On November 5, 1925, in the mill village at Cherokee Falls SC,
Lucy Cobb Childers suffered a toxic (eclamptic) seizure and then delivered her firstborn, Orline. Mortality was a real threat to both, but Lucy survived, and Orline thrived, though they say she was so scrawny that she could have fit into a quart Mason jar (there must not have been any reliable scales around for weighing her). Dr. Roberts from Blacksburg attended to them both. His wife had the unusual name ‘Orline’; so now, in tribute, there were two of them. Lucy not only survived but continued on to deliver a healthy Dorothy only eleven- and one-half months later.
Childhood during the Depression was a challenge, but the family managed. In that time and place, girls just didn’t go off to college. Despite that, Lucy never said to the girls ‘if you go off to college…’; instead, she would say ‘WHEN you go off to college…’ Orline graduated from Blacksburg High School in 1941. One of her fellow graduates was her future husband, Ed. She and Ed were enjoying a Sunday afternoon outing a few months later at Kings’ Mountain Battleground Park when news arrived about an attack that had occurred that morning at a distant place named Pearl Harbor. Their world changed again.
Not much later, Uncle Sam called, and Ed was off for northern Italy, helping in the region’s liberation from the Germans. Orline stayed behind and helped the war effort by working in the local textile mills while concurrently attending college in Spartanburg. She lived in the dorms at Spartanburg Junior College (now Spartanburg Methodist College).
By the late summer of 1945, nineteen-year-old Orline had her teaching degree. Victory in Europe had been secured but Ed was being re-directed toward the Far East to prepare for the Allied invasion of Japan. Then, Harry Truman’s A-bomb took care of that problem, saving a million lives in the process. The school year started, and the teenage Orline started her teaching career in a prairie-style two room schoolhouse, Cashion School down by the crossroads. She taught the upper elementary grades and three of Ed’s younger siblings were in her class. She was named the ‘principal’ because her older colleague, teaching the lower grades, had only a non-degree teaching certificate. But, first, Orline had to sit through a job interview in Gaffney with the superintendent for the county schools. She always said he only asked her one question: “Can you lay the timber?” Apparently, she convinced him that she could.
Orline and Ed were married on October 19, 1946. Ed had received his US Army discharge and Orline, now 20 years old, was beginning her 2nd fall teaching at Cashion.
Orline taught in Cherokee County’s schools for 45 years, though it would have been 47 had she not been required to completely shut down for her two maternity years. That’s the way it was done then. The post-war boom brought school consolidations and an end to the prairie-style method. Orline became a first-grade teacher, eventually teaching that grade to roughly one-fourth of all Blacksburg Baby Boomers. Later, having obtained her master's degree, she ventured into school administration, only to soon return to her first love, the classroom. She retired at age 66, teaching third graders on her last day.
By then she was a grandmother of six, creator of the most exquisite children’s birthday cakes imaginable. By then she was a 20+ year breast cancer survivor (and she would survive for more than 30 more). She was the wagon master for the local retirees’ camping club. She was devoted to her church. She (and Ed) had provided the means for advanced professional degrees for their two children, in the spirit of Lucy. She became a devoted regular water aerobics participant once she determined that it helped her lower back more than chiropractic. She even talked Ed away from the golf course to go with her.
Ed passed away when she was 87 but she soldiered on, living alone until 2021 in the dream home they had built together in 1964.
In 2021, just beginning what would be her final year of life, Orline broke each hip a few months apart, needing partial replacements each time. Resulting mobility issues led to her placement at Clemson Downs for that final year. She did many water aerobics sessions in her final summer, but it became a bit too much. She died on Wednesday morning, October 26, after a two-week hospitalization followed by two nights in a hospice house in Seneca. She died calmly and comfortably, attended by her children and by the caring staff in the hospice setting.
Orline was pre-deceased by Ed (John Edward Moss Sr, 1924-2013); her parents, George Washington Childers (1906-1970) and Lucy Cobb Childers (1907-1991); and her brother, George Leroy Childers (1929-1976). She is survived by her sister, Dorothy Childers Roberts of Blacksburg; her children, Cathy Lou Moss of Camden and John Edward Moss, Jr of Clemson; her grandchildren, William Lawrence Owen of Columbia, Catherine Owen Marable (Tom) of Camden, Virginia Arline Owen of Fort Mill, Christina Moss Welch (Aaron) of Florence, Carly Jean Moss of Alexandria VA, and Rachel Moss Carroll (Jon) of Hampstead NC; and by her great-grandchildren, Miriam Katherine Welch of Florence and Patrick Carlyle Carroll of Hampstead NC. She is also survived by two devoted caregivers, Veronica Davis of Gaffney and Harriett Cleveland of Gaffney, and by her faithful water aerobics partner, Brenda Neal of Blacksburg.
A receiving of Friends and Family will be held Sunday, October 30, 2022, from 1 - 2 pm at Hopewell Baptist Church in Blacksburg, SC with a Celebration of Life Service to follow at 2pm with Rev, Eddie Bolin officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.
Honorary Pallbearers serving are the Ed Moss Sunday School Class of Hopewell Baptist Church.
Memorials may be made to the charity of choice or to the Hopewell Baptist Church Grounds & Cemetery Fund, 511 Old Chester Rd., Blacksburg, SC 29702.
E-condolences may be made on the tribute page.
The Gore Family of White Columns Funeral Service is serving the Moss Family
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