Former Chowchilla Mayor, Madera County Supervisor, Vern Moss passes
For The Madera Tribune
CHOWCHILLA — Former Chowchilla Mayor and Madera County Supervisor Vernon Donald Moss passed away at age 82 on Friday morning. Moss, a longtime resident of the City of Chowchilla, was active in many community service organizations and events.
Moss was born on September 2, 1939. He was the first child of hard-working parents who would set an example Vern would follow his entire life. He grew up on his uncle’s dairy farm in Madera and picked cotton and cut grapes in the fields of Madera County. He attended Pershing Elementary School and was a member of the first graduating class of Thomas Jefferson Junior High School.
At age 17, he moved to San Jose to live with family and graduated from San Jose High School in 1958.
After graduation, he moved to Visalia, where he briefly attended College of the Sequoias and worked for the Visalia Times-Delta.
Moss joined the U.S. Air Force in 1963. He went to Lackland Air Force Base for basic training and later attended technical school at Greenville Air Force Base in Mississippi. He then went to Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho, where he attended college in the evening. Moss attended Park College, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree.
After that, he returned to Mountain Home and attended officer training school. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on Feb. 6, 1967, and reported to the 666 Radar squadron, in Mid Valley, California, where he served as Administrative Officer. His duties included Chief and Battle Staff security control. He was later sent to Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado to continue his training.
In October 1968, Moss was sworn into the U.S. Army at Fort Ord, near Monterey, and was transferred to Germany. He was made Deputy Commander, 5th Replacement Detachment, and Deputy Chief, Personnel Management Branch. Afterwards, he was promoted to Unit Commander and Chief PMB. In January 1970, he moved his family back to the U.S. before going to Vietnam, where he was assigned as the MACV J-6, Executive Officer. During his tour, he was awarded the Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal with three stars, Vietnam Service Medal, and the Vietnam Signal Corp Devise, a foreign award.
Moss returned to the U.S. and attended school at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. He served as Division Postal Officer and was promoted to Chief of Personnel Management Division in the Adjunct Generals Office in the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado. He later became commander of the 4th Division’s Headquarters Company Administrative Command, where he led more than 900 service members. He was then reassigned to Germany.
In Germany, Moss took command of what he deemed the worst units in the country. He sent soldiers to Leavenworth Military Disciplinary Barrack and expedited the discharges of 63 soldiers. Six months later, his units passed inspection, and Moss became a Major. He was then sent to Command and General Staff College and started a new unit to support Brigade 75.
Moss graduated from college in June 1977, and was assigned to the New York National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve. Three years later, he was selected to serve in the Joint Chiefs of Staff Organization in the Pentagon. He was later assigned to the Army’s National Training Center as Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel and Community Activities and later as Installation Adjunct General.
Moss retired from the military as a Lieutenant Colonel on October 1, 1983, and became a bank manager in Los Gatos. In 1985, he came to Chowchilla, where he served on the city council, twice serving as mayor. In January 1999, he took office as District 2 Supervisor for the Madera County Board of Supervisors. He held the position of District 2 Supervisor until his retirement in January 2011.
Moss was a community leader since moving to Chowchilla; he served as president of the Chowchilla District Chamber of Commerce, president of the Chowchilla Rotary, and president of the San Joaquin Valley Rail Commission. In addition, he sat on various committees, including the First Five Commission of Madera County. As a result, the Chowchilla chamber elected him Citizen of the Year and Businessperson of the Year.
During his three terms on the Board of Supervisors, Moss oversaw several projects, including building the First Five offices in Chowchilla, relocating the Amtrak train station, and building the Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County. His retirement from the board of supervisors was honored in the United States Congressional Record.
Vern was preceded in death by his wife, Gayle, and survived by his three children.
Times for services have not been announced, but they are being arranged by Palm Memorial — Worden Chapel in Chowchilla.