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Remembering Willy and Frank Moser – my twin uncles

L to R: Frank Moser, Manny Peris, Barbara Moser, Sid Stevens, Willy Moser on a visit to Sun Youth, circa 1990

My uncles Willy and Frank died within two months of each other, Frank in November in Jerusalem after a long battle with Parkinson’s and Willy, in February, after a stroke and several heart attacks. They were 81.

Frank and Barbara, 1954

My uncles were remarkable men. Given all their difficulties, they lived full lives until the end and I want to celebrate that. They were full of humour, wit, wisdom and love of family. Frank was a physicist and worked for Eastman Kodak in Rochester until he moved to Israel in the early 1970s and settled in Jerusalem, where he volunteered with students in the physics department at Tel Aviv University.

Like my father Leo, who died in 1970, Willy was a well-known and prolific mathematician. He taught at McGill for over 30 years and like my father, shared his passion with many young people, dazzling them with the magic of mathematics.

Laura and Robert Moser with Frank, Willy and Leo

When I was a young adult living in Israel, Frank was a second father to me. During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, we drove up to the Golan Heights together to bring care packages, including cream cakes my aunt reminds me, to the soldiers. Frank introduced me to the father of my daughters. They learned Hebrew together in Haifa, or tried to. Uncle Frank and Aunty Ruth Joy became my parents in Israel. Frank was an incredibly witty, soft-spoken, loving uncle who listened without judgement. I know it’s a cliché but Frank was one in a million. Frank was a wonderful photographer. His photos were works of art.

L to R: Ruth Joy, Willy, Beryl and Frank

If Frank guided me through my early twenties, it was Willy who took on the role of dad when I arrived in Montreal in 1975. He and my Aunt Beryl became my Montreal parents, whom I shared with my cousins, Marla, Lionel and Paula. Willy was influential in my decision to start The Senior Times. He was “in on the name” and had lots of advice about articles. He was proud of my ability to jump in and publish that first issue, in which he was featured with his new grandson, Adam, in a story about being a grandparent. He was a master at crafting headlines.

What I will remember most was my uncle’s devotion to the brother he revered — my father, Leo, and his continual chronicling, organizing and publishing of my father’s mathematical work.

Willy and Frank, 2004

Willy gave exceptional and practical advice. He coached my daughter Amy, on the phone to LA, on buying her first car, telling her exactly how much to offer, when to walk away, when to come back. She followed his instructions to the letter and saved a couple thousand. He also influenced my decision to give up my car, detailing the cost of owning a car. I deduced I could travel to Europe every few months, take taxis every day and still come out on top economically. That was five years ago and I still live happily without a car. Atlas Taxi can attest to that!

Uncle Frank and Uncle Willy, I will miss you and thank you, my twin uncles, for the fatherly love you have shown me for 40 years.

In 1967, Willy was approached by the police to investigate the legality of games at Expo 67, and determine whether it was a game of chance as advertised. To read this exciting account, go to the “man of mathematics” on



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