Joy Moss, Harley librarian from 1969-2015, died at her home “peacefully and with dignity” on Sunday.
Joy was a huge part of the Harley School community, a lover of books and reading; and a woman with such a passion, she created the lower school library from her own book collection. She made an impact on all of the students who were lucky enough to have her. In 2019, Harley dedicated the Lower School Library to her. Due to her health, she was unable to attend the event, but her son joined us in her stead. We are so sad about her passing.
We shared the news of her passing with the alumni community. Here are some of the condolences and stories we received from her former students and colleagues:
Rachel Pasternak ’99: Mrs. Moss was the kindest, most gentle woman. She taught us how to properly sign out books, and how to find what we were looking for in the library. She read us stories and got us excited about reading. I can still picture how she would share book illustrations to the group in a slow, graceful arc around the circle so we could all enjoy them. One of the Harley legends.
Sara Hanna ’91: So sorry to hear this! She was such a lovely woman! I have so many fond memories of Mrs. Moss sitting on a chair in the corner, my fellow classmates and I sitting on the floor in front of her…always mesmerized by her readings.
Michael Turri ’94: That is indeed very sad. I was just thinking about her this weekend as my children are now reading books I found in her library.
I loved library time with Mrs. Moss. I remember as a child having an impression that Mrs. Moss was the guardian of that special room, both of whom deserved great respect.
I had a lot of trouble reading when I was younger. A glut of TV destroyed my ability to pay attention, so reading required enormous effort on my part. I remember Mrs. Moss being extremely patient, sifting through books upon books, trying to find some that could out-compete distraction. She eventually succeeded. Were it not for her, I doubt I would’ve developed a muscle to sustain my attention to read (much less learn) effectively. It is still a struggle to maintain enough focus to read. What I learned from Mrs. Moss was that that struggle is a meaningful one. She literally opened the door to the pursuit of knowledge for me.
Pat Newcomb, Jan Gillespie, and Marilu Newcomb ’25: She is so fondly remembered by our family—she introduced our Marilu and so many other children to the joy of books, libraries, and reading.
Sophia Trzcinski ’18: I remember loving library time with her in lower school. I don’t have any specific memories just that she would read these beautiful folk tales to us and then we would write our own. She was really lovely and kind.
Amanda Morrice McBride ’86: She was so sweet and kind and joy-filled! May she rest in peace.
Luisa Barbano ’11: Without Mrs. Moss, I wouldn’t be working on my masters in Library Science right now!
Kim Bednarcyk, Lower School, 1981-present: Joy was an amazing woman and it was a privilege to work with her.
Sue Vaccaro, Harley Dining Hall, 2006-present: Ohh noooo…I am so sad to hear this! Such a wonderful, kind heart. She will always be remembered with love, and those who were privileged enough to know her are all the better for it. Rest in peace, dear Joy.
Krysta Banke ’93: I honor Mrs. Moss and her legacy. I grew up reading books at home and reading Harley books. Mrs. Moss and Mrs. Kimmet read to us when we were in elementary school. I’m grateful the Harley Lower school library was dedicated her.
Doug Gilbert ’87: I remember her rocking chair.
Erin Dalton Owens ’87: Rest In Peace—such a lovely and kind person.
Margaret Booker Parent to Louise’10, Isabel’13: A lasting legacy of devotion and service. Thank you, Mrs. Moss.
Amanda Carter ’88: She was such a lovely person and loving educator.
Lee Goldman ’86: A kind spirit; she was the perfect person for that role.
Laurel Prothero ’06: Thank you for your tremendous gift and presence, Mrs. Moss. I treasure my memories of you reading to us in the library built with your love.
Paul Dalton ’85: One of my favorites from Lower School. Such a kind, but also no-nonsense presence in my young life.
Marilyn Burgo, parent to Gianine ’93, Paul ’97, Beth ’04: We had so much respect for her and her choice of books. Her suggested books are still treasured and now read to our grandchildren. I am also grateful the Harley Lower school honors her.
Michele Romano, Middle School Drama, 2004-2010: Joy was such a lovely person.
Milo Whitenack: Joy Moss inspired my love of writing and storytelling. She was effortlessly compassionate and brilliant, and the world is definitely a better place for her being in it.
Maura Allen, Lower School Art, 1981-2000: Brilliant mind and devoted educator. Was wonderful Joy.
Ramanan Somaskanda ’95: She was a very kind person. I have fond memories of her and am glad that the Lower School bears her name.
J Marks Markovics ’95: Mrs.Moss! I remember her fondly! What a kind, sweet, soul. I hope her journey home is peaceful and serene.
Ryan T. Luigi Woodhams ’18: I have fond memories of being a little kid in the reading nook as she read to us. Always had a calm and soothing voice and greeted everyone with a smile and a hello around campus. May God welcome her warmly into her new eternal home as she welcomed us into her class every day.
Sandy Foster, History, 1997-present: Joy was understated, brilliant, and loving. I look into her corner of the Lower School Library and remember her sitting in her rocker, reading quietly to the kids, instilling a love of literature. If there is a Harley Hall of Fame in Heaven, she is there.
Jennifer Barclay Newsham ’95: Joy was one of my absolute favorite teachers at Harley. She was kind, gentle, and helped me to foster an early passion for reading. Her library and rocking chair always made me feel cozy, cared for, and excited to immerse myself in a new world of a new story.
Jennifer Rubenstein ’92: I’m so sorry to hear this. She was a wonderful teacher. I remember sitting on the floor, transfixed, while she read us fairy tales from her rocking chair.
Julie Whitbeck ’81: That’s sad news, but I reflect on what a rich and vital life she created for herself, her colleagues and generations of students. My memories of Mrs. Moss are from a different independent school, Our School, where she also worked for a short while as a beloved reading and writing guide and resource person (teacher). She was the embodiment of kindness, and she lived up to her given name, sharing joy with all of us.
You can read Joy’s obituary here.