Dr. Vanessa Dawn Moss Summers, PhD
Vanessa Dawn Moss Summers, PhD
Dr. Vanessa Dawn Moss Summers completed her mission on this earth on April 6, 2017, in the Johns Hopkins Hospital after a long, valiant struggle with liver and kidney failure.
Her journey through this life began as the first rays of morning light began to illuminate the Town of Leesburg, Virginia on April 13, 1958. The timing of her birth inspired a last-minute change of her middle name. The precocious daughter of Solomon and Gladys Moss soon found she had a talent for academics, writing, and singing. She grew up with four brothers in Lovettsville, VA and attended local schools. She graduated with honors from Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville, VA in 1976 and began her academic career at Radford College.
During the summer of 1978 Vanessa joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints (Mormon) dedicating her life to serving others. She transferred to the church’s flagship university, Brigham Young University, where she graduated with her BS in psychology in 1983. She then served in the LDS British Columbia, Calgary Mission. Continuing her education at BYU when she returned, she completed her master of Science Degree in Educational Psychology in 1988.
While pursuing her PhD at Utah State University, she became friends with fellow doctoral students, Carl and Marcia Summers. One day, Marcia announced to Vanessa, “I told Carl last night that if I die young, he has my permission to marry you.” They returned to their studies and did not think much of her pronouncement. All three completed their PhD in psychology and started their careers; the Summers family at Ball State University and Vanessa with Xerox Corporation at the Leesburg Conference Center.
Sadly, Vanessa called Carl in early 1999 to offer her condolences after finding her friend’s name in the obituary section of the USU alumni magazine. Their friendship was rekindled and developed into love. They were married on Oct. 16, 1999.
Vanessa quickly adapted to her new role as stepmother, supporting her three step-children; Nathan, Miranda, and Caitlin while continuing her career with Xerox until she became too ill to work in Oct. 2015. Her efforts at Xerox included developing their training evaluation system. Before her illness, she served in many church callings (positions) and as Loudoun Valley High School PTO president.
Vanessa is survived by her husband, Dr. Carl Summers of Purcellville, VA; her stepson, Nathan and his wife, Emily, and children Adam and Emma of Mesa, AZ; stepdaughter, CPT. Miranda Summers-Lowe and her husband, Justin Lowe, Esq. of Washington, DC; and stepdaughter Caitlin Summers and her fiancé, Miles Vann. She is also survived by her brothers and their prospective spouses and families; Carlos Myers of Leesburg, Tim Moss of Brunswick, David Moss of Buena Vista, and Ben Moss of Hagerstown.
A memorial service will be held in the Hamilton LDS Church, 51 North Reid Street, Hamilton, VA on Saturday, April 15, 2017 at 1:00 PM. A reception will follow at the church immediately after the service. As her last act of service, Vanessa donated her body to The Johns Hopkins Institute of Medicine and the Anatomy Gift Registry for the purposes of education, research, and organ transplantation. The church will accept flower deliveries from 10 to 1 PM the day of the service. The family suggests the foundations of Brigham Young University, Utah State University or Johns Hopkins University for those who wish to make a charitable contribution in lieu of flowers.
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