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Moe’s, Walden School founder dies

By Judith Scherr Daily Planet staff
Tuesday June 05, 2001

Known for her straight talk, determination and generous spirit, Barbara Ann Hicks Moscowitz died of natural causes at her Berkeley home May 24.  

Co-founder of Moe’s Books on Telegraph Avenue and founder of the Waldon School in Berkeley, Mrs. Moscowitz was 78 years old at the time of her death. 

“She was tough,” said Gene Barone, manager of Moe’s Books. “She was her own person.” 

Mrs. Moscowitz’s political activism in the realm of civil rights, rights for Central American refugees and women’s rights, stands out to those who knew her. “She was left wing, counter culture,” Barone said. “She had refugees at her home and gave them financial assistance.” 

Her political activism tied her to the group of people who created Pacifica Radio in 1949. The vision of these pacifists did not stop at founding a radio station. “The original idea of the Pacifica Foundation was to have a school,” said Marie Switkes, who works at Waldon School, the arts-focused school Mrs. Moscowitz founded in 1958. 

Less than one week before she died, Mrs. Moskowitz attended an event with jazz singers and arts and crafts sale at the school. “She came in a wheelchair and sat in the sun,” Switkes said. 

Mrs. Moscowitz leaves behind a son, Roger Stevens, and daughters Doris Moskowitz, Alison Booth and Katy Pearre. Memorial services were held on Saturday.