Judith Moss

October 17, 1939 ~ September 22, 2020


Oct. 1, 2020
11:00 AM
1950 E. Dimple Dell Road, Sandy, Utah

"I always wound up thinking about concepts in ways that I hadn't considered before,” typifies the common reaction of her students. Whether in a formal class or simple conversation, interactions with Judith Moss were always memorable and stimulating. Incisive, empathic, witty, and resolute, Judith was precise with every word choice, detailed in her researched preparation, and focused in her work, her conversations, her students and her friends. With a commitment to excellence in every action, Judith impacted more people than she ever realized and the loss of her wisdom and gracious friendship are already acutely felt.

Judith Moss, a resident of Palo Alto since 1967, passed away on September 22, 2020 of chronic heart disease. She was born to Rex Ferrebee and Ione Naegle Moss in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 17, 1939. Her life-long independence and precocious intellect were evidenced when at barely 3 years old she taught herself to read by perusing what she believed were short stories in the newspaper—the obituaries. Perhaps this activity sparked her later interest in sharing her carefully researched and written family histories with 10 nieces and nephews who cherished every communication with their Aunt Judith. No note, greeting, or gift to anyone was ever generic but always selected with great care and specificity.

Outstanding achievements in high school included a year in post-war West Germany as an exchange student; this experience ignited her desire for further travel and exploration. Staying in contact with her German host family for years, she often expressed great gratitude for them in this seminal time. In college at Brigham Young University, she held multiple leadership positions in student government, honor societies and service organizations while earning her BA in English from BYU in 1962. Usually elected the president of each organization she joined, fellow students quickly recognized her abilities culminating in her election as President of the BYU Association of Women Students her senior year. As part of her Masters studies, she helped develop innovative teaching strategies in the BYU H.S. laboratory school. Her BYU experiences proved to be tremendous training for her Stanford University work-life beginning in 1967. The highlight of her Stanford career was her work in the Training and Organizational Development department in HR where she helped promote and teach organizational principles throughout many university disciplines and departments. Judith was passionate about Stanford and the “Stanford Way,” earning a Staff Emeritus title upon her retirement in January 2010. 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 Education program on memoir and personal history writing, and tutored young elementary students who benefited from and lovingly reciprocated her engaged attention.

Judith was an active, vibrant member of the Palo Alto First Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a devoted friend and mentor to many youth and adults. The notes and tributes of love showered upon her 80th birthday celebration last year illustrate the impact she had on so many. Judith’s teaching and devoted service to her faith and her LDS congregation are renown. “I wish I could teach like Judith Moss does!” was a commonly repeated phrase. Ever the consistent scholar, she stated recently how much she relished delving into the Scriptures each day to continue discovering new insights even after her decades of study. This life-long, deep intellectual and spiritual enthusiasm for learning, sharing and teaching are the essence of Judith.

Preceded in death by her loving parents and her two cherished brothers, James Rex Moss and Stephen Roger Moss, she is survived by her caring sisters-in-law, LaVelle R. Moss of Orem, Utah and Mary H. Moss of Salt Lake City, Utah; ten nieces and nephews; many cousins; and multiple admiring friends whose lives have been enriched as “students” of Judith Moss.

A family graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m on Thursday, Oct. 1 at Larkin Sunset Gardens Cemetery, 1950 East Dimple Dell Rd. (10600 S.), Sandy, UT.

In lieu of flowers, please consider honoring Judith’s passion for history, family and faith by making a donation to the Daughters of Utah Pioneers.


I am saddened by the news of Judith's passing and send my condolences to her family and friends. Judith and I worked closely together at Stanford from September, 1972 to March, 1976. I needed someone to help me establish the Staff Training and Development function. I could see Judith's potential and she was eager to spread her wings in the area of staff training. She was just the right person for that assignment and was superb in what she did. When I left Stanford in 1976, I recommended her to take my place, and she did. Judith could always see the big picture, yet she was fastidious in making sure that all the details were covered for exemplary execution. She was "can-do" and always had a sparkle in her eyes to accompany her droll sense of humor. I never had to worry about her work. It was always top-notch! Farewell Judith! It was a privilege and pleasure to work with you!

- Ian Jacobsen
I am so sorry to hear that Judy has died. I was a colleague and friend at Stanford, and saw her only recently in Palo Alto. She was lovely and I enjoyed chatting with her very much. What a lovely photo you have chosen of her. My condolences to all her friends and family. She will be missed by many people.

- Miriam & Charles Palm
Judith and I shared a special bond. I served a mission in Berlin Germany with her brother Steve, who was an important positive influence in my mission period. Judith was writing about the unique role Berlin played in the world, and thus the Berlin Mission—she was fascinated with that and wanted my perspective on the mission and the city in World affairs. I am grateful I was able to provide a few paragraphs to her. Her interest was to help Steve’s grandchildren and relations appreciate Steve’s role in declaring the gospel in the isle of freedom behind the Iron Curtain. She and I shared many conversations over the years about this and other subjects, most recently at her 80th birthday celebration party. Our last visit together was memorable for the pleasure this gathering of friends and admirers gave her. I count myself fortunate to have been among that number and the frequent recipient of her sparkling smile and smiling eyes. She was an artful facilitator of discussion and gifted teacher.

- Peter Giles
I was a student in one of Judith’s Institute classes a couple years back. Even though she knew the material inside and out, instead of just lecturing, she inspired us to be prepared as we were all part of the discussion. It was challenging as well as immensely rewarding. Despite many awkward topics and challenging view points she could facilitate the discussion flawlessly. I always found her gift to include all points of view incredible. I will miss her.

- Karina Farthing
There could be only one Judith Moss - I would look forward to lessons from Judith, always learning and taking away a new and fresh point of view on really any topic. She broadened my horizons. In the past 5 years, I became even closer to this wonderful and strong woman, she became like a second mother to me, and was often my sounding board. She listened intently and then gave careful consideration to the words and ideas she offered back. I like to imagine Judith being of help to so many in need in the spirit world, her commitment, her wisdom and kind inclusive nature will go far in explaining and uncovering truths for those with questions. We will miss this brave and adventurous soul - Judith you have forever left a mark on my heart and my mind.......until we meet again Love you, Mary

- Mary Tall
Judith was one of the first women who signed up to feed my family when I had given birth to Adan, when we were new to the Palo Alto 1st Ward. Since then my Children would always remember her throughout our years in the Ward, and would say hello to her at Church. She even had offered to give my older children rides to Church on Sundays if I couldn’t make it. Her kindness, love and support towards my family and I will never be forgotten. Her Christlike ways were such a blessing to me 💗 She will truly be missed!

- Ofa Poutoa
Sending love and condolences to Judith's family. Judith was such a wonderful member of our ward! I loved her lessons, her wisdom, her animated way of expressing herself, and her candor. Our ward was richer and blessed with her presence, she will be dearly missed.

- Heidi Mickelsen
We have known and loved Judith for over 40 years. Once you met her, you never forgot her and always admired her. Any time spent in conversation with Judith was time well-spent--we loved and benefited from her wit and wisdom and faith. Our condolences to her family. It is wonderful to imagine the joyous welcome she is receiving on the other side.

- Paul and Sara Gilman
Dear family of Judith, Just a note to let you know how sorry I am that our dear cousin's life ended too quickly. She was like a big sister to me....4 years older and always someone to look up to and love. She was a beautiful person, inside and out and I loved her dearly. I am going to miss the chats on the phone often and her laugh. I hope I never forget the sound of her voice. What a good example of dedication she was. We were planning on coming to the service, but with the prevalence of COVID and our age, we regretfully have decided we should stay home. It has been a hard decision, as I would love to be there to see all of you and feel Judy's spirit once again. Love to all of you, Marianne Taylor Hansen

- Marianne Hansen
Judith was a very caring person and I will miss our long conversations filled with much humor. She was an intellect and I always enjoyed attending her many classes. Let the angels carry her on to her final resting place where she will be received with joy. I pray for the family's loss as they remember her spirit, R.I.P. Judith.

- Janet Wells