We are sad to report that Richard A. Mulford of Malvern, a literal “fixture” in the local engineering community, passed away peacefully on February 19, 2020 at the age of 89. He was born in Philadelphia, the eldest son of William A. and Jeanne Roy Mulford.
After what he described as a “difficult start” in his college career, Dick decided to buckle down and excelled academically. In 1952 he earned a Bachelors of Science degree with a certificate of distinction in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and continued on to obtain his Master’s Degree from Penn in 1957. He continued his educational pursuits later in his career and graduated from the Tuck Executive Program at Dartmouth College in 1985. He spent his entire career as an engineer with the Philadelphia Electric Company, retiring in 1990 after 38 years at the utility. He was the lead engineer and project manager in planning and building the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant.
Dick was an active and avid volunteer in professional societies which included the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers as well as the Engineers’ Club. He served his alma mater as an alumni volunteer for the Office of Development for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and received the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Award of Merit, the highest honor given to an alumnus, for his meritorious and diligent service. He earned many other honors and awards, including the George Washington Medal from the Engineers’ Club, the Presidential Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Philadelphia Section, and the D. Robert Yarnall Award from the University of Pennsylvania. He was also inducted into the Pennsylvania Society of Engineers President’s Dedicated Service Award Hall of Fame.
But Dick’s academic and engineering success were only part of his story. His faith in God and devotion to serving others truly defined him. He selflessly donated to charitable causes and organizations and strongly supported his local ward in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He enjoyed singing in the church choir, taking friends and family to dinner (his treat), and listening to classical music. His advice for success in life, which he lived by, “Be totally honest because if you make something up it will always come back to you; give 110% to everything you do; and keep a bright outlook—always be positive.” His work ethic, devotion to God, and service to others is singular and unmatched. He made great efforts to be involved in programs that made scholarships available to engineering students, to help those who were in the “same shoes as I was”, as he described it.
While Dick retired from his position at Peco, he didn’t stop working, and became the volunteer Executive Director of the Engineers’ Club, a position he held for over sixteen years. Working with two other devoted volunteers, the team managed to bring the Club back from some financial and organizational difficulties and reinvigorate it to continue its service to the engineering community. He was a leader in the efforts to promote Delaware Valley Engineers Week for many years and helped established a scholarship fund to award funds to worthy students during Engineers Week. He gave of himself outside of the engineering “umbrella” as well, as a volunteer serving the sick and afflicted at Paoli Hospital. During his 15 years of service at the Hospital, he committed over 13,000 hours to serving patients and blessing their lives with his warm smile and bright countenance. Doctors, nurses and hospital staff all know him well.
Dick is survived by his two sisters; Jeanne Fox and Carole Haller, and seven nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Florence Albrecht. Memorial donations may be made in his memory to the Church Farm School, CFS Development Office, 1001 E. Lincoln Highway, Exton, PA 19341.
A Life Celebration service was conducted for Dick on February 22 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Audubon. The Engineers’ Club is working on scheduling a second memorial event in his honor and information will be provided when it is available.