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Dr. Charles G. Moment, retired Social Security Administration statistician, dies

Dr. Charles G. Moment's interests included literature, celestial navigation, streetcars, music and bridge.
Dr. Charles G. Moment's interests included literature, celestial navigation, streetcars, music and bridge.

Dr. Charles G. Moment, a retired Social Security Administration statistician who maintained interests in literature, celestial navigation, streetcars, music and bridge, died June 6 of complications from prostate cancer at Agrace Hospice & Palliative Care in Madison, Wisconsin. The former Catonsville and Ellicott City resident was 82.

Charles Gairdner Moment, son of Gairdner Bostwick Moment, a Goucher College biologist, and his wife, Ann Faben Moment, a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised in the city’s Pinehurst and Lake Evesham neighborhoods.

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Dr. Moment was a 1955 graduate of City College, where he played bass viol in the school’s orchestra. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1959 in mathematics from Princeton University, where he was a member of the Princeton Triangle Club pit orchestra. He subsequently earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in math from Purdue University and Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

He taught math at Southwestern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana, before joining the SSA in Woodlawn as a statistician in 1973. He retired in 2007.

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When asked what it was like working at SSA, Dr. Moment’s answer was simple and direct: “I’m a statistician and I like numbers. Where are there more numbers to play with than at the Social Security Administration?”

As a 16-year-old Sea Scout, Dr. Moment learned to navigate the Chesapeake Bay using a compass and charts, which proved very useful when his family spent a summer at the Bermuda Biological Station. When a 61-foot research vessel he was sailing on that was not equipped with radar suffered a mechanical failure, it was the 16-year-old who with the aid of charts and a compass brought the ship to a safe harbor.

Dr. Moment was a lifelong streetcar fan. “It was a sad day in our home when the No. 8 stopped running,” said a sister, Jane Moment Jordan of Oak Park, California. “He used to drive to Pittsburgh just to ride its streetcars.”

While he was in graduate school, he taught himself to play piano by playing Beethoven and Domenico Scarlatti sonatas. He was an avid reader and had read every Jane Austen novel, his sister said. He was also interested in anything connected with the mutiny on HMS Bounty and Captain William Bligh who sailed an open boat 3,500 miles across the Pacific to Timor after being set adrift by mutineers.

A Madison resident since 2017, he was a bridge life master and a member of the American Contract Bridge Association, and a member of the Where’s George? currency association.

Interment will be in Princeton, New Jersey, and will be attended only by family members.

He is survived by two other sisters, Sarah Moment Atis and Ann Moment Combs, both of Madison; and many nieces and nephews.

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