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Louise H. Muchler, who was organist and choir director at Timonium United Methodist Church for more than 40 years, died Tuesday of cancer at a daughter's home in Havre de Grace. She was 89.

Louise Smith, the daughter of a coal company office worker and homemaker, was born and raised in Plymouth, Pa., an anthracite coal mining town near Wilkes-Barre.

She was a 1937 graduate of Plymouth High School and attended what was then Catonsville Junior College. In 1972, she graduated from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington.

Mrs. Muchler started piano lessons at an early age and by the time she was 8, she entered Eisteddfod, a Welsh music competition that was held in the Dr. Edwards Congregational Church in Edwardsville, Pa.

She won first prize for her rendition of the hymn "The Old Rugged Cross," family members said.

She returned to the church this past spring, where she was honored at the this year's competition.

She met her future husband, John C. Muchler, who had been the family's ice man, when she was a child. They later reconnected when Mrs. Muchler was the pianist for the Plymouth Glee Club, where Mr. Muchler, a baritone, was a member.

The couple married in 1939 and moved to Baltimore to work in the city's war plants. In 1947, they moved to Timonium.

That same year, she joined Timonium United Methodist Church. When the church's organist quit, Mrs. Muchler stepped in temporarily; for the next 42 years, she was the church's organist and choir director. She retired in 1990.

In addition to her work at the church, she taught organ and piano at home and gave piano classes in city public schools.

Mrs. Muchler sold her home in 1994 and moved to Fallston to live with a daughter and son-in-law, and later moved with them to Havre de Grace.

Mrs. Muchler maintained a lifelong interest in music, family members said.

Her husband of 45 years, who worked for Bendix Radio in Towson, died in 1984.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. today at her church, Pot Springs and Chantrey roads, Timonium.

Surviving are two daughters, Anne Hallett of Havre de Grace and Jayne Dick of Dover, Del.; a sister, Grace Swartz of Hernando, Fla.; two grandsons; and a great-granddaughter.

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