Richard Bradley Moses
Richard Bradley Moses, of Saltspring Island, BC, passed away peacefully in his sleep in Victoria on February 6, 2017 at the age of 83. He is survived by his spouse, Janellen Neil, his son, Daniel (and his wife Mary Ann), daughter, Jennifer, their mother, Betty Gibb, his grandchildren Jacob, Benjamin, Julianna and Jasper, his brother David, and his six nephews and nieces south of the border, Jeff, Karen, Scott, Debby, Keith and Cynthia.
Richard made his debut in Rochester, New York in 1933, son of Howard Vernon Moses, a Methodist minister, and Gladys Moses (née Bradley). He attended Ohio Wesleyan University, SUNY Binghamton, and Rutgers University where he obtained a Masters in Library Science. After working at Enoch Pratt Library in Baltimore, Maryland and Roger Williams College in Bristol, Rhode Island, Richard moved his family to Canada in 1971 to become Chief Librarian of the Oakville Public Library, in Ontario, a post he held until 1986. Under his leadership, the Oakville Public Library was the first library in Canada to become automated. At the library, he could always be found in his office with his trusty dog, Wrinkles, at his feet, and, after hours, he was a member of the library’s volleyball team called The Unabashed Librarian. When he moved to Saltspring, he was unable to prevent himself from volunteering at the library in Ganges, but resisted the call of the volleyball.
Always an amateur musician, in the true sense of the word, Richard was a horn-player from middle school until donating his horn to his grandchildren, Jacob and Ben, some 70 years later. He was a member of the Oakville Symphony Orchestra from 1971 to 1988 and enjoyed membership in the Saltspring Island Concert Band and brass quintet, Bach on the Rock, Tuned Air, and other ensembles on Saltspring Island. Starting in 2000, he thoroughly enjoyed living vicariously through his son, who became a member of the horn section of the Victoria Symphony.
Richard was also a prolific newspaper columnist, lyricist, and author. He was a columnist with the Oakville Daily Journal Record and Oakville Beaver for many years, writing a column called Off the Top, on random topics of his choosing. He also penned the lyrics for three Anthony Royse compositions, Raise A Chorus, Millennium and Ontario. His wanderlust led him to take a round-the-world voyage as a passenger on a cargo ship in 2002 and then to write a book about it, called By Degrees: Around the world by tramp freighter.
Richard also loved all things theatrical. While in Oakville, he was a member of a play-reading group that met weekly at the library, and he once starred on stage in the leading role of Neil Simon’s play I Ought to Be in Pictures. When he moved to Saltspring, he enjoyed old-timey radio plays, and was passionate about Readers’ Theatre and WordPlay. Perhaps his most memorable role was that of Willy Loman in Death of A Salesman in a live reading. His daughter never failed to thrill him when he watched her performing on stage, in many shows including A Chorus Line, Into the Woods, The Sound of Music and, most recently, The Drowsy Chaperone.
In addition to books, music, travel and theatre, Richard was also passionate about radio. His interest began at the age of 15 and first went on the air at university in 1952. In the mid 1970’s, he and Gordon Norman founded the first Canadian radio reading service for the blind and print-handicapped in the basement of the Woodside branch of the Oakville Public Library. He was the host of Concert In Stereo on CJRT-FM in Toronto from 1976 to 1988 and then he was the “classical guy” on CKUA in Edmonton from 1988 to 1996. In 1996, he “retired” to Saltspring Island with Janellen, only to find himself spearheading the founding of the radio station, CFSI-FM, which operated from 2009 to 2015. While in Oakville, he also dabbled in television, in the early days of community access cable. One of the shows he hosted, was, of course, about books at the library.
His overall championing of the arts led him to become a driving force behind the founding of ArtSpring, the main performance and visual arts institution on Saltspring Island. It was an empty shell of a project when Richard arrived on Saltspring in 1996, and in characteristic fashion, he felt the inextinguishable need to revive interest in the project posthaste. It opened in April 1999 and has become a jewel in the crown of the Gulf Islands. Richard was on the Board of Directors and was a regular Front of House Manager for many years. He was similarly integral to the founding of The Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts in 1977, even performing in a brass quintet on the new stage just as soon as the concrete had dried.
Richard’s family would like to thank Dr. Nathan Hoag and the nursing staff and HCAs on the South 4th and 5th floors of Victoria General Hospital, and Eve, the wonderful social worker, for their care and compassion. Our thanks, especially, to Dr. Bobby Crichton and Gerri, for their tender care to him, all through the years…
When not on a sailboat, ship or train, behind a microphone, typewriter, or horn, Richard was busy being a patient, caring, supportive and proud father, and a friendly storyteller who loved to laugh with his family. Most of all, he encouraged people to think and care more and not to be satisfied with the status quo. Lift a glass of Pepsi in his honour, and don’t forget the popcorn.