Aug. 26, 1942 – Jan. 5, 2019
Some people are inspiring teachers, others are talented artists, dedicated church members or selfless community volunteers.
Gerard J. "Jerry" Mosey was all that, and more.
In fact, the only arena in which he fell short was politics. He unsuccessfully campaigned for Lewiston Village Council and Niagara County Legislature while he lived in Lewiston from 2005 to 2016. He was, however, named "Democrat of the Year" in Lewiston in 2012 and served as a commissioner on the Niagara Frontier State Park Commission from 2008 to 2016.
"He touched so many lives," said Frank Filicetti, Dr. Mosey's longtime friend and housemate. "He made a point to make connections with people. People would invite him to parties to make sure the party was good."
Dr. Mosey, 76, of East Amherst, died Jan. 5. He was briefly in the care of Hospice Buffalo in Cheektowaga after an illness of several months.
Born in Buffalo, the son of James and Dorothy Mosey, and younger brother of James Jr. He grew up in the Norton Court projects in North Tonawanda, where his family sang together for an hour every evening after dinner, said Filicetti.
"He grew up thinking that that was what all families did," said Filicetti, chuckling. "His parents would harmonize popular songs of the day, and his father played the harmonica."
After attending Bishop Fallon High School in Buffalo for three years, Dr. Mosey entered the seminary of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, earning his high school diploma there. He returned home when his father became ill.
In 1968, as a leader of the National Catholic Youth Organization Federation, Dr. Mosey presented President Lyndon B. Johnson with a commendation for his interest in young people.
Dr. Mosey taught at Bishop Duffy High School, then joined the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales and taught at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Detroit for a year. In the Oblates, he reconnected with Filicetti, a student at Bishop Duffy who had joined the seminary a year earlier. Dr. Mosey earned a bachelor's degree in education from Western Michigan University in 1972.
After leaving the seminary, he taught in the Cleveland Hill district in Cheektowaga, then in Orchard Park schools. After a bitter teachers strike in 1975, "he felt it was time for a career switch," said Filicetti. Along with a third musician, they formed a Top 40s touring band called "The Directory."
From 1980 to 1985, Dr. Mosey was assistant principal of a high school in Daytona Beach, Fla. He earned a master's from the University of Central Florida in 1985, then taught at St. Francis High School and was principal of St. Mary’s of the Lake and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Dr. Mosey and Filicetti co-authored 10 hymns, several of which are performed at the Fatima Shrine in Lewiston, where Dr. Mosey was a lector and Eucharistic minister.
In 1992, he began work in the Education Department at Medaille College, later becoming chair of the department. He earned his doctorate in education from the University at Buffalo in 1998.
Dr. Mosey retired from Medaille in August 2002, then received the Dr. Brian R. Shero Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award.
After retirement, he taught graduate classes at Niagara University and D’Youville College and threw himself into community organizations and acting.
He served as president of the board of the Lewiston Council on the Arts and the Lewiston Kiwanis Club. He was a member of the Village of Lewiston Parks and Recreation Committee and the Loyal Order of Moose. A founding member of the Niagara-Wheatfield Kiwanis Club, he was named Lewiston Kiwanian of the Year in 2010.
In 2008, he was Village of Lewiston Citizen of the Year.
Through the years, Dr. Mosey appeared in the Lewiston Arts Council's "The Marble Orchard," and performed in productions of O'Connell & Company and the Lancaster Opera House.
He met Joey Bucheker in 2010 when Bucheker cast him in the title role of the Theatre in the Mist production of "The Wizard of Oz." Bucheker said Dr. Mosey's favorite role was Thénardier in "Les Miserables."
His final role was as Chip, the bingo caller, in "Betsy Carmichael's Bingo Palace," which Bucheker wrote with Mary Kate O'Connell. After opening in Buffalo, Dr. Mosey and Bucheker took the show on the road together, "driving, talking, laughing," said Bucheker.
"Anytime I needed something I could call him," said Bucheker. "He was a great friend."
During Dr. Mosey's time as a parks commissioner, "He was loved by everyone on the commission as well as staff," said Angela Berti, manager of marketing and public affairs for the parks. "He brought a passion for parks, education and community service to the group."
Besides his friends, Dr. Mosey is survived by three nieces.
A memorial gathering will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in the Nightengale Funeral Home, 1884 South Park Ave., near Tifft Street, Buffalo, with a memorial service beginning at 1 p.m.