We thank Harold and Margret Moser for their donation of $1,000,000 towards the Tower. Since both have passed away, we wish to offer here a little history so you can know the man they called Mr. Naperville, and his wife.
Affectionately known as “Mr. Naperville,” Harold Moser, along with his wife Margaret, has been instrumental in the growth and improvement of our town long before he became a major benefactor of the Carillon.
Moser’s lifetime love affair with Naperville began when his parents, Dr. Edward and Cecelia Moser moved here with two-year-old Harold in 1916. An injury in high school followed by osteomyelitis left Harold with a limp and unable to participate in his beloved sports or serve in the armed forces.
A few semesters at North Central College convinced Harold that he wasn’t cut out to be a scholar, and so he left to launch a four-page local newspaper called The Sun. After a few months, he hired Harold White Jr. to assist him, and when Moser chose to leave the newspaper business in 1936, he sold his interest to White, who created a life around The Sun.
While dabbling in some other business ventures, Moser was side-lined by a recurrence of osteomyelitis in 1940. His father and other doctors feared he would never walk again, but with perseverance and support, Moser did regain much of his mobility.
Moser operated a coal yard owned by his father until 1946. By then it seemed likely that returning soldiers would be needing plenty of lumber to build their new houses, so the coal yard was transformed into a lumber yard. Childhood friend Harold Lehman joined the business as vice president when he was discharged, and Moser concentrated on land development to utilize lots his father had purchased and to spur on the lumber yard trade.
During this period, the always-sociable Moser was spending time with Margaret Donovan from nearby Wheaton, and in 1949 they married. Harold credits Margaret with inspiring him to offer higher quality with every neighborhood he developed. And he’s developed quite a few neighborhoods, including White Eagle, Aero Estates, Cress Creek, Saybrook, Maplebrook and many others, as well as founding the Cress Creek and White Eagle country clubs.
The Mosers have also donated quite a bit of land to local Catholic communities. St. Thomas the Apostle, St. Elizabeth Seton, St. Margaret Mary, St. Raphael and St. Patrick’s Residence all sit on Harold and Margaret’s donations.
In 1957, Judge Win Knoch asked Moser to become the youngest board member of Naperville National Bank, the start of a parallel career in banking. Eventually, he became the chairman and primary stockholder of several area banks including Naperville National and West Suburban Bank.
During the war, Moser served as city magistrate, and continued his civic commitment over the years with the Police and Fire Commission, Illinois Benedictine College, Northern Illinois Home Builders Association and the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce. The Mosers have also been staunch supporters of the Naperville Heritage Society, Edward Hospital, and the Carillon Foundation.
The town’s movers and shakers used to meet at Naperville Pharmacy for an informal “breakfast club” until it closed in 1985. The breakfast club moved to other venues, but change was making itself felt. A stroke, a heart attack and by-pass surgery started to slow Moser down, and he retired officially in 1993, although he continued to show up regularly at the office.
Failing health finally triumphed, and just before Christmas, 2001, Harold and Margaret Moser passed away within a week of each other. During their 52 years of marriage, they witnessed and assisted the explosive growth of Naperville, gregarious Harold at the forefront, with Margaret quietly beside him. Attorney and friend Bill Brestal said of Moser “Joe Naper founded Naperville, but Harold Moser developed it.”