Margaret Moss

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 21, 2007

NATCHEZ — Margaret Lola Abney Moss, 85, died peacefully with family at her Natchez home Friday, Jan. 19, 2007.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 22, 2007, at First Presbyterian Church in Natchez with the Rev. Dr. John Larson officiating. She will be buried next to her late husband Dr. George West Moss at Natchez City Cemetery. Visitation will be 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. to service time Monday at Stratton Chapel, First Presbyterian Church.

Mrs. Moss was born Nov. 3, 1921, the daughter of Marietta Alexander and James William Abney, in Montrose, MS. She grew up loving to play the piano and working with her family at their general store.

After completing studies at East Central Junior College, she earned a B.A. in music from Mississippi State College for Women in 1942. She often told her children how fortunate she felt that she had been able to attend college. After graduation she taught music at Madison High School. There she met George West Moss, who was a trainer in the Army Air Corps. They were married on July 15, 1943, in Montrose.

The Mosses moved to Natchez in 1951, where Dr. Moss maintained a medical practice until 1991. He died in July 2002.

In 1961, the Mosses bought the historic house Texada and began a restoration that continued for eight years. At one time Mrs. Moss operated an antiques business in the house.

Texada has been shown on Fall and Spring Pilgrimage Tours for many years and was one of the homes on the original Candlelight Tour of Homes.

The Mosses operated a Bed-and-Breakfast at Texada, entertaining visitors with stories of Natchez and about the restoration. They especially enjoyed the company of friends at their home. In their early years in Natchez, they traveled and created theme parties with friends. Later, they were members of dinner clubs and bridge clubs.

Mrs. Moss was a church, civic and community leader. She was a deacon at First Presbyterian Church and served as president of Women of the Church.

As a member of the Historic Natchez Foundation, Mrs. Moss took a special interest in the licensing program, the Historic Natchez Collection, and was an inspiration in the success of that project, donating time, money and influence to get the project off the ground. Mrs. Moss served two terms as president of the Foundation and was the longest-serving board member of the Foundation to date. On Jan. 25, 2007, she was to receive the Historic Natchez Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award for her longstanding support, especially of the licensing program.

She continued throughout her life to be interested in historic preservation and to be involved in preservation projects. She played a major role in the preservation of the William Johnson House when years ago a Natchez Garden Club committee was formed to purchase the house for safe keeping until it was acquired by the National Park Service.

She was president of the Natchez Garden Club twice. For 17 years, she was music director of the Historic Natchez Pageant and played piano for high school musicals and Natchez Little Theatre productions.

She was recipient of a Natchez Rotary Partners in Service award and was a major supporter of Community Concerts, Musical Arts League and Natchez Festival of Music.

Mrs. Moss was a beautiful, elegant lady whose dignity and graciousness were apparent to all who knew her. She was sophisticated and forward-thinking. She was known by family and friends to be a perfectionist.

Mrs. Moss is survived by her sister, Alice Gammage of Leland; her brother, James Abney, and his wife, Anne, of Conroe, Texas; and their families. She also is survived by her four children, Lelia Mahood Culhane, and her husband, Dr. Richard Culhane, of Dallas, TX; Dr. George West Moss, and his wife, Amy, of Brownsville, TN; James Abney Moss, and his wife, Durden, of Jackson; and Helen Moss Smith, and her husband, Randy, of Lafayette, LA.
Survivors also include her 12 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, who especially enjoyed being with their grandmother at the family’s annual beach reunion in Perdido Key, FL.

Pallbearers will be her grandchildren, Katherine Mahood Waldrop, Margaret Mahood Struthers, George West Moss III, Philip Floyd Moss, Emily Moss Carpenter, Hannah Abney Smith, Mary Ann Moss Darsey, Marietta Ruth Smith, Helen Moss Marshall, James Abney Moss Jr., Randall Lamar Smith Jr. and Andrew Moss Smith; and her dear friend Neil Varnell.

Memorials may be sent to First Presbyterian Church, 405 State St., Natchez, MS 39120 or Historic Natchez Foundation, 108 S. Commerce St., Natchez MS 39120.