The Life Of City Judge Bill Moss Celebrated In Cleveland

Friday, July 18, 2014

Family, friends and colleagues gathered Thursday afternoon to remember the life and public service of Cleveland City Judge Bill Moss who died Monday.

Judge Moss, 76, had served as city judge for 38 years at the time of his death.

Hundreds packed the County Commission Room of the Bradley County Courthouse to share stories of Judge Moss' service and friendships with the people of Cleveland. Others waited outside the room. The same room served as the city's courtroom several years ago while a new city facility was being built.

"Dad loved you," daughter Jami Moss Wise, speaking for the Moss family, told those gathered. She said the family was overwhelmed by the community's kindness.

People remembered Judge Moss as a man of compassion and fairness on the bench. He was also remembered as a man who loved Cleveland and loved a good story.

Mayor Tom Rowland told the audience of Moss' humble character.

"In fact, each time when his term was up, he would never ask me if he was being reappointed. He would just call and say: Mayor, do I need to show up for the swearing in? I will miss getting that call this year, because just in a matter of a few weeks, our city leaders will be taking the oath of office again."

"I have often said that even when Bill had to fine or sentence someone from the bench, they left his courtroom knowing their particular case was handled by Judge Moss with dignity and respect," Mayor Rowland said.

Judge Lawrence Puckett told the gathering Judge Moss was his mentor as a young attorney. It was a role Moss often filled, Judge Puckett said.

"His spirit is still with us. " Judge Puckett said.

"He was known for his warm heart. He was known for his easy spirit and his love for a good story," Judge Puckett said.

Attorney James Logan shared telephone condolence messages his office received this week, including a former defendant before Judge Moss.

"He treated me like I was somebody," Mr. Logan quoted the caller as saying.

As the gathering ended, Mayor Rowland presented the Moss family with the judge's judicial robe, name plate and gavel.

At the end, the large crowd, which included about a dozen area judges, rose and applauded; offering a standing ovation from the community for the life lived by City Judge Bill Moss.

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