John Moss never was short of words when it came to talking about finances or development. He had a gift for explaining things in a way that could be easily understood.
Mr. Moss, an official for both Norton and Wadsworth, was killed in a motorcycle crash early Thursday near Cincinnati.
Mr. Moss, 53, of Wadsworth, was riding his Harley-Davidson south on Interstate 71 when he struck the back of a van about 4 a.m., according to the Wilmington post of the State Highway Patrol.
Patrol Lt. Aaron Gentry said traffic had come to a halt because of an earlier crash when Mr. Moss struck the van. He was flown to Miami Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Mr. Moss reportedly was attending seminars for his job in Cincinnati. Today was the last day of the conference.
The driver of the van and his passenger were taken to Clinton Memorial Hospital. The driver was not injured, but his passenger was hospitalized in stable condition.
Mr. Moss worked part time as auditor for Wadsworth and full time as director of community development for Norton.
He was serving his fifth term as auditor, an elected position. He worked for Wadsworth for 16 years and six years for Norton.
Co-workers described him as laid back, humorous and down to earth.
“He was a good man, caring, compassionate, reliable and very competent,” said Norton Administrator Rick Ryland. “He often thought outside the box.”
Ryland. who used to own a motorcycle, said he and Mr. Moss would take rides together. Often Mr. Moss would stop by to just talk about life.
“If the forecast was no rain, you could almost always hear the Harley coming in when he came to work,” Ryland said. “John was fun loving and very diverse — a finance director for a city, economic development director for a city. He loved to explore and he loved rocks. Every time we would be excavating and we’d find a rock, John would want to keep it. In his office today, you can find rocks as well as some old samples of the old limestone mine.”
Wadsworth’s assistant auditor, Lee-Ann Dunkle, who had worked with Mr. Moss since 1997, said her boss had a calmness about him and didn’t get excited easily. He was mild mannered with a steady approach, she said.
“He was always able to think things through. He was an excellent policymaker and could write policies that were easily implemented and effective,” she said. “When I would get upset and ask him what we were going to do about something, he’d come in and explain it to me and make it sound like it was simple. He had a very methodic way of handling situations and how to approach things. He was a very good boss.”
She said his answers were always right. “They always worked. It will be tough not having him to go to.”
Mr. Moss graduated from the University of Akron with a law degree and a bachelor’s degree in industrial management.
Norton Mayor Mike Zita’s office offered “heartfelt sympathy ... to his family and friends.”
Wadsworth Mayor Robin Laubaugh said Mr. Moss will be deeply missed.
“John was a well-known, highly respected individual within the community,” Laubaugh said. “John had a depth of knowledge that was a tremendous asset to all of us. We have suffered a great loss.”
He is survived by a daughter, Sarah, and son, Dan.
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or firstname.lastname@example.org.