Elwin Lewis Musser


MASON CITY | Elwin Lewis Musser, 95, of Mason City, died Saturday, March 28, 2015, at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa from complications from cardiac arrest with his family at his side.

Memorial services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, April 2, 2015, at the First United Methodist Church, 119 S. Georgia Ave., with Rev. Sean McRoberts officiating.

A gathering of family and friends will be held from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday at Major Erickson Funeral Home, 111 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Mason City. Masonic services will take place at 6 p.m. at the funeral home.

Inurnment will be in Memorial Park Cemetery with full military rites conducted by the Mason City Veteran’s Association.

Online condolences may be left for the family at www.majorericksonfuneralhome.com.

Elwin was born in Sioux Falls, SD, on June 14, 1919, son of Wheeler W. and Blanche (Hess) Musser, and also lived in Oberlin, KS and Charles City, IA. He graduated from Charles City High School in 1937. He was a WWII Veteran who enlisted in the US Navy on Jan. 28, 1942 and served in the Fleet Air Photo Lab in Pearl Harbor, HI 1942-1944. He received a commendation from Admiral J. H. Towers, Commander of the Air Force, Pacific Fleet, for the photographic support Elwin's squadron gave to the Pacific Fleet.

Elwin married Elsie P. Doty on Aug. 18, 1944, in Pensacola, FL. They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in August 2014.

He is survived by Elsie and their four children; Larry (Vicki) Musser, Colorado Springs, CO; Anita (Gary, deceased) McVay, Windsor, CO; Marilyn (Tom) Regnier, Minnetonka Beach, MN; and Neal Musser of Centerville, OH; 11 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.

He is also survived by three nieces and one nephew, and a number of cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and sisters Thelma Deneau and Elaine Butterfield.

He had been a member of the First United Methodist Church of Mason City since 1946. A Past Master and 3rd Degree Mason of the Harding Masonic Lodge, Elwin was the first Master installed in the new Masonic Lodge building in 1965.

He was a past president of the Wigwam-N-Wagon Campers, where he and Elsie were members for over 40 years. He was a former member of the Shutterbugs of North IA Camera Club, and a member and past president of the Iowa Press Photographers Assoc.

He was also a member of the VFW, having served as Adjutant. Elwin was flown to Washington, DC in 2009 on one of the Honor Flights, a tribute to our veterans, which he talked about for the rest of his life.

Elwin retired in 1981 from the Mason City Globe Gazette after 35 years working as their News Photographer. Photography was his job, his hobby, and his passion, earning him the nickname "Flash." He captured many thousands of photos in his lifetime; it was though a camera in his hands was a natural extension of himself.

The book Elwin Musser: North Iowa News Photographer was published in 1994 by the Globe-Gazette/Lee Enterprises, Inc. and the Mason City Public Library which included many of his award winning photos. His photo of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens and their pilot on Feb. 3, 1959 was named one of the 100 Photos of the Century by the Associated Press in the year 2000 and the photo had also been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

Anyone meeting Elwin for the first time instantly considered him a new friend because of his easy going ways. He was a man of great integrity and he will be truly missed by his family and many friends.

Arrangements: Major Erickson Funeral Home & Crematory, 111 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Mason City, IA, 50401, 641-423-0924.

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