Dr. A. Paul Moss, a longtime YMCA executive credited with revamping Baltimore’s YMCA camping network, died Sept. 6 at the Ellicott City Rehabilitation Center. His health has been deteriorating since July. He was 99.
Though Baltimore became his adopted home, Moss was born the sixth of seven sons and one daughter to Robert and Ida Byrd Moss on May 16, 1911, in Springfield, Ohio.
A star athlete and honor student in high school and college, he graduated from West Virginia’s Bluefield Teacher’s College in 1935 then returned to Springfield and married his college sweetheart, Evelyn.
For 17 years, he worked at the Center Street YMCA, rising to the post of branch executive and building a new facility that opened in 1950 providing a number of programs and opportunities for youth and their families throughout the community.
The national office of the YMCA recruited Dr. Moss and moved his family to Baltimore to help revive the YMCA’s in East Baltimore, where he expanded programs in Cherry Hill and Turner Station. Shortly after arriving, his wife was killed in an auto accident.
Moss would often comment that Baltimore was supposed to be an interim post because he was slated to join the national office; however, he became attached to the town and launched a number of initiatives to expand Camp Druid Hill into Camp Mohawk. He later merged camps Conoy and Mohawk to establish an integrated operation that became Camp King’s Landing.
In the process, he met and married widow, Elizabeth (Bettye) Murphy Phillips of the Afro-American and helped raise her three young children.
Dr. Moss committed himself to serving his community. For 16 years, he served on the Baltimore Department of City Services Advisory Board, the Maryland Food Bank, and 12 years on the University of Maryland Board of Regents. Following mandatory retirement from the YMCA at the age of 66, he started a new position coordinating community programs for what is now the Baltimore City Community College and volunteered in local prisons counseling troubled youth.
His achievements and awards are numerous. He was a dedicated and devoted lifetime member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and St. James Episcopal Church.
“I remember how committed Dr. Moss was to helping Bettye Moss keep her column in the paper while she was sick,” said Talibah Chikwendu, executive editor of the AFRO American Newspapers. “He was kind and quiet, but he made sure we understood and were prepared to carry out her instructions. He was a pleasure to talk to and work with.”
Dr. Moss is survived by two daughters, the Rev. Dr. Marie Murphy Phillips Braxton and Rachael Murphy Phillips Humphrey; two sons, Michael A. Moss and Benjamin Murphy Phillips IV; foster daughter, Faye A. Houston Faulifield; three sons-in-laws, the Rev. Dr. Ronald Braxton, Vernon Humphrey and the Rev. William Faulifield; daughters- in-law, Betty Moss and Felicia Hasal; nine grandchildren, Shannon and Derek Braxton, Carl and Giana Marie Humphrey, Lynelle and Benjamin Phillips V, Michael Lowery, and Sonia and Tonia Moss and many friends and family members.
Family Hour will be at 10:00 A.M, Alpha Phi Alpha service at 10:30 A.M, with formal funeral services beginning at 11:00 A.M. A reception will immediately follow the funeral services; and thereafter, internment will be at the Arbutus Cemetery.