David L. Mudd died at the age of 90 peacefully at home on Friday, Aug. 19, 2011, after a short illness. He was born in Millwood, Mo., on Sept. 10, 1920. His family moved to St. Louis two years later, where he attended grade school, Military High School and St. Louis University, majoring in accounting.
He worked for General Motors until World War II, then joined the Air Force Reserve. He flew troops to England and airlift missions for Eastern Airlines during the war. He was later assigned to Eastern Airlines pilot school. He flew for Eastern Airlines for 38 years, 36 of them as Captain, mandating retirement at the age of 60 in 1980. He retired flying his favorite aircraft, the Lockheed L1011.
David married Betty Jane McDanel of Kansas City, Mo. He and his beloved wife of 47 years raised four children. The family lived in Southold from 1951 to 1954 before moving to Ringoes, N.J., where David bought a 278-acre dairy farm and opened a self-service laundromat in Plainfield, N.J. He farmed and ran his laundromat while flying for Eastern Airlines.
While at Eastern Airlines, David was the head of the Eastern Pilots’ Union and served as the master chairman of the Airlines Pilots’ Association (ALPA). He served on negotiating committees, discharge boards and many other functions. He always promoted fair pay and treatment of all employees regardless of their field and function.
In 1960, David moved his family back to Southold. He built a self-service laundromat in Greenport and a 32-acre farm on County Road 48 in Southold, which would eventually become the beginning of Mudd Vineyards, the business that he and his son, Stephen Mudd, built together successfully over the past 37 years.
David Mudd was a pioneer and a key promoter in bringing investors to the East End grape-growing and vineyard business. He was the first president of the Long Island Grape Growers Association, now known as the Long Island Wine Council. He counseled many growers and vintners over the years promoting the Long Island wine industry. He planted his first grapes in 1974, one year after the Hargraves planted their first vineyard. He is considered a legend by many who knew and loved him. Mudd Vineyards received the Grower Award from New York State Wine and Grape Foundation on two occasions.
David is survived by his wife of nine years, Christine McGuire of Las Vegas, Nev.; his children, Cynthia Mudd-Lindberg and husband, Tom, of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Stephen and wife, Pat, of Southold, Nancy Mudd Haponic and husband, Phil, of Southold, and daughter-in-law Joy Mudd of North Prairie, Wis.; his grandchildren: Jonathan, Nicole, Stephen, David and Joshua; his great-grandchildren: Anna Marie, Gabrielle, Matthew and Barbara; sisters-in-law Tessie Mudd, Phyllis McGuire and Dorothy (McGuire) and husband, Lowell Williamson; and stepsons Asa Ashcraft and wife, Bev, and Harold and wife, Maria, and families.
David was predeceased by his wife of 47 years, Betty Jane, in 1994, his son Donald D. Mudd in April 2011 and his brothers, Bob and Ed Mudd.
Visiting hours will be held at DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Mattituck on Wednesday, Aug. 24, from 7-9 p.m. and Thursday, Aug. 25, from 1-3 p.m., followed by a funeral service. Interment will be at Cutchogue Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions be made to East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1048, Westhampton Beach, NY 11978 or www.eeh.org.
This is a paid notice.