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William Mumby Jr., retired Coppin State and Bowie State official, dies

William Mumby Jr. enlisted in the Navy and was trained as a machinist’s mate. He was assigned to the USS Chourre, an aircraft repair ship, and sailed to the South Pacific and called at Guam and the Philippines.
William Mumby Jr. enlisted in the Navy and was trained as a machinist’s mate. He was assigned to the USS Chourre, an aircraft repair ship, and sailed to the South Pacific and called at Guam and the Philippines.

William Mumby Jr., a retired administrator at Bowie State and Coppin State universities and World War II veteran, died of leukemia Thursday at Stella Maris hospice. The Ashburton resident was 94.

“He was a good worker, very conscientious,” said Coppin State’s former president, Calvin W. Burnett.

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Born in Brooklyn, New York, he was the son of William Mumby Sr., a Liverpool, England, tobacco shop owner and his wife, Anna Rosina Page, an NAACP organizer.

The family moved to Long Branch, New Jersey, where Mr. Mumby graduated from Long Branch High School in 1943. He then enlisted in the Navy.

Trained as a machinist’s mate, he was assigned to the USS Chourre, an aircraft repair ship. He sailed to the South Pacific and called at Guam and the Philippines.

“An emergency arose, and his captain asked for volunteers to repair the rudder,” said a daughter, Kim Mumby Green of Stamford, Connecticut. “Bill was the first sailor to go to the hull of the ship. He spent 72 hours in the hull before the repair was completed. As he left the hull, the captain [asked for] a standing ovation. He was saluted for saving the ship.”

Mr. Mumby completed his military service in May 1947.

He worked briefly in Long Branch and enrolled at Morgan State University in 1949.

While at Morgan State, he was involved in civil rights protests. He was later honored in a historical display of that period at the Morgan Student Center.

“My father was elated to be part of the unveiling of the exhibit,” his daughter said.

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Family members said he had a strong work ethic. He earned a business degree and was president of the school’s Commerce Club, and was voted the most outstanding student in the class of 1952. He belonged to the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

He met his future wife, Mattie Lawson, during his last year at Morgan State. They married in 1955 at the Morgan Christian Center, now named the University Memorial Chapel.

He became a salesman and was later an owner of Safe Motor Sales, a pioneering black-owned used car dealership on Bloomingdale Road in West Baltimore. He helped African American auto buyers get loans for the vehicles. He had earlier been with DS & D Motors, Penn Brothers and Park Circle Chevrolet. He won awards for his sales and attention to his customer service.

“My father’s favorite car was his 1965 white Mercedes sedan with a red leather interior,” his daughter said. “He liked that brand.”

A Copley Road resident, Mr. Mumby was an organizer and leader of the Forest Park Little League in the early 1960s.

“He touched the lives of many youths who had the desire to play in the parks, but were not allowed,” his daughter said. “He continued to be a strong advocate for youth who needed a voice and was a firm believer in giving back to communities in need.”

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In 1967, he joined what was then Bowie State College and was initially its admissions director. He took on other roles and helped direct the campus physical plant and also served as an assistant to the president.

“He served as the coordinator of the college’s physical development that has involved some $15 million of repairs and improvements,” his daughter said.

In 1973, he became assistant to the president of Coppin State University and headed its Office of Development as vice president for Institutional Planning and Development.

“He worked under trying circumstances," said Dr. Burnett, who headed Coppin for 32 years. "We had just started our fundraising program and set up an institutional advancement office. He worked to get it on its feet.”

Mr. Mumby was later a vice president at the Baltimore City redevelopment agency Charles Center Inner Harbor Management. He helped coordinate the construction of the National Aquarium.

He retired in 1983 after returning to Bowie State University as vice president of Planning and Development.

Mr. Mumby attended real estate auctions and often counseled young buyers in real estate buying practices.

In 1984, he became the administrative officer of his son’s Mumby & Simmons and Ashburton Dental Associates. He ran payroll and accounts payable and helped with banking at the firm’s office at Liberty Heights and Calloway avenues.

He also was active in the National Aquarium and was board chair of the Family and Children’s Society in Bolton Hill.

He supported African American businesses, including Advance Federal Savings & Loan and Harbor Bank.

Mr. Mumby enjoyed world travel. He joined Heritage United Church of Christ in 1966.

A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at Gilliam Concert Hall at Morgan State University, 2200 Argonne Drive.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include his wife of more than 64 years, Mattie Lawson Mumby, a retired principal of Chadwick Elementary School; a son, Dr. William Wayne Mumby of Ellicott City; another daughter, Geri Mumby Covington of Philadelphia; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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