Community honors Mozier, driver of Berkeley Springs arts, history & tourism

Tributes to Jeanne Mozier came from near and far last week as news spread of her sudden death last Thursday, November 26 at the age of 75.

In Berkeley Springs, her name was posted on the marquis of the Star Theatre – the movie theater she ran with her husband Jack Soronen for over 40 years. Her photo was hung on a Memorial Tree in the gazebo of Berkeley Springs State Park, where Mozier narrated the annual Apple Butter Festival for decades.

Other signs of tribute appeared as stars here and there – a symbol that was attached to Mozier both because of the movie theater and her work as an astrologer.

The West Virginia Book Company, local media groups, arts organizations and individuals posted tributes or memories on social media, outlining some of the many ways Mozier had influenced what they do. As a writer and photographer, spokesperson and arts advocate, Mozier connected with people all across West Virginia and across the region.

For thousands of people, Mozier was “The Voice of the Apple Butter Festival” – the person they heard year after year announcing the festival parade entries, introducing the musicians on the bandstand, proclaiming festival contest winners and directing festival proceedings.

A photo tribute to Jeanne Mozier hangs on the Memorial Tree set up in the Berkeley Springs State Park gazebo. Mozier spent every Apple Butter Festival weekend in the gazebo as the “voice” of the event for decades.

The Star Theatre posted a tribute to Mozier on their marquee last week. She and husband Jack Soronen owned and operated the movie house for more than 40 years.

For others, she was face of Berkeley Springs, promoting the spa industry locally, teaching visitors and travelers about the history and value of the warm springs at the Museum of the Berkeley Springs and drawing their attention to an arts community spread out around Morgan County.

Just this year, Mozier partnered with the Morgan County Commission to lead a celebration of the county’s Bicentennial year. It included a series of history lectures with the Museum.

County administrator Stefanie Allemong worked alongside Mozier to tackle to project during an unexpectedly complicated year.

“Jeanne was a champion for everything that involved Berkeley Springs and had the vision for the Bicentennial Celebration.  She came to the Commissioners and requested that we hold a year-long celebration, to which they eagerly agreed.

“As her Co-chair, we worked passionately together on this year-long project, and she was determined that by the end of the year, everyone would know who Daniel Morgan was and know the history of Morgan County. She took the bull by the horns, created the vision and then we both ran with it,” Allemong said. “I will continue to honor her by completing her vision of the Bicentennial Celebration.”

Two of Mozier’s books – Images of America: Berkeley Springs, written with Betty Lou Harmison and The Story of Berkeley Castle – build on her work as a local historian. Her West Virginia travel guide, Way Out in West Virginia extended her reach even further.

Posting a daily Berkeley Springs update on social media was one of the many tasks Mozier took on as a promoter of the town’s business community, arts, healing history and role in the life of American historical figures.

Her colleagues took that task over immediately after Mozier’s passing, saying online that their friend would have been irritated with any pause in the work of promoting Berkeley Springs as a travel destination and a place to call home.