Benjamin P. Moody 1992 Recipient of the Al Stohlman Award For Achievement in Leathercraft
It was a rare privilege and a thoroughly enjoyable assignment for Dottie and me to present the Al Stohlman Award medallion to Ben Moody of Elgin, Texas. We were both so very excited as the moment arrived. Some 250 were in attendance at the award banquet, and what an electrifying audience they were! Ben was stopped at table after table for personal congratulations as he made his way to the podium to receive his medallion. In a rare appearance, on stage with Ben, were all previous award recipients.
I thought it quite interesting that in Ben's acceptance speech the thought of his earliest recollections with leather came to mind. Ben has been stamping and teaching leathercraft since his first demonstration to a Kilgore, Texas Scout pack. "I showed them how to make three stamps from nails, and made basic geometric patterns," he said. That was 1935. "Since then," Ben remarks, "I have no idea how many demonstrations I have given or how many people I have shown how to start doing leather carving— surely it must be in the thousands."
In 1940, Ben was in the cavalry and worked as a saddler. At night he made belts, billfolds and bridles. From 1942-45, he served in the South Pacific with a regimental combat team. It was January 2, 1942 that Ben married his home town sweetheart, Daphne. They would have a son and a daughter.
Then for 15 more years of military service, Ben taught leathercraft largely during his "off time" at the many bases he was assigned. He set up hobby and craft shops on many Posts, taught hundreds of men and women, and was always involved with Scout and 4-H groups. In 1949, Ben won first prize in the Worldwide Army Crafts contest and then won it again in 1950. In 1951, he was transferred to Germany, where he did demonstrations and classes at many army Post hobby shops. He also won numerous contests in Europe. After that he was back to the States in Cincinnati as part of the Corps of Engineers, teaching weekends and nights to 4-H, Scouts and local schools. Ben even taught leathercraft in Seoul, Korea before retiring from the army in 1960.
Since then, Ben has provided numerous Doodle Pages and patterns and served as a Tandy store manager for many years. He is teaching, always teaching. Ben was invited to conduct leathercraft seminars at Southwest Texas State University, 4-H, Scouts, Texas State School, Austin State Hospital, Travis State School, State School for the Deaf, VA Hospitals and the list goes on. His recognitions and awards are just as numerous, and still Ben teaches at 4-H, homes for the elderly, and places in and around Elgin, Texas.
During the award presentation, Chuck Smith, representing Timber Products of Calabasas, Calif., presented Ben with a handmade, beautifully finished wooden leather craft toolbox with an engraved plate.
Also, I was privileged to represent a growing number of companies and individuals engaged in the manufacturing, distribution and marketing of leathercraft goods who have expressed their excitement concerning the prestigious Al Stohlman Award. These companies and individuals have collectively made it possible for Ben Moody to receive a cash honorarium of $1,150 to help Ben continue his on-going efforts and expand the interest in leathercraft.
Ben graciously accepted this wonderful gift with his pledge, at age 73, "I've only just begun."
For all those leathercrafters who were unable to attend this year's IFoLG Show, I can only urge you to begin making plans for Cedar Rapids in October 1993. The Al Stohlman Award presentation and all the awards given for winning entries, the banquet, entertainment and the hundreds of magnificent leather works on display will excite the imagination. We'll see you there next year.