Donald L Mosher Sr. 89, passed away peacefully at Newport Hospital after a brief battle. His body was tired but his spirit never failed.
“MOE” was a native Newporter. He was born in Newport, Rhode Island to Erford L Mosher and Cornelia M (Hull) Mosher on September 5th 1931 during the Great Depression. He was one of thirteen children; Erford Leslie “Big Moe” Mosher; Lloyd Mosher; Arthur Mosher; Milton “Little Moe” Mosher; Nettie Mosher; Irving “Moe” Mosher; Malcolm Mosher; Chester Mosher; Earl Mosher; Phyllis (Mulligan) Mosher; Leonard “Lenny” Mosher; Charles Mosher.
He is survived by his wife Noreen L (Little) Mosher, his daughter Tammy L (Patton) Mosher and son-in-law Wesley Patton, his son Donald L Mosher Jr, his granddaughters Sarah (Patton) Gaona and Nathan Gaona, Michaela Patton, and Ava Mosher, his grandsons Joshua Patton, Donald L Mosher III and Benjamin Mosher, his great-grandsons Nathan Gaona and Noah Gaona, his brother-in-law Hubert “Huck'” Little and Janice Little, his brother-in-law Ronald Little and Lynn Dailey as well as many nieces and nephews.
After his father passed when he was only eight years old he was looked after by his older brothers and sister that were still at home. A little while later, at the age of thirteen, he left school to help support his family. Later he would get his GED but times were tough in the household. He worked in various Newport restaurants as a dishwasher. He also worked at the Opera House as an usher where he and other ushers threatened to strike if they didn’t get two cents more per hour. They got it. Moe also worked at Cardoza’s Service Station before joining the U.S. Army in 1951 for a three-year enlistment.
In the service he earned the name “Bulldog” after being released from the hospital and completing a ten-mile run during Basic Training. He was then sent to Germany and Austria where he served honorably as a company clerk. Moe was a member of the Dixie Division. During his tour he would send most of his pay home to help support his mom. He would often speak of his love of Germany and Austria and his days spent overseas. He was proud to have served his country.
After his enlistment he returned to Newport where he worked for his bother Chester at Mosher’s Service Station as a mechanic.
One day a pretty young lady named Noreen Little came in to get a parking space as parking in Newport was tough then too. A week later he got Noreen a parking space and a date. He won her heart and a 61-year long love affair was born. They were married six months later on April 18th 1959.
They were blessed with a girl, Tammy in 1961 and a son, Donald L Mosher Jr in 1967.
He left his brother’s service station and went to work for Avica Corp as a tester on braided hoses for the Apollo Space Program. He worked with various NASA inspectors and had a stellar reputation as someone who knew his job well. One day while testing a hose the inspection tank blew apart almost killing him and earning another nick name of “Boom-Boom”. Prior to the explosion he had told others to get out of the room, saving their lives. It was later determined that the plans for the test he had been given were wrong.
Don then went to work for the Newport School Department as a custodian. He first worked at Thompson Middle School. He was then assigned to Carey School. He had the reputation of having the cleanest school of any in the city. Here he found his ongoing mentorship of students. He was later assigned to Rogers High School. Upon his retirement the students in 1995 dedicated the Binnacle to him. He was the only non-teaching personnel to be bestowed this honor to that point.
During the 1970’s and 1980’s Don sold Sunday newspapers while working full time for the Newport School Department. He started with twenty copies in front Perrotti’s Drug Store and later moved to The Old Stone Bank on Williams Street. With Noreen, Tammy and Donald Jr. by his side, Don ended up selling over one thousand copies per Sunday. This was achieved through great customer service, friendliness and commitment that Don showed every Sunday through the fifteen years of his business. Eventually, it was time to call it quits and the small newspaper stand that had become a Newport Sunday staple, giving out candy to the kids and biscuits to the dogs, became a memory.
Don then started his final position working at Salve Regina University. Here he would pick up the students both on and off campus. But Moe, as the students called him too, didn’t just pick up and drop off the students, he found a way to once again mentor. He would often give them advice when asked or tell a story from his life. Students would actually call and request that Moe pick them up. He was a student favorite. In fact, one of his nurses who took care of him in his final days remembered Moe fondly from her trips on the shuttle bus. At one point, the students created a Facebook page called, “Moe the Shuttle Driver.” After a brief illness and nineteen years of telling stories and bringing his “kids” to their destinations Moe decided to hang up his keys.
He then focused on his beloved backyard. He also loved spending time with the love of his life Noreen as well as his family.
He will be missed as a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, friend and mentor by so many.
His legacy is one of love, laughter, hard work, honesty and perseverance.
A Celebration of Life is planned for September 5th 2021.
Donations can be made to The Potter League. A private graveside service at Union Cemetery in Portsmouth will be conducted due to Covid-19 restrictions.