Harold Gene Moss, 90, blazed another trail on September 21, 2020. Born in Gilmer, Texas, on October 1, 1929, he passed peacefully at his home surrounded by loved ones.
Harold was predeceased by his parents, John Harris Moss and Ida Belle Wright and daughter, Cathy Cobb Moss. He leaves to mourn his passing the following: Genie Jefferson (wife); sons Dean Moss (NY) and Michael Moss (CA); twin sisters Dorothy Toliver and Martha Brown (WA); daughters Tiffany Jones and Mayor Victoria Woodards (WA); nieces Marva Goldsmith (DC), Marcia Jackson (MI) and Gail Toliver (NC); great nephew, Charles Jackson III (TX); and children of love, and not by birth: Solomon Uwadiale, Keith Blocker, Dorian Waller, Frank Boykin Jr., Carlos Watson, Rahn Clayton, Rev. Malando Redeemer, Cornelius Winesberry, Larry Norman and Supreme Court Judge Helen Whitener.
Harold was a 70+ year resident of the City of Tacoma. He served the City of Tacoma as a Councilmember for more than 13 years and as its Mayor for two years. Harold first ran for the Tacoma City Council in 1969. He lost that race, but was later appointed to the Tacoma City Council to fill a vacancy. In 1971, he ran for election to retain his seat and won. He became the first person of color elected to the Tacoma City Council, and was subsequently elected to serve two additional terms.
Harold was elected to the Pierce County Council in 1996 from District Four, and served two four-year terms. He was elected Chair of the Council for an unprecedented three consecutive years. He was Committee Chair of the Public Works, Operations & Budget, Lodging Tax Advisory and Rules and Operations Committees.
He also represented the Pierce County Council on the Washington State Legislative Steering Committee. He served as Secretary-Treasurer, First Vice President, and was elected President of the Washington State Association of Counties in 2003. He represented the 39 counties of Washington State.
Harold was an accomplished Dental Technician, Ceramist and Licensed Denturist. He owned and operated Northwest Porcelain Studios, a commercial dental laboratory, and was the President of the Wright Park and Westgate Dental Clinics, Inc. He was a past president of the Washington State Denturist Association.
Harold served eight years as the Manager of the External Civil Rights Branch of the Washington State Department of Transportation, assuring contractor compliance with state and federal law on the utilization of minority and women owned construction firms and the participation of minority persons and women in construction jobs.
He was the Deputy Executive Director of the Tacoma Urban League (TUL) for Labor Affairs for many years. The Labor Education Advancement Program he created received national recognition. Among his accomplishments at TUL was the planning, grant writing and construction supervision of the $600,000 TUL Urban Service Center building. When it was completed and dedicated in 1976, it made history as the first Urban League building constructed from the ground up in the nation.
Harold was a past President of the Tacoma Branch of the NAACP. During his term in office, he initiated the first case of racial discrimination successfully prosecuted in Washington State for violation of the State's Public Accommodations provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Act. Under his leadership the NAACP Branch also initiated two Open Housing Ordinances, which made discrimination in the sale or purchase of a residence to people of color a punishable offense in Tacoma. The Tacoma City Council passed both, but the first was defeated at the polls. Harold served as an NAACP Board Member for more than ten years.
Harold's involvement in civic and social activities past and present include: membership in the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge–Honorary Past Worshipful Master; the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts (now known as Tacoma Arts Live); Life Member of the NAACP; Advisory Committee, University of Washington, Tacoma Campus; Executive Board Member of the Tacoma Urban League Board of Directors; and a Lifetime Member of the Tacoma Urban League Guild.
More than a trailblazer, Moss was a mentor and a man of remarkable moral stature who genuinely earned the respect and admiration of many. In a 2019 interview, Moss reflected on his past and his desire for basic equality for everyone saying, "it ain't all that easy always, but it's doable. It can be done. You can make a contribution."
Harold retired from business and employment in December 2004 and began blazing a new trail in 2020, but undeniably continued his service to the community.
"When you accept and acknowledge that you are part of the family of America, you are obligated to make it the best you can for everyone in the family."
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