It was fitting that CSU legend John Mosley died on the eve of Memorial Day weekend.
Mosley, 93, died Friday in Aurora. A true pioneer, he leaves behind a legacy of service to his country and fellow man.
Mosley came to CSU (then Agricultural College of Colorado) in 1939 following an outstanding athletic and academic career at Denver’s Manual High School, where he was a National Merit Scholar. He became the first African-American football player in the modern (post-1900) era at CSU, where he was one of just nine black students.
He faced considerable prejudice both on and off the field in Fort Collins and when the Aggies played on the road. While some of his teammates never accepted him, fellow Aggies Dude Dent and Woody Fries always had his back as teammates and friends.
Mosley was Mountain States Conference most valuable player and honorable-mention All-American following his senior season. Also was a standout wrestler, Mosley became so respected on campus he was elected vice president of his junior and senior classes at CSU.
Following graduation, Mosley, who owned a private pilot’s license, applied to be a member of the famed Tuskegee Airman, the all-black fighter squadron that earned famed for valor and tenacity in World War II. Though Mosley never flew during World War II, he was among the first blacks trained to fly the B-25 bomber.
Quarter-century of service to country
Mosley went on to serve 25 years in the Air Force, flying missions in Korea and Vietnam before retiring as a Lt. Colonel. He went to Washington, D.C. as a special assistant to the undersecretary in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare before returning to Denver and working for the regional office of HEW’s successor, the Department of Health and Human Services, until his retirement.
He was inducted into the CSU Sports Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
CSU recently established the John Mosley Leadership Program, a collaboration between athletics and the Black/African American Cultural Center, developed to serve underrepresented and underserved student-athletes by engaging them in a structured, multi-level mentoring program. The program strengthens personal and interpersonal skills, promotes academic success, increases leadership opportunities and creates a sense of belonging and connection to the campus and surrounding community.
The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at New Hope Baptist Church, 3701 Colorado Blvd. in Denver.