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  • Writer's pictureTisha Dolton

Remembering Henry Musser, the Artist behind Windfield Designs

Back in February I was contacted by the Barnes family in Virginia who were looking to donate some of their Windfield Designs. I selected twenty-one pieces for our collection. The little buildings arrived in mid-March, and each one was carefully unwrapped, inspected, described and photographed. I was most excited for two more recipe boxes, the Stone House Bakery box, and the little holiday house which turned out to be a music box that plays "Silent Night"!


Windfield Designs donated by the Barnes family on display in the Folklife Galleries thru August 31, 2024. <Windfield Designs Collection, The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library, Glens Falls, NY>


Shortly after the arrival of these little treasures, we learned of the passing of Windfield Designs creator Henry Clay Musser. Now thru August 31, 2024 there is a display of some of the newly acquired banks and boxes which he so enjoyed creating for twenty years. Rest easy, Mr. Musser.


Henry Clay Musser, Jr. (1935-2024)

Henry Clay Musser Jr.

April 4, 1935 - March 6, 2024

Obituary


Henry C. Musser 88, died peacefully at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough, ME on Wednesday, March 6 after a long decline with Alzheimer’s. Henry was born on April 4, 1935, to Sue Kern and H. Clay Musser of State College, PA.


He graduated from State College High School and earned three degrees: BA, MEd, and a MFA at Penn State University. Spending four years in the SAC division of the Air Force, he was stationed at Bangor, ME.


Henry was a gregarious individual who was never shy about striking up conversations with strangers, many of whom became good friends. Known for exercising his creative talents in a most productive way, he taught art for 32 years at all levels from kindergarten to graduate students, ending his career as Professor of Art and Art History and gallery director at Adirondack College in Queensbury, NY.


His sensitive appreciation of the beauty of the Pennsylvania and New England landscapes and seaside were evident in his prolific production of watercolors which were exhibited in many galleries in upstate NY.


He was an enthusiastic planner of the next project whether restoring Colonial houses for his family’s use, creating his art, piloting his planes or planning the next travel adventure. During the U. S. Centennial, he turned his interest in early architecture to creating small wooden hand built and painted reproductions of historic colonial buildings which eventually developed into a small gift manufacturing business Windfield Designs, Inc. located in Glens Falls, NY.


Musser working on a coin bank based on his love for Colonial architecture. <Post-Star, Glens Falls, NY, December 27, 1980>

He and wife Pat retired to Maine in 1994 where his interests turned into building models of 18th and 19th century sailing ships. Retirement allowed the couple to travel abroad extensively where Henry documented the sights in watercolors and drawings.


As a strong believer in community involvement, he served on the board and as interim director of the Hyde Museum in Glens Falls, NY. In Maine he served as guide at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art. He also volunteered at the Owls Head Transportation Museum, the Kennebunk Animal Welfare Society, and the Wells Reserve at Laudholm.


Above all, he loved his family and enjoyed visits from his granddaughters who knew him as Dada Hank and Pop Pop. He especially enjoyed those times when the whole family congregated for special holidays.


Henry was predeceased by his parents and his sister Julia Dawson, and sister-in-law Martha Finley. He is survived by Pat his wife of 62 years, Wells ME; his daughter Betheny Hessel, Sparta, NJ; daughter Laurel Azaula and husband Eric, Cheshire, CT; his brother Frank Musser and wife Elaine; Petersburg, PA; his brother-in-law Francis Finley, Cranberry Township, PA; granddaughters Morgan Hessel, Grace and Isabelle Azaula, and many nieces and nephews.


A celebration of life will be held on April 27, 2024, at 11 AM at St. David’s Episcopal Church, Kennebunk, ME.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Owls Head Transportation Museum, PO Box 277, Owls Head, ME 04854 or the Animal Welfare Society, PO Box 43, West Kennebunk, ME 04094.


To share a memory or leave a message of condolence please visit Henry’s Book of Memories Page at www.bibberfuneral.com


Arrangements are in the care of Bibber Memorial Chapel, 111 Chapel Rd., Wells, ME 04090.


Musser painting one of his many watercolors. <Post-Star, Glens Falls, NY, July, 16, 1979>

More blog posts about Windfield Designs


 

SOURCES


Post-Star archive on Newspapers.com


accessed 03/18/2024.

 

Tisha Dolton is Librarian/Historian at The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, NY. Her areas of interest are suffrage music, suffragists of Warren and Washington Counties, local women and minority populations, and embroidery.


 

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