Douglass S. Moser

Born: March 21, 1940
Died: March 4, 2007

Douglass S. Moser was born in Astoria, Oregon, son of Byron Moser, an agriculturalist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Mary Jane Moser, a teacher. He grew up on the family's small farm, helping to milk cows and pick crops. He prepared for Yale at Bellingham High School, Bellingham, Washington.

At Yale he was a resident of Vanderbilt Hall Freshman year and then was a member of Pierson College. He did not return after our Junior year. Classmate Brent Brolin remembers Doug as a "big man, not just physically but also broad in spirit and in his enjoyment of life." Classmate Dr. Bill Carleton, his Freshman year roommate, reported that Doug, a high school athlete, had been urged to play basketball but "balked at the regimentation and decided to play at the intercollege level."

Brolin recalled that in Pierson "Doug seemed to grow increasingly distracted, spending less and less time in class and more and more time doing other things, including his motorcycle and leathers and a girlfriend at Antioch." His leaving "was a loss because the Yale community might have profited from his directness, his recognition of the need for personal expression, his lack of inhibition, his broad enjoyment of life."

After Yale, Doug went on to an active and deeply engaged life in service to others. He obtained his Bachelors degree in Anthropology at Western Washington University in Bellingham, his Masters in Anthropology at the University of British Columbia and his Ph.D., also in Anthropology, at the University of Oregon.

He taught anthropology for several years at Western Washington. Then he and his wife Isabelle, whom he married in 1966, moved to Oregon where they founded the Great Oaks School of Health in Creswell, a residential and outpatient spa, which used very strict organic diets to treat Vietnam veterans with drug or alcoholic dependencies and psychiatric needs.

After Doug and Isabelle divorced in 1982, he turned his attention to agriculture, collecting and propagating seeds from native tree species and promoting other heritage seeds including mango beets, a native variety of sugar beet. He also acquired his own farm land.

In 1991 he met Carol Ach, a Harvard graduate and nurse, who shared his interest in farming. They became a couple and remained domestic partners for the balance of his life.

Doug and Carol founded the Institute for Regenerative Agroforestry in Oregon. Their Institute was a "multi-university", land based and focusing on "biodynamic farming which was small scale production and processing, working with animals, greenhouse management and water systems." It also practiced agroforestry "which was clear cut restoration, growing and transplanting native trees, forest management for diversity and sustainable harvesting, as well building with natural materials such as earth, straw, rock and wood." Since the early 1990's, the Institute has instructed many foreign students particularly from Korea as well as participants of all ages. It also provided summer organic farming internships and work-study programs for University of Oregon students. Doug and Carol regenerated many farms and were working on 5 separate farm projects at the time of his death.

Doug was a member of the Willamette Valley Ponderosa Pine Conservation Association, the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association and many other organic farming groups. He and Carol also frequently lectured on food, nutrition, diet and healthy lifestyles.

Doug was, Carol said, a man who went against the conventional grain, a generalist, and a voracious reader. His younger sister, Susan Moser, with whom he was very close and herself an organic farmer, described him as "always a visionary, a man full of new ideas, beloved by those who knew him, and charged with a mission to be a caretaker of our planet." He strongly advocated changes in farming, consumption, food, and the environment, many of which, she said, "are now being debated in the popular sphere, changes he had long advocated, but which, regrettably, he will not live to see fully implemented."

Doug died suddenly at his home in Leaburg, Oregon on March 4, 2007, at the age of 66. In addition to Carol Ach, he is survived by their combined six children: daughters, Prairie Moser of Bandon, Oregon and Sayle Moser and Annie Ach of Leaburg; sons, Sam Ach and Jack Richardson, both of Leaburg; his three sisters, Mary Ann Hansen and Lynn Moser, of Bellingham, Washington and Susan Moser, of Morton, Washington. He was also leaves three grandchildren, Una, Sky and Byron Moser of Bandon, Oregon. Isabelle predeceased him in 1996.

Doug was, Brolin concluded, "a good, honest person, a mensch; I am sorry he is gone."

The family asked that in lieu of flowers memorial contributions be made to the Institute for Regenerative Agroforestry, P. O. Box 251, Walterville, Oregon 97489.