The Reverend Dr. Paul Morgan Musser passed away peacefully on August 21, 2022 at the age of 99 in New Wilmington, PA, in the loving presence of Margaret ‘Peggy’ (Newcomb) Musser, the love of his life and wife of over 75 years.
His faith, family, music, and education were the focus of his life.
After dedicating his life to Christ while attending the New Wilmington Missionary Conference when he was in high school, he went on to serve as a missionary in Egypt, and as a pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church in New Kensington, PA, Pioneer Memorial Presbyterian Church in Solon, OH, and Christ Presbyterian Church in Canton, OH.
He met Peggy at Westminster College in Pennsylvania. Although Westminster students were required to attend Vesper Services, the girl who was to sit between them (in alphabetic order) often did not attend so they sat next to each other. Love blossomed and they were married on August 24, 1946. He and Peggy were inseparable partners throughout his life – raising their three children, supporting his work at churches and colleges, traveling throughout the country and the world, and aiding each other as they faced the inevitable challenges of advancing years. He passed away 3 days shy of their 76th wedding anniversary – a remarkable testament to their love and commitment.
Wonderful memories were created on month-long family vacations traveling around the country visiting historic and scenic sights, or relaxing on the spectacular Maine coast. He was the ‘head of the herd’ in our family, leading by example, offering love, support and guidance during hard times and good times to many in his extended family. He and Peggy often traveled around the country by car and plane to visit family.
An accomplished drummer in his early years he expanded his musical repertoire to include piano, organ, and vibraphone and often led family, church and camp singalongs. He was a strong advocate for the Duff-Armington Memorial Carillon at Westminster College, which he first played when he attended Westminster in the 1940s. He continued to play – climbing the 100 steps up to the top of the bell tower in Old Main – into his 90s. In 2005 he and Peggy co-founded the Friends of the Carillon Endowed Fund at Westminster.
After graduating from Westminster Dr. Musser continued his lifelong passion for learning, receiving his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary in 1947, Master of Theology degree from Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary in 1955, an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Westminster College in 1973, Doctor of Ministry from Ashland Theological Seminary 1977, and Master of Divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 1978. He also served as Dean of Students at Tarkio College in Tarkio, MO, and filled several roles on the faculty and administration at Westminster College.
Dr. Musser was very active in retirement as an interim and guest pastor at numerous churches in Pennsylvania and Ohio. He and Peggy also volunteered and were active in fund raising for Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, AK. He was very involved at the New Wilmington Presbyterian Church in their mission program, leading the Kerygma Program Bible studies, and led several group tours to the Holy Lands. In addition to co-founding Friends of the Carillon he drove the effort to refurbish and relocate the Westminster College Victory Bell.
Dr. Musser was preceded in death by his daughter Rebecca Musser Hosea, and is survived by his wife Margaret Musser, sons Paul T. Musser of Portland, OR, and Peter M. Musser of Seattle, WA, grandchildren Sandy Vanderbeck of Portland, OR, Morgan Walker of Laurel, MS, Ashleigh Obeng of San Francisco, CA, Megg Stanley of Cumming, GA, Arianah Musser of Seattle, WA, and 7 great grandchildren.
A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at The Wallace Memorial Chapel on the campus of Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA, on September 24, 2022 at 1:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers please make a contribution in his memory to one of the following:
Friends of the Carillon Endowed Fund, Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA
Cole Hughes Musser Newcomb Scholarship Fund, Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA
Becky Musser Hosea Scholarship Fund, Berry College, Rome, GA
His was a full life, well lived. He will be deeply missed by all those whose lives he touched.
Blest communion, fellowship divine;
We feebly struggle while they in glory shine!
For all are one in Thee, for all are Thine,
Published by Smith Funeral Home Ltd on Sep. 15, 2022.