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Breath of inspiration: Auburn woman, nation's longest-living lung-transplant patient, passes away

Dawn Revell holds a portrait of her mother Brenda Revell Moss. - Mark Klaas/Reporter
Dawn Revell holds a portrait of her mother Brenda Revell Moss.
— image credit: Mark Klaas/Reporter

Breathe deeper, laugh more.

Mother and daughter often shared that familiar bit of advice – to remind each other how gentle life could be.

Brenda Revell Moss knew how precious each breath was, how fulfilling each day with family and friends could be.

The Auburn woman, a natural redhead, had a "firecracker" personality, an infectious smile, was fun and friendly, direct and argumentative, caring and passionate.

"My mom took care of everyone else. She was very outgoing," said Dawn Revell. "She loved people, and she loved life."

It was a life filled with pleasure – and pain.

Faced with a life-threatening lung disease, Moss opted to become one of the first patients in the Seattle area to undergo a lung transplant, at the University of Washington Medical Center on April 19, Easter Sunday, 20 years ago.

Despite the risks, Moss, 52, and Nayland Judd, 53, also of Auburn, each received a lung from the same donor. Dr. Edward Verrier, chief of cardiothoracic surgery, and Dr. Thomas Marchioro, professor of surgery, led two, 17-person teams performing each of the complicated lung transplants.

Nayland died more than a year after his transplant. Moss survived the surgery and later ones to live longer than some medical experts had projected. Until her health began to deteriorate, she lived life to the fullest. She drew her last breath on May 2 at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way, her daughter holding her in her arms.

She was 71.

"I kept telling her how much I loved her. I thanked her for everything she did for us," Revell said.

Moss was the longest-living, single-lung transplant in the country, her doctors said.

"Everyone is amazed at what she went through," Revell said.

Given a second chance, Moss made the most of it. She quit smoking and lived an active, spirited life devoted to family and friends. She and her husband of 32 years, Daniel, raised a family and became an active part of the Auburn community. They volunteered for the Auburn Police Department and supervised polling places on election days.

Moss enjoyed cooking, crocheting, drawing, the outdoors and being everyone's grandmother. She was busy in Eastern Star, serving as worthy matron of the Cyclamen Chapter 65 (1999-2000). She was active in her work at United Methodist Church.

Moss was one of the original waitresses at the Space Needle restaurant at the 1962 World's Fair. She worked at Boeing before she was medically retired.

Born in Iowa, Moss was raised in Seattle. She and her family moved to Kent in 1966 and to Auburn in 1979.

While Moss lived with constant pain and medications, she seldom complained, Revell said. She was a fighter, someone who forged ahead, smiled and laughed despite her health.

"She had drive and determination," she said. "She wanted to be here. I wish I had an ounce of her strength."

Moss is survived by her husband, two daughters, a son, a sister, four great-grandchildren, four grandchildren and her beloved wire-haired, fox terrier, Donor.

A memorial service is 2 p.m. June 3 at the King Solomon Lodge, 10 Auburn Way S.

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