The orthotic and prosthetic community lost a gentle giant on May 6 at the age of 89. Ben Moss was an O&P pioneer and had been actively involved in the profession since purchasing Florida Brace Corporation from Eugene Jewett, MD in 1964. Ben practiced law for 10 years before buying the company. Jewett was among the many people who sought advice from Ben and they had a common bond since both had served in the Navy during World War II.
I had the distinct pleasure of knowing Ben for 28 years. We first met at a Texas Association of Orthotics and Prosthetics meeting in Fort Worth in 1982. At the time, I was a warehouse worker asked to attend the meeting to be introduced to some of the practitioners for whom I was packing boxes. Ben treated me with the same respect that he showed to corporate executives and business owners. We remained close friends and he never failed to ask about my family while we shared a meal or participated in a friendly card game. I was also honored to work for Ben and Florida Brace in later years and found him to be the same person as my employer that he had always been as my friend.
Ben was known to many as “The Chief” and to others as “Gentle Ben.” Everyone who knew Ben admired him and regularly sought his counsel. The membership of the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association recognized his strengths and elected him as president for the 1976-77 term. He led the organization through some challenging regulatory times and anytime he spoke in his soft voice in meetings everyone listened closely for his opinion. Ben was known for taking all conversations in, digested them and bringing balance and insight into leadership decisions. The O&P profession has benefitted tremendously from his contributions.
The Chief was also known by many as a philanthropist, though he was insistent about keeping his donations quiet. They were all made from the heart to causes he believed in and he never sought publicity for his generosity. Many single mothers attended college due to scholarships he funded. His love of music led him to help support music and the arts, though I can personally attest that he was not blessed with musical talent. Almost everyone who knew Ben fondly recalls that he was one of the kindest people they ever met.
Ben remained active in orthotics and prosthetics and was chairman of the board for Florida Brace at the time of his death. His guidance helped to grow the company in both size and respect.