Oil Inc. which continues to this day defending the coast of southern California against oil exploration and development. In 1971 he became the Southern California Representative of the Sierra Club and, in 1974, National Conservation Director. In 1975 he moved to Sacramento to serve as the Deputy Secretary for Resources for the State of California in the administration of Governor Jerry Brown. Finding that Brown was more interested in the impression he made than the substance of his acts, Larry left the administration to be the Executive Director of the Planning and Conservation League. He was particularly proud of the role he played in passage of the California Coastal Act and expansion of the Redwood National Park.
Larry moved to Humboldt County in 1978 to live in the coastal redwoods that he loved. While living in Trinidad and Big Lagoon, he was the western regional director of Wilderness Society for several years. He was a founding member of the Smith River Alliance and served as its President and Executive Director from 1990 to 1995. During that time he was instrumental in the establishment of the Smith River National Recreation Area. In 2003 he served as a member of the team which developed the Coho Salmon Recovery Strategy for the State of California.
Larry’s passion for gardening flourished when he moved to Big Lagoon in 1981 where he developed his vast Rhododendron garden. He was a 1991 Charter Member of the Humboldt Botanical Gardens Foundation and served as a member of the board of directors from 1995 and President from January 2000 to June 20, 2006 when he retired from the position because of poor health.
While President of HBGF, Larry worked tirelessly to further the construction of the Humboldt Botanical Garden which is located on Humboldt Bay, south of Eureka, California adjacent to the College of the Redwoods. The Garden’s final master plan, fund raising plan, coastal permit, construction documents, ground breaking, planting of the Wildberries Natural Riparian Area, construction of the Sun Valley Greenhouse, the first selection and ordering of plants and the commencement of the hardscape construction of the core gardens took place during his presidency.
His last visit to the Humboldt Botanical Garden was on June 8 in a Jeep driven by HBGF Executive Director Karen Angel. On June 19 he was delighted to see, while at home, an hour film showing the recent construction in the Moss Family Temperate Woodland Garden which was filmed and narrated by Leonard Anderson of Mercer-Fraser Company. Mercer-Fraser Company of Eureka is the constructing the pathways, trails, retaining walls and viewing platforms in the Humboldt Botanical Garden. At the June 20 HBGF Board of Directors Meeting, he was presented with a Dove tree (Davidia involucrata) by the officers, directors, staff, and retired directors and staff of the HBGF. The Dove tree will be planted in the Moss Family Temperate Woodland Garden in his honor.
Known in the conservation world for his ability to bring people with widely differing political perspectives together to develop policies and accomplish goals, Larry was particularly proud of the fact that the Humboldt Botanical Garden had supporters, volunteers, friends and donors from every political perspective. He was delighted to spend his last years in public services working on a project that served everyone and whose purposes are to conserve species of plants, educate the public and to bring beauty, peace and harmony to all.
Contributions honoring Larry Moss may be made to the Humboldt Botanical Gardens Foundation and dedicated to the construction of the Moss Family Temperate Woodland Garden in the Humboldt Botanical Garden: HBGF, Post Office Box 6117, Eureka, CA 95502.
in Trinidad, CA, by the sea