Nathan Moss Wagstaff, known as “Moss,” quietly and peacefully passed away on December 20, 2022, at the age of 87. He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on February 1, 1935, to Nathan Earl Wagstaff and Mildred Hope Moss Wagstaff and was joyously welcomed by his family, including his older sister, Earla.
Moss’s childhood was idyllic as he grew up on Locust Lane in Holladay, Utah, with his dog, Brownie. He often shared fond memories of his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and life-long friends who lived in the area. During this time, he fished and swam in water holes, swung on rope swings, delivered newspapers from house to house on his horse named Tony, burned down the barn behind his home, earned his Eagle Scout, spent time in the mountains with his father, hitch hiked to California with his buddies, and fell in love with his future wife, Marilyn.
He attended Olympus Junior High, where his mother was his English teacher. At the age of 16, his father died unexpectedly at home of a heart attack. Losing his father was life changing. Moss graduated from Granite High School in 1953, where he lettered in swimming. He was also enlisted with the Navy for a time.
Days after he turned 20 years old, he married Marilyn Christensen on February 10, 1955, in the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To dissuade anyone from following them, they headed to Rock Springs, Wyoming, for their honeymoon. Beginning in 1957, they welcomed their first child and together raised four children, each born about two years apart: Vincent, Karen, Heather and Craig. Their family homes were in Sandy and Kaysville, Utah, and following retirement, Marilyn and Moss moved to a condo in Bountiful, Utah.
Moss was a hard worker and provided well for his family. He began his employment out of high school as a mechanic’s helper in the garage at “the gas company.” He worked there for ten years and then went to Hercules and spent time on the Polaris Program for the government. After two-and-one-half years he returned to Mountain Fuel. While there he was a Utility Man, Truck Driver, Assistant Foreman, Crew Foreman II, Crew Foreman I, and Construction Foreman. Of his 34 years of employment, his best years were involved with the construction of the Southern Natural Gas Pipeline.
Throughout his life, Moss found a keen interest in motorized vehicles, especially cars and motorcycles. In his early years of raising a family, he worked a second job at “the gas station” in Holladay, servicing and repairing vehicles. Following retirement, Moss worked at “the auto auction” in West Bountiful. His personal vehicles were exceptionally maintained and operated, with some of his notable rides being his Datsun 280z and Toyota MR2 Supercharged. He loved to talk about cars with anyone and everyone.
It was in the family vehicles that the family traveled to California and spent time with Marilyn’s parents and family for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Some of these visits required chaining up the tires to drive over Donner Pass. Vince recalls as kids, a time of no seatbelts, fighting in the back seat, and riding on the ledge of the rear window as they made their way to California each year. Other road trips took the family to British Columbia, National and State Parks, Hawaii, and to Lava Hot Springs where he would dive off the high dive.
Karen affectionately remembers quieter stretches spent as a family on fishing trips to Mirror Lake, smaller lakes, and in the Uintah Mountains. Moss extended his love of fishing to his grandchildren while he and Marilyn spent their retirement summers at their property in Fairview Lakes. Fishing was his passion, and he looked for every opportunity to get out his poles and gear. The grandchildren loved their time spent in the aluminum boat on Fairview Lake or on the shores fishing, sleeping amongst the stars, the rustling of the quaking aspen, riding the ATVs, and enjoying his moist, Dutch oven chicken.
Retirement winters took Moss and Marilyn to Yuma, Arizona, where they soaked up the sunshine and found a lifestyle of relaxation with friends. Moss and Marilyn loved to travel as a couple and often reflected on how much they enjoyed this time together. Some of their most memorable trips took them to New Zealand, Europe, Ireland, Scotland, England, Canada, Mexico, and Alaska. They made dear friends all along the way.
Moss was witty with a quick sense of humor, a swift, dimpled smile, and eager laugh that made his blue eyes twinkle. He liked to joke around with people, which helped them feel at ease. He was a great storyteller and enjoyed being with friends chatting it up at a local diner or coffee shop like the Green Apple in Kaysville or Einstein’s Bagels in Bountiful. It seemed that everywhere Moss went in Davis County, someone knew him, and he was a favorite. He was a loyal and trusted friend.
Moss enjoyed all kinds of music, especially jazz. When Heather was young, he took her to a few jazz concerts, which were not fully appreciated at the time. If he was not listening to jazz music, he had the radio tuned to KALL910, with Tom Barberi and “The Voice of Reason.” Heather also remembers going to Salt Lake City to visit art shows hosted by various hotels. He found value in local artists and their paintings were often featured in their homes.
Shades of red were his favorite and found sprinkled all throughout Moss’s life. Many of his favorite foods were red: crisp apples, garden tomatoes, pickled beets, cranberry sauce, a thick steak or burger, McRib sandwiches, and Marilyn’s homemade chili sauce. He wore a variety of red shirts and hats and several of his vehicles were red. Even his more recent recliner and wheelchair were maroon. He was an avid University of Utah football and basketball fan; he enjoyed season tickets to the Utah Jazz basketball games with Marilyn, which first began by cheering on the Utah Stars.
Marilyn and Moss were devoted to one another and were married for 61 years before she passed away on April 11, 2016. He loved her with his whole heart and was often found walking by her side or opening a car door, tenderly buttoning her jacket, or adding a piece of jewelry. They were a team in every sense and loved their family immensely.
Moss loved without question his grandchildren: Nikki (Mike) Davis, Nathan Wagstaff, Chad Banford, Elizabeth (Keigunn) Kunz, Veronica Weight, Blake Mijangos, Alexander (Ally) Wagstaff, and Abigail (Scott) Florence. He also was crazy about his great grandchildren: Kaylie Davis, Braxton Banford, Bryker Banford, Dylan Davis, Ashton Bryant, and Hendrix Kunz.
One of the first sounds that Moss would make for his family was his infamous duck quack. Even in his last days he was making his Donald Duck noise for them. He engaged with his family in their activities and interests. Craig appreciates how Moss faithfully supported Craig’s love of sports during his growing up years through coaching and attending his events.
In his final years, as his days grew longer and his nights became darker, Moss found himself surrounded by angels who genuinely cared and helped meet his daily needs. The residents and staff at Whisper Cove Assisted Living became true friends and an extension of his family. In addition, Dr. Christopher Gambel of Olympus Clinic, Dr. Wayne Ormsby of Utah Cancer Specialists, and Atlas Hospice and their staffs provided lasting, valuable care. Moss will be greatly missed. As a family, we are extremely appreciative of the incredible outreach, professionalism, attention and friendship on his behalf.
Moss is survived by his children: Vincent (Cindy) Wagstaff of Taylorsville, Utah; Karen Banford of Goodyear, Arizona; Heather Weight of Centerville, Utah; Craig (Christy) Wagstaff of Fruit Heights, Utah. He also leaves behind eight beloved grandchildren, six adored great grandchildren, and his sisters-in-law: Carol McKissick (Brian Miller); Maxine (Dean) Larson; Robbin Christensen. He is preceded in death by his parents, Nathan and Mildred Wagstaff; wife, Marilyn; sister, Earla, and her husband, Vernon Erickson.
A viewing will be held on Thursday, January 5, 2023, at Russon Mortuary, 1941 N. Main Street, Farmington, Utah, from 6 to 8 pm, where family and friends may gather to honor Moss. The family will later join for a private remembrance and celebration of life. Interment will take place at the Bountiful City Cemetery.