Obituaries » James Moceri

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James Moceri

January 8, 1916 - March 14, 2007

James (Jim) Moceri left these earthly bounds on March 14, after a courageous struggle with Krohn?s disease and, ultimately, heart failure. His passing was serene and was attended by his only child, Anita Sonia, of Fircrest. He is also survived by his much-loved sister, Frances Lust, of Auburn, and numerous nieces and nephews scattered across these United States. Dad was predeceased by his beloved and adored wife, Modesta, in 1991.

The life of Jim Moceri was marked by scholarship, adherence to principle, professional achievement on an international scale, and a profound dedication to family. He entered this world in Tacoma, on January 8, 1916, the first-born son of Roy (Rocco) and Anna Bono Moceri. The family was later augmented by four additional siblings; only Frances remains. Dad was a first-generation American and, for the entirety of his life, was intensely proud of his Sicilian origins and of the struggles and efforts of his forebears.

It was clear at an early age that scholarship would define Dad?s life. He was valedictorian at Garfield High School, in Seattle, Phi Beta Kappa at the University of Washington (1937), doctoral candidate in the intellectual history of Europe in the 19th century at Columbia University (?37-?41) and also pursued studies in the history of ideas and theory of history at New York?s Graduate School of Social Research (?39-?40). His pursuit of knowledge reached its apex when, in 1949, he was awarded a Fulbright research fellowship to the Italian Institute of Historical Studies in Naples, Italy; his focus there was historiography and historical interpretations of the French Revolution. The grant was renewed for a second year.

The sojourn in Naples began our family?s foray onto the international scene. In 1951 Dad was invited to join the U.S. State Department and we moved to Florence, Italy, where he served as Director of the U.S. Information Service until 1956. His rise at USIS was steady: Acting Public Affairs Officer, Taiwan; representative to the Naval War College; Deputy Director for Plans in the Office of Policy and Plans, Washington, D.C.; Public Affairs Officer, Sudan; Public Affairs Officer, Guinea; Edward R. Murrow Fellow to the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Boston; Chief of the Analysis and Evaluation Staff, Washington D.C. and, ultimately, Assistant Director, Research, again in the nation?s capital.

Dad received a Rockefeller Post-War Fellowship in Humanities and concentrated on research on the intellectual and liberal opposition to Fascism in Italy for the period 1921-1926. In 1974 he was awarded the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy, conferred by Tufts University. He also served his country during World War II, as a Lieutenant in the Navy, and participated in both the Iwo Jima and Okinawa campaigns.
In 1976 came a much-deserved retirement, and Jim Moceri finally came home again, settling with his treasured wife in the home on a bluff, outside Auburn. For all the years since he continued to pursue his passions for historical reading, all the classical arts and created an oasis of fir trees on his beautiful property.
Our farewell to Dad will be at Tuell-McKee Funeral Home, 2215 Sixth Avenue, Tacoma, on Monday, March 19, at 10 a.m. At his request the service will consist entirely of the playing of the Verdi Requiem, followed by a eulogy by his daughter. The Commital service will be at Mountain View Cemetery, Auburn, with The Rev. Patricia S. Trytten officiating.

Memorial donations may be made in Dad’s name to Christ Episcopal Church, 310 North K Street, Tacoma, WA 98403

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