Grady Moretz, Appalachian Ski Mountain Co-Founder and Entrepreneur, Dies at 88

Published Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 11:44 am

D. Grady Moretz, Jr., age 88, of Poplar Hill Drive, Boone, passed away Sunday morning, April 8, 2018 at his home.

Born June 29, 1929 in Watauga County, he was a son of Dillard Grady Moretz, Sr. and Grace Rhyne Moretz. Grady was a lifelong member of Grace Lutheran Church.

After attending UNC Chapel Hill, Mr. Moretz served a four-year tour in the US Navy during the Korean Conflict. He was a co-founder, owner and operator of Appalachian Ski Mtn. A noted civic leader, Mr. Moretz was involved in numerous community and professional organizations. He served on the Watauga County School Board during the successful bond referendum for consolidation of the local high schools into Watauga High School. He was a founding member of the Watauga Education Foundation, and a member of the Watauga County Hospital Board of Trustees before serving 40 years on the Blowing Rock Hospital Board, 20 years as chairman. He was president of the Boone Jaycees, during the building of the Boone Jaycees Park near Horn in the West, was a member of the Boone Tourism Development Authority soon after its inception, and was a founding member of ASU’s Appalachian Summer Festival. 
Mr. Moretz was an organizing member and president of both the North Carolina Ski Areas Association and North Carolina High Country Host, and was instrumental in creating the 1981 North Carolina Skier Safety Act legislation. He was president of the Southeastern Ski Areas Association and represented the southeast region on the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) Board of Directors, serving as an officer and a member of numerous committees. In 2005, he was the sole North American recipient of the NSAA Lifetime Achievement Award. 

He was a die-hard Tarheel fan and was a proud supporter of ASU. 

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Reba Smith Moretz; son, Brad Moretz, wife Jennifer, and their children, Jensen and Avery Elizabeth Moretz, and daughter, Brenda Moretz Speckmann, husband, John, and their children, Wiley and Sophie Speckmann, all of Blowing Rock. 

Funeral services for D. Grady Moretz, Jr. will be conducted Thursday afternoon, April 12, at 3:00 at Boone United Methodist Church, officiated by Pastor Stephen Troisi and Rev. John Bollinger. Military graveside services, provided by the American Legion Post #130 and the US Navy, will follow at Mount Lawn Memorial Park & Gardens. A reception will follow the graveside services at Grace Lutheran Church. The family will receive friends Wednesday evening from 6 until 8 o’clock at Austin & Barnes Funeral Home.

The family suggests memorials to Grace Lutheran Church Lutheran Student Center, 115 E. King St., Boone, NC 28607 or Caldwell Hospice & Palliative Care, 902 Kirkwood St., NW, Lenoir, NC 28645.

Online condolences may be shared at

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Moretz family.

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