Mosers gave a lot, sought very little — Statue honors city's humblecouple
May 4, 2009 — Source: Naperville Sun, The (IL) — Author: M.B. Sutherland, For The Sun
Sunny skies and warm temperatures greeted the dedication of the "Mr. and Mrs. Naperville" sculpture honoring the late Harold and Margaret Moser Sunday afternoon at the Millennium Carillon's Moser Tower.
Brand Bobosky, president of the Century Walk Corporation, presided over the dedication of the statue, which he called "truly a team effort." To that end, he cited cooperation by the Naperville City Council, the Citizens of Naperville, Naperville Park District, Naperville Carillon Foundation, Naperville Riverwalk Foundation, Naperville Riverwalk Commission and the Century Walk Corporation.
Nephew Paul Lehman said that both sets of Harold and Margaret's parents "taught them tremendous devotion to their God and devotion to family."
He said "both came out into the working world ... during the Great Depression" and credited family and those times as creating a couple dedicated to "just hard, diligent work. They lived life very simply."
Despite their success, Lehman added, the couple lived much of their marriage in a small, two-bedroom house with a one-car detached garage on North Webster Street. Lehman said that his Aunt Margaret, in particular, did not like the spotlight.
Niece and Nephew Kate Ontko and Matt Moser said that they could always find Aunt Margaret in her garden or baking homemade pies. "Harold gets a lot of the recognition," Ontko said, "but Aunt Margaret was such a good person."
Mayor A. George Pradel made the same assessment in his speech describing how "Harold and Margaret would be very proud, but they would be very humbled if they were here because they didn't want praise, they just wanted to do everything they could for Naperville because they loved Naperville so much.
Never had a doubt
Pradel also shared a personal story: Harold Moser was on the Police Board when Pradel's application to become an officer was rejected. Moser called for an executive session and came out to tell Pradel that the board members had changed their minds and that Pradel would indeed become a Naperville police officer.
"I served 29 years," Pradel said. "And after I got done, I said to Harold, 'How'd I do?' And he said, 'I never had a doubt from the very beginning.'"
The statue was unveiled by Pradel, members of the Moser family and the sculptor, Bart Gunderson. Gunderson explained that the bronze sculpture represents building and developing with a rough base that becomes more refined into the persons of Harold and Margaret as it progresses up. He pointed out that Margaret's hand is on Harold's back, showing her support. He said the more refined areas are about the dignity and refinement of the town.
Cartoonist Dick Locher, author of the Dick Tracy strip, told fond stories of times he shared with the Mosers, who were his neighbors. But perhaps the most touching speech of the day came from Elenita Librojo, who came to the United States alone from the Philippines in 1991 and was introduced to the Mosers. The Mosers, who had no children, told Librojo that she could live with them as long as they lived, provided she would take care of them. Librojo fondly remembered many exciting trips she took with the Mosers and famous people she met through them, such as former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former First Lady Barbara Bush. Librojo said Harold referred to her as "the daughter I never had."
Librojo told the story of the Mosers finding out that she was looking for an apartment to rent and instead insisted upon buying her a condominium.
"Harold said, 'If I gave those priests a home, why can't I give you?'" Librojo said referring to donations Moser had made to the church.
When Margaret visited Librojo's condo for the first time, she was unhappy that Librojo had no furniture, so she took her to Fox Valley Mall to shop. Librojo joked that her furniture is green because it's Irish.
"You are very lucky residents of Naperville for having Harold and Margaret Moser," Librojo told the crowd. "Their charity began at home."
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The Harold and Margaret Moser sculpture is entitled "Mr. & Mrs. Naperville." Corey R. Minkanic / For the Sun.