New Castle digs into Harry Mussell Day
In honor of a longtime resident and his volunteer service throughout the valley, New Castle has a new special day – Friday, March 1, now marks “Harry W. Mussell Day.”
For health reasons, Mussell has recently moved out of his New Castle home and into a senior living facility in Rifle. He is also retiring from the Glenwood Springs Rotary Club after more than 30 years.
New Castle town council members recently passed a proclamation designating “Harry W. Mussell Day,” and Mussell will be honored by his fellow Rotarians at their regular meeting today.
Mussell has had perfect attendance for 32 years at the weekly Rotary Club meetings, even when he was out of town.
“Wherever he happened to be, he would find a Rotary Club chapter,” said Glenwood Springs Rotary member Bill Sanderson. “He’s had a perfect attendance record for years.”
Rotary Club president Ken Kranz said Mussell has also served as spokesperson for the club’s “Fireside Chats,” in which he provides a colorful recounting of the local Rotary Club’s history.
Kranz will honor Mussell at the meeting with a plaque for his years of service, and New Castle Mayor Bill Wentzel will read the proclamation.
“Then basically we’ll tell Harry stories and let Harry tell Harry stories,” Kranz said.
And Mussell has lots of stories to tell. Ask him about July 4, 1939, at Yankee Stadium and you’ll hear one of his favorites.
That was the day Lou Gehrig announced his retirement from baseball. And Mussell was there.
“Lou said how lucky he was and how good life had been to him,” Mussell recalled. “Then Babe Ruth came up to give him a hug and you could have heard a pin drop. There were tears running down everyone’s face. I was glad I went.”
Mussell’s grandson even wrote his college thesis on the historic incident and his grandfather’s experience.
“He got an A-minus,” Mussell says proudly.
Along with being an honorary lifetime Rotarian in Glenwood Springs, Mussell also started Rotary clubs in Aspen, Carbondale and Rifle and has attended nine international Rotary conventions.
But Rotary isn’t all he’s involved in.
Mussell has been a volunteer with Colorado Mountain College’s Senior Programs, serving on the advisory council of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) for several years. He also helped out with “The Gathering” senior lunch program, held every Monday in New Castle and on Wednesdays in Silt.
Mussell was a candidate for the Glenwood Post Humanitarian Service Award in 1997 and has served on New Castle’s Senior Housing Committee, which is still in the process of developing the town’s first senior housing facility.
“I want my name to be on the top of the list; that’s why I got on,” Mussell said with a laugh.
Mussell suffered a stroke last June and recently sold his house and moved into the Crossroads Assisted Living facility in Rifle.
“I was having a little trouble walking and getting along,” Mussell said. “But everything’s fine. It’s nice here. They give you three meals a day and clean your room for you.”
“Harry W. Mussell Day” will be officially proclaimed, and Mussell will be honored at noon on Friday at the Fireside Inn restaurant in Glenwood Springs.
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