Robert D. Mulford, Church Organist

Jan. 1, 1925 - Sept. 22, 2014
Robert D. Mulford, Jan. 1, 1925 - Sept. 22, 2014

Robert D. Mulford, who served as organist and choir director of the East Hampton Methodist Church and the Springs Presbyterian Church for many years until his retirement in 2001, died of congestive heart failure on Sept. 22 at D’Youville Senior Care, the long-term nursing facility of the D’Youville Life and Wellness Community in Lowell, Mass. He was 89 and had been in declining health, his family said.

A veteran who served with the Army’s 71st Infantry Division during World War II, Mr. Mulford performed at the wedding of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s son while stationed at Fort Benning, in Georgia, in March 1944. Weeks later he was in the European theater, and was in Germany when the Battle of the Bulge, in which American forces suffered heavy casualties, ended in early 1945.

In addition to the East Hampton Methodist Church, where he was organist and choir director from age 16 until being drafted and again after the war,  and the Springs Presbyterian Church, he was a member of the First Baptist Church of Tewksbury in Massachusetts, where he had moved in 2001. He was also a member, organist, and past master of the Star of the East Masonic Lodge of East Hampton and organist at the Masons’ Wamponamon Lodge in Sag Harbor.

Mr. Mulford, his family said, played the organ “anywhere, anytime, for any reason,” including recitals, weddings, funerals, and Masonic meetings and events, along with weekly church services. “I did promise, in 1946 when still in the service, that I would praise the Lord with my music for as long as he let me,” Mr. Mulford said. “God has been good to me.”

Born in New York City on New Year’s Day 1925 to James Hedges Mulford and the former Sybel Marjorie Dominy, he grew up in East Hampton, attending East Hampton High School and, after the war, Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J.

He went to work for his father at the East Hampton Lumber and Coal Company. In 1958, he left that firm for Hildreth’s Department Store in Southampton, where he spent nine years in the men’s department. In 1967, he returned to East Hampton, where he purchased and ran the William J. LeVesconte clothing store. In the 1980s, he worked for the Southampton Lumber Company, retiring from the Montauk branch in 1988.

Mr. Mulford married Mary Helen Stockwell on Sept. 11, 1948. The couple moved to Tewksbury in 2001 to be closer to their daughter, Carolyn Loucraft. Mrs. Mulford died in 2004.

In addition to Ms. Loucraft, one granddaughter and one great-granddaughter survive. A brother, James Hedges Mulford Jr., died before him.

Mr. Mulford was cremated. Burial at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in East Hampton will be private. A memorial service was held in Tewksbury on Saturday. Another is scheduled for Oct. 25 at 11 a.m. at the Springs Presbyterian Church. The Rev. Tony Larson will officiate.

The family has suggested memorial contributions to the First Baptist Church of Tewksbury, 1500 Andover Street, Tewksbury, Mass. 01876.