Local Obituaries

Career public servant James Mosman, 66, led CalSTRS for 13 years

James Mosman served as chief executive officer of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System from 1988 to 2001.
James Mosman served as chief executive officer of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System from 1988 to 2001. family photo

James D. Mosman, a career public servant and a leader in the public pension field who served 13 years as chief executive officer of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, died Nov. 4 at 66.

He died of suicide after 31/2 years of chronic facial pain that led to anxiety and depression, his wife, Caroline Cabias, said.

Mr. Mosman was appointed head of CalSTRS in 1988. Under his leadership, the system’s portfolio grew from $24.3 billion to $105 billion, while membership increased by a quarter-million to 661,000 members and benefit recipients, according to CalSTRS and articles in The Sacramento Bee.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to Jim’s family,” CalSTRS Chief Executive Officer Jack Ehnes said in a written statement Monday. “We have lost a man who thoroughly embraced and championed the security of teacher pensions, who led by his word and followed through on his promises.”

Mr. Mosman left CalSTRS in 2001 to be executive director of the National Council on Teacher Retirement and retired in 2012. Besides helping develop the National Institute on Retirement Security, he was active in the California Association of Public Retirement Systems and the Council of Institutional Investors executive committee.

Previously, he had advanced quickly as an administrator in state government since 1971, including positions at the State Personnel Board and in the departments of justice and personnel administration. Before leading CalSTRS, he was appointed at 36 by Gov. George Deukmejian in 1985 to be director of the Department of Personnel Administration.

He also served on the board of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

Mr. Mosman, whose mother and aunt were teachers, told The Bee in 2001 that being chief executive officer of CalSTRS was “one of the best jobs in state government.” He studied business in college and had considered being a lawyer before deciding to work in the public sector, his wife said.

“Public service wasn’t about him or about money,” she said. “He was a very giving person of himself and his time.”

Mr. Mosman was born in 1948 and raised in Stockton. He graduated from the University of Oregon and earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California.

He was “a die-hard Ducks fan and die-hard Giants fan,” his wife said. Besides visiting Napa Valley wineries with family and friends, he enjoyed playing golf and traveling to Mexico, Hawaii and Europe.

In addition to his wife of 26 years, Mr. Mosman is survived by his daughter Alisa.

A celebration of his life is set for 2 p.m. Nov. 15 at George L. Klumpp Chapel of Flowers, 2691 Riverside Blvd., Sacramento. A reception will be held immediately afterward at The Mix, 1525 L St., Sacramento.

Memorial donations may be made to local charities.

Call The Bee’s Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Davila.