Obituary of John Mueller
Dr. John Storm Mueller, acclaimed organist, professor of organ, loving husband, adoring father, proud grandfather, army veteran and advocate for the arts passed away peacefully Monday, January 14. 2019. He was 91. Dr. Mueller's love for his family, passion for music, faith in God, joy he found in his students, and an unyielding quest for knowledge shaped each day of his life. Those days were spent inspiring and encouraging others. John and Margaret Mueller, his wife of sixty years were a team in all respects - filling the hearts of those surrounding them with music, love, and inspiration. Born in East Liverpool, Ohio, he was the son of Herman Mueller and Marjorie Storm Mueller. He studied organ at Oberlin College (where he met Margaret) and graduated with a Bachelor of Music in organ. He received a Master's Degree at the University of Michigan in 1952 and completed his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Boston University in 1969. Dr. Mueller was a legendary teacher and iconic figure in the international organ world. He taught organ at Salem College from 1955 to 1995 and taught organ and harpsichord at North Carolina School of the Arts from 1967 to 1995. Throughout his career, he performed extensively and was the organist at many churches, including St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem, as well as summer organist for Harvard University Memorial Church. He studied organ in Germany as a Fulbright Scholar and later served on the Fulbright Committee, and with Margaret, had seven of their own students become Fulbright Scholars. One of his favorite stories was of being seated next to Senator Fulbright himself, as an honored guest at Washington DC's ceremony with Queen Beatrix celebrating 200 years of peaceful relations between the Netherlands and the USA at the dedication of the new Flentrop organ at St. Columbia's Episcopal Church. Dr. Mueller, with his wife Margaret, paved the way for the revival of the classical pipe organ in the United States, introducing the great organs and organists of Europe to American organists. They did this together through 21 years of Salem's Summer Organ Academy, inviting world-famous teachers and organists to Winston-Salem to work with their students and other organists throughout the US. Still on this earth and loving him so, are his wife Margaret S. Mueller, daughter Laura Mueller Woods, son-in-law Mark Woods, grandson John Woods, and granddaughter Kiley Woods. He is also loved and remembered by his music family which he referred to as his "children in music", his "grand-children in music", and now his "great-grandchildren in music". So many of his students have become distinguished teachers and performers. Dr. Mueller's legacy lives on in the lives he has touched. Empathy was as natural to him as breathing and the proof of how deeply he cared for humanity is evident in institutions, communities, and individuals all over the world. We will miss him with all our hearts. We are deeply saddened but mindful of, and so grateful for, the example he relentlessly and passionately lived. A memorial service and celebration of his life will be held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church at 2pm Saturday, January 26, 2019. The service will be followed by a reception at the church.
Memorials in honor of Dr. John S. Mueller can be made to:
School of Music
601 S. Church Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
c/o Dr. Barbara Lister-Sink, Director