Dennis Harry Moss – 29 May 1948 – 2 June 2018
Dennis Moss was born on May 29th 1948 in Spokane, Washington, son of Harry and Alberta Moss. The second youngest of four children, Denny grew up poor and learned early the value of hard work and sacrifice working summers in Montana as a teenager to provide for himself and his younger sister. He was a 3-sport athlete at Coupeville High on Whidbey Island, WA and at North Central High in Spokane where he graduated in 1966. He was an especially gifted baseball player, often pitching one game of a double header and catching the other. Despite his keen intellect, higher education would give way to military service in Vietnam where he served two tours in the U.S. Army in 1968 and 1969. Denny saw active duty as an Army infantryman and as one of the early Army snipers, and was highly decorated for valor in combat. He was nominated for the Army Distinguished Service Cross, and earned 2 Silver Star Medals, 8 Bronze Star Medals with “V” device, 2 Air Medals, 4 Army Commendation Medals with “V” device, and numerous other commendations. After returning from Vietnam, he worked for legendary Alaska outfitters Pinnell and Talifson, guiding hunts for brown bears on Kodiak Island and for Dall sheep, moose, and caribou in the Brooks Range. This was one chapter in a lifetime that revolved around hunting and fishing, beginning with taking his first whitetail in Spokane County at age 7, and punctuated with the taking of an Arizona desert bighorn with both sons present in 2004. It was his love of hunting that first brought him to the Star Valley area of Wyoming in 1988 to chase mule deer in the high country of the famed Greys River, where he and Pat eventually retired in October of 2012.
Denny met Patricia Smith of Lafayette, CA on a blind date on Friday the 13th while she was attending Whitworth College in Spokane. They were married on 28 November 1970. After obtaining an Associate’s degree in Natural Resources from Spokane Community College, he left his job with Fiberform Boats in Spokane to work for the Washington Department of Natural Resources in Washougal, WA. Following a move to the Colville area in 1978, he began working for Northwest Alloys in Addy, Washington where he and Pat raised sons Geof and Tom in rural Stevens County. Denny was active during those years playing competitive softball and coaching youth baseball and basketball in Colville, where both Geof and Tom eventually graduated high school. In 1990, with the Northwest Alloys plant facing imminent closure, Denny and Pat moved to central California where he worked for Pat’s family in the wine grape industry until putting both sons through college at Washington State University. They eventually followed Geof to Arizona where they lived from 1998 until retiring and moving to Wyoming in 2012.
Friends and family will remember Denny as an extremely intelligent, generous, and kind man of uncompromising values and boundless energy that put family above everything else. He worked his entire life to ensure that his sons had a better life than he did, and this was never more apparent than at Christmas time which he always relished with the delight of a child. In his later years he was hampered by physical limitations and could not get around the mountains to hunt as much or as effectively as he would have liked, but he still enjoyed getting out to try and put meat on the table. Once an avid bird hunter, Denny had a lot of good dogs over the years and after retiring to Wyoming he and Pat welcomed two puppies into their lives in May of 2016. As Denny’s health deteriorated over the last 2 years, those faithful dogs (Radar and Lucy) brought immeasurable joy and comfort and no doubt will continue providing the same for Pat in his absence. His last hunt was in November 2016 where he and Pat hunted elk with Geof in northern Arizona, where they essentially drove around with 2 young puppies and ate tag soup. If there is a happy hunting ground, Denny is surely there now – may the sun always be at his back and the wind always be in his face.
Denny was preceded in death by both parents, Harry and Alberta Moss of Spokane, brother Ken Blackman of Santa Rosa, CA, and sister Joyce Pintler of Whidbey Island, WA. He is survived by wife of 47 1/2 years, Pat Moss of Star Valley Ranch, Wyoming; sister Robin (Pat) Kagi of Vancouver, WA; son Geof of Phoenix, AZ; son Tom (Samantha) of Pacific Grove, CA; and granddaughter Sarah.