Paulina C. Moss, 79, volunteer, museum docent, social worker

November 17, 1999|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Paulina C. Moss, a retired social worker and volunteer with the Howard County Center of African American Culture, died Thursday of leukemia at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care in Towson. She was 79 and lived in Columbia.

After retiring about 15 years ago from the District of Columbia Department of Human Services, she became a docent and researcher at the center for the study of African-American history. She also wrote for its newsletter, the Compass.

"She was a real stalwart of the museum," said Wylene S. Burch, director of the center. "She loved to track down the hidden stories of African-American local history and share her findings with others. To see her traipsing through the woods in search of a slave dwelling on the grounds of a former plantation was a sight to behold."

Born Paulina Cooper in Arlington, Va., she was a graduate of Dunbar High School in Washington. She earned her bachelor's degree in English from Howard University in 1940 and her master's degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania in 1960.

She was a social worker in Brooklyn, Queens and Philadelphia before returning to the Washington area, where she also served with the Montgomery County Department of Social Services.

In 1942, she married William S. Naylor, a record store owner. They were later divorced.

In 1949, she wed Henry C. Moss, an attorney. He died in 1982.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Howard County Center for African American Culture, 5434 Vantage Point Road, Columbia.

She is is survived by four sons, John I. Moss and James L. Moss, both of Columbia, Robert H. Moss and Paul D. Moss, both of Chattanooga, Tenn.; a daughter, Barbara Kelley of Temple Hills; a sister, Esther C. Jackson of Brooklyn, N.Y.; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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