John Andrew Moag Sr., a retired CSX executive who volunteered at St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church and the Franciscan Sisters, died Tuesday from complications of a stroke at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson.
The Blakehurst retirement community resident was 80.
Born in Detroit and raised in Chicago, Mr. Moag was a 1949 graduate of St. Norbert High School in DePere, Wis.
He served in the Army in Heidelberg, Germany, in internal affairs and, after being discharged in 1954, went to work in the mailroom of the Illinois Central Railroad in Chicago.
In 1962, he joined the traffic rate department of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in Chicago, and subsequently held traffic rate assignments in Pittsburgh and Baltimore, before joining the railroad's marketing department and moving to Baltimore in 1963.
"I worked quite a bit with John and you'd have to go back to the 1960s and the Jervis Langdon era," said Herbert H. Harwood Jr., who worked in the finance and marketing department of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad and later the Chessie System. Jervis Langdon Jr. had been president of C&O-B&O, which became today's CSX.
"John was one of that creative bunch of young guys that Langdon had brought together to revolutionize the way the railroad looked at service, pricing and marketing through creative new ideas," said Mr. Harwood, who is a nationally known railroad historian and author.
In 1969, Mr. Moag was the marketing executive for Auto-Trans, an experimental service in cooperation with the Southern Pacific Railroad that transported individuals' or company automobiles from Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia and New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The service, Mr. Moag explained in a Baltimore Sun interview at the time, "will be a saving of the valuable time of people being moved for business reasons, and elimination of the wear and tear of long-distance driving."
"Auto-Trans was a perfect example of creative marketing and new marketing opportunities that were not being exploited," Mr. Harwood said. "These were services that were not being done before and offering customers creative solutions."
Norman Brubeck, who had worked with Mr. Moag for years, retired in 1991 as director of automobile parts marketing. "After the department was reorganized, there were six marketing groups and John was director of lumber and paper marketing in the early 1980s," Mr. Brubeck recalled.
"I'm the more contemplative type and John was the dynamic guy, which was a great asset. He had such great enthusiasm and was a man who made things happen on this big damn railroad," he said. "He was outspoken, intelligent and wasn't shy standing in front of crowds. It was his dynamism that made John Moag so successful."
Mr. Moag retired in 1986.
Mr. Moag, who had never attended college, decided in midlife to earn a college degree from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, which he attended on weekends.
"An insufferable Notre Dame University fan, he decided to enter college at 50 by attending the College of Notre Dame of Maryland and was its first male graduate," a son, John A. Moag Jr., said with a laugh. He is former chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority and lives in Baltimore.
Mr. Moag was a communicant and active volunteer at St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church in Mount Vernon, and also volunteered at the Franciscan Center, where he had served for nearly a decade on its board.
"John was such a great person and he was deeply revered and loved by our parish," said his pastor, the Rev. William J. Watters.
"He assisted me when I was president of St. Ignatius Academy, in which he had a keen interest. He and his family endowed a $100,000 scholarship for the academy. John had a real desire to see those boys go onto good prep schools and college and have a good life," Father Watters said. "His commitment to the school was very serious."
He described Mr. Moag as "a wonderfully gifted and outgoing man who had a concern for others" and personified the Jesuit tradition of being a "man for others."
"He was a great Irishman who had a great sense of humor. He was proud of his family and was a great husband and father," recalled Father Watters. "He lived life fully and loved it tremendously."
Mr. Moag also had a particular interest in the work of the Franciscan Center on West 23rd Street, which was founded in 1968 and operated by the Franciscan Sisters of Baltimore.
"I recruited John for our founding board, and he also volunteered in our adult literacy program at the center," said Sister Ellen Carr, who had been interim director and remains on the center's board.
When the center needed to expand from its original two rowhouses, it undertook a $3.4 million restoration of a former school.
"John was most helpful, positive and sympathetic that we could do this. He was one of those folks who helped make it happen," Sister Carr said.
She said Mr. Moag played an instrumental role in overseeing a 6,000-square-foot addition to the existing school building.
"He kept his eye on what was happening all the time dealing with the challenges and remaining encouraging," she said. "He was a cheerleader and stayed with it."
In 1953, Mr. Moag married the former Joan C. Swanson, who lived in the same block of his Chicago neighborhood.
After moving to Baltimore, they lived in Lakeside, Pinehurst and later Cloverhill Road, and for the past four years at the Blakehurst retirement community in Towson.
Mrs. Moag died in April.
Mr. Moag was an avid Ravens fan and enjoyed vacationing in Bethany Beach, Del.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 3 p.m. Monday at his church, 740 N. Calvert St.
Also surviving are three other sons, Anthony "Tony" Moag of Ruxton, Gavin Moag of White Hall and Brendan Moag of Havertown, Pa.; two daughters, Elizabeth Moag of Ruxton and Jennifer Moag Black of Towson; 18 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun