Colletta Helen Moser
December 12, 1940 – January 11, 2020
Dr. Colletta H. Moser, (aka Collette), was a Labor Economist and Professor Emeritus from Michigan State University (MSU). She was born in Chicago on December 12, 1940 and passed away January 11, 2020 at age 79.
She was a self made woman who persevered through obstacles. She believed in remembering where you came from and often told the story of how her father taught her to read at an early age by reading her the newspaper. He encouraged her to become a teacher and she treasured the desk he gave her as a young child. Later, after her father passed away early in life, her brother William resigned his professional baseball league contract to continue to raise Colletta, take care of the family and encourage her to make her way in the world. In high school, she was a cheerleader and homecoming queen. The two of them shared a lifelong bond, faith, and love of sports and jazz.
Colletta earned her B.S. in English from Illinois State University in 1962, M. S. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin in 1966 and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin in 1971. From 1963 to 1971, she taught economics and labor law at the University of Wisconsin, Rutgers College, and Indiana University before starting to teach at MSU in 1973.
Colletta was the first woman to become a tenured faculty member in Agricultural Economics, now known as the Department of Food, Resources and Agricultural Economics at MSU. She became a Professor of Agricultural Economics in 1966. In addition, she served as an Employment, Training and Public Policy Specialist within the Cooperative Extension Service.
As a Labor Economist, and feminist academic in the 1970s, she developed the Women and Work course, making presentations and writing articles on women’s status in the work force. This class was aired on WKAR radio as a hot topic about women’s employment in 1975. She made presentations before state, local, and university groups; radio and T.V. appearances on topics of women and work including comparable worth, displaced homemakers and the Michigan Tax Structure and Reform. She served on the American Economic Association Committee on the Status of Women and Economics. She especially enjoyed developing the potential of women students. She also taught classes in Labor Law, Health, Education, and Welfare Policy, Industrial Relations and Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining. She co-authored several labor economics textbooks and articles including Labor Economics and Labor Relations.
As a leader in her field, she was the President of the MSU Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) from 1979 to 1981. She used the skills developed from her college debate team to advocate for MSU employees in labor disputes. For many years, she was a leader of the Mid-Michigan Chapter of the Labor and Employment Relations Association. She was a founding and longtime member of the MSU University Club and a lifetime Catholic.
Colletta was memorable around campus for being well dressed and sporting a hat. She was an avid tennis player in younger days and enjoyed humor, having a dry wit. She told the story about a tennis match she won against MSU Economics Professor Lash Larrowe. This was the local version of the 1973 Battle of the Sexes match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. The match would determine the MSU outstanding teacher of the decade and was covered in the Lansing State Journal and aired on WKAR radio. After winning, she jokingly presented her opponent with a bottle of Geritol.
She believed in helping others and giving generously to charities, and community groups. Colletta loved cheering on the MSU football and basketball teams. In honor of Colletta’s significant financial support, she was recognized in 2017 by MSU in the Abbot Presidential Donor Society. Colletta supported many areas of the university including: Agricultural Food and Resource Economics, Athletics, Jazz Studies Program, WKAR Radio, and Women, Gender and Social Justice Program. She was a season ticket holder for football and men’s basketball for over 40 years and was a Champions Circle donor in the Spartan Fund with MSU Athletics. In 2018, she established an athletic scholarship endowment. In 2017, she was honored by the MSU Presidential Donor Abbot Society for her significant financial contribution. She also made donations to the MSU Veterinarian School, University of Wisconsin and Illinois State University. She loved jazz and was a “Duke of Jazz Sponsor” of the East Lansing Jazz Festival.
She is survived by her nieces and nephews, Mary Ellen Moser (Phil), Mark Moser (Barb), Dave Moser (Rachel), Diane Cussen-Bubeck (Frank), Cathy Spacucello (Joe), Donna Scara, Tony Miller (Karen), Steve Miller, Sandy Miller. Preceding her were her parents Anthony and Helen (Sindelar) Moser, her brothers, William George Moser (Sophie), Jack Moser (Elaine & Kay) and Luke Moser: and her sister Rose Miller. Over a lifetime, she enjoyed the loyal companionship of her dogs Deana, Bonnie, Mac & Beth, Sassy & Tatter, Rufus and Loki, who were mostly Shelties. She will be missed by her family, friends and colleagues who felt they were a better person for knowing her and being a part of her life. She showed great courage in her battle with metastatic ovarian cancer. Thanks to the Breslin Cancer Center for their kindness during her cancer treatments.
Services will be held on Thursday January 16th at 10:00 a.m. for visitation and 1100 a.m. for services at Gorsline Runciman Funeral Home, 1730 East Grand River Ave., East Lansing, MI 48823. Interment will be at the Assumption Catholic Cemetery in Wheaton, Illinois.
Condolences and memories may be shared at www.greastlansing.com
- Visitation Thursday, January 16, 2020
- Funeral Service Thursday, January 16, 2020
Colletta Helen Moser
January 14, 2020
As I remember all the great childhood memories we had together, playing dress up with Hats, making gram scold us for being too loud, getting the dog all riled up....LOL, My heart is broken, I will love you and miss you always, Rest Peacefully.
(What kind of being is a Human Being?) LOL inside joke between us.
January 14, 2020
Colletta was a delightful neighbor and friend - with a very quick wit, an infectious laugh, and an intelligent, strong personality. She loved her dogs - and our dogs as well - and always had treats in her pockets for them :). She will be dearly missed.
Deepest Sympathies to her family and all who loved her.
Jim, Renae, Meghan and Allie Bradley
January 14, 2020
My wife, Mary, and I often met Colletta at the University Club during the summer when we attended swimming events with our children. Colletta was a regular at the pool herself. We enjoyed our talks with her and will miss her. Our sincere condolences to her family.
January 13, 2020
We often gave Colletta a ride to jazz events at restaurants, bars, or outdoor festivals, such as the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival in East Lansing. She was a major sponsor of that festival which began 22 years ago. Beth knew her as her parents' neighbor in the Bailey School area. She often saw Colletta walking her beloved dogs. Her devotion to and pride in her dogs was amazing. She really enjoyed live music and always encountered old friends as those events. She will be missed and will be remembered this June as a sponsor at the E. Lansing Jazz Festival.
January 13, 2020
Colletta was someone I met a long, long time ago during my days of working in the School of Labor and Industrial Relations at MSU. Colletta was so nice to me and remembered me every time after. Even though she was such an academic and I am not, she never held that against me! She had a great laugh and I smile even now when I think of her. She will be missed. Hugs to her family and friends.