Toni Kathe Elisabeth Mosher
Toni Kathe Elisabeth Mosher passed away peacefully in her sleep just before dawn on May 6, 2021 of cancer, at home with her family in a room filled with flowers. A loving, generous soul, to know her was to love her.
She was born in the town of Celle in northern Germany on October 25, 1939 to Kathe and Ewald Schrader. Her childhood was spent in the village of Winsen, surrounded by fields and forests, where she loved to hunt wild mushrooms and pick blueberries and play by the small Aller river. She was the youngest of five children and despite the hardships of the Second World War, their house was filled with music, books and creativity. Although almost 60 years in America, she remained, proudly, a German citizen.
In 1961, at her parents home in Winsen, she met the love of her life, Bill Mosher. Drawn to her radiance and the warmth of her family, he fell quickly in love with her. In the summer of 1962, she came by boat to America to visit Bill and stayed. They were married in Ithaca, New York on August 11, 1963. In 1965, Bill was hired as a professor at Warren Wilson College where he taught for 41 years. She remained part of the WWC community for the rest of her days, actively participating in Warren Wilson community festivals and celebrations. She was an active choir and committee participant in the WWC Presbyterian Church. She loved spending time with others and was part of a knitting group of close friends for many years and a women's coffee group.
She spent 19 years working full time as a psychiatric technician in the geriatric and psychiatric unit, Copestone, at St. Joseph's hospital in Asheville, and tended patients with a truly caring and generous heart. Outside of work, she tended countless others as well, always lending an ear, walking with friends and sitting with the dying.
Her most beloved work was raising her son Tom and daughter Susie and she filled their childhoods with celebration, creativity, and play, sharing her German traditions and making every birthday and holiday truly magical. And this beloved work continued as she helped raise Caroline and Hannah, the daughters of her son Tom and his wife Kathleen. Not only were they her pride and joy, but two of her dearest friends, to whom she was lovingly known as Oma.
She was a true artist, fluent in the language of color and texture. Her nimble hands were always busy creating beauty. She knit countless sweaters, hats, scarves and pillows. She made tiny detailed dolls and sparkly brooches. She gave away many of the things she made to those she loved and often to those she barely knew. She had a keen eye for simple, overlooked treasures which she displayed with such care on the shelves and walls of her home.
She and Bill, who was born in India, had many adventures in faraway places and here at home on the streets of Asheville. In her last 3 years, she did much traveling, attending a celebration with her extended family in Germany, snow shoeing in the French Alps, and visiting India one last time where she danced at a lively Hindu wedding and sipped chai on the banks of the Ganges.
Lively, feisty, stubborn and funny, she was never afraid to share her deepest feelings or to be the first to get up and dance. She dressed in an abundance of color and carried the wonder of childhood with her until the very end. A true inspiration to many, she lived freely and loved fully and will be endlessly missed and always celebrated.
Reflecting on her life, she once wrote: "It is the heart that matters, is it not? Does it not tell you what to say, and what to keep forever in a corner of its warmth? Is not the heart a very wondrous thing, it keeps so many people, secrets, joys and sorrows safe and sound."
A celebration service at Warren Wilson Presbyterian church will take place later this summer.
Published in Asheville Citizen-Times from May 8 to May 9, 2021.