James L. Mutchler Jr., 93, of Runnemede, a longtime oil-business owner who devoted more than 40 years to a Boy Scout troop and helped in many community fund-raisers, died of pneumonia Thursday, May 20, at home.
Though he lived in Montana for only his first three years, Mr. Mutchler remained an outdoorsman the rest of his life.
In the early 1940s, a few years after graduating from high school, he started working with Runnemede Boy Scout Troop 117.
Mr. Mutchler soon became scoutmaster, teaching scouts how to tie knots and build bridges and rafts. Though balancing two jobs - working at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and starting an oil business - he spent almost every weekend with the troop.
Once his Timbercreek Oil Co. in Runnemede had a solid clientele, he quit his shipyard job and focused on his growing business. He sold home-heating oil and during summers serviced heaters, his wife, Eleanor, said.
A jokester and storyteller, Mr. Mutchler was popular among his scouts, said George Taninatz, former president of the Runnemede Scouting Committee.
If Mr. Mutchler was late for a camping trip, Taninatz said, he was known to set up a sleeping bag quietly in the middle of the night and spook everyone when they woke up.
"He would come out like a beaver out of the ground," Taninatz said.
In 1958, Mr. Mutchler received the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award for outstanding service to youths.
For 55 years, he was a member of the Runnemede Lions Club, serving as president for two years in the 1980s.
"He was tireless in his efforts," former member Frank Thatcher said.
Mr. Mutchler's family settled in Blackwood after moving from Montana. He attended Woodbury High School but graduated from Haddon Heights High in 1936.
In 1945, Mr. Mutchler married Eleanor Price, a friend of his sister Emma's. The couple moved to Runnemede.
Mr. Mutchler, who went blind in one eye when he was 30, had to retire in 1994 when he lost sight in the other eye, his wife said.
Mr. Mutchler's son Scott took over the company but sold it two years ago.
In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Mutchler is survived by three grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and three sisters. His son John died in 1980.
The funeral was Monday, May 24. Burial was in Hillcrest Memorial Park, Hurffville.