Alexander Frederick “Sandy” Muir, 91

Posted on April 20, 2013

Alexander Frederick “Sandy” Muir, 91, died March 17, 2013, at Meadow Glen Assisted Living in Leesburg, Va..  He had been ill for an extended time.
Known to all his friends as “Sandy,” he had resided in Bluffton from 1987 until early 2013, returning to Virginia in March of this year 2013.
He was born in Ellettsville, Ind., and graduated from Ellettsville High School.  He attended Indiana University where he received his bachelor of arts degree in journalism, completing his studies in 1942. While at IU, he worked on and became editor of the Indiana Daily Student, the university’s daily newspaper, and was a member and president of the Board of Axons, the student governing body; the honorary journalistic fraternity, Sigma Delta Chi; and was vice president of Delta Tau Delta, a social fraternity.
For a short period in 1942 he was night manager of the United Press International (UPI) office in Indianapolis, after which he enlisted in the U.S. Army Signal Corps and was subsequently assigned to the War Department Communication Center at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Following his discharge from military service, he accepted a position as a communications specialist with the Department of the Army Signal Corps in Washington.  For the next 32 years, until his retirement in 1973, he served in various capacities, including serving as the civilian communication project officer of the Army’s Nike Guided Missile Program. Later, during the Cold War, he was assigned to the White House staff to assist in the development of survivable communication systems for use in the event the executive and congressional branches of government were forced to function outside the Washington area. As a final assignment, he was transferred to the Department of the Defense Communications Agency to serve as the civilian communication officer responsible for the design, engineering and installation of the government’s most extensive voice communications system known as Autovon.
While living in Falls Church, Va., he was a Cubmaster and Scoutmaster for more than 10 years.  Subsequently, he and his wife, the late Helen Elizabeth Muir, moved their family of three children to a small farm in the town of Hillsboro, Va., where, as a family project, they initiated a program of breeding Nubian dairy goats.  The program proved successful and eventually, at what became known as Muirhill Farm, bred the National Champion Nubian doe and National Champion milking herd for three straight years. 
While living in Hillsboro, he served on its town council and later as its mayor.  He also served as president of the 4-H Fair Board in Loudoun County, Va.
In 1987, he and his wife decided to return to Indiana.  They purchased a small farm north of Bluffton, but the following year Helen died of cancer.  Eventually he met and married Dorothea Neuhauser Flaningam, the widow of the late mayor of Bluffton, John Flaningam.  For many years together they shared in community and church volunteer activities.  As a member of First United Methodist Church, Sandy served for a number of years as a Sunday school teacher and on several committees.  He was a member of the Parlor City Golf and Country Club where he was an avid golfer.  He also was an active IU alumni and follower of IU basketball.
His beloved wife Dorothea passed away in October of 2012.
He is survived by a brother-in-law, Dr. William Rossman of Charleston, W.Va.; three children, Michael Alexander Muir, Rachel Claire Muir and Marybeth Muir, all of whom reside in Virginia; and by six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He is also survived by stepchildren Dr. J. P. Flaningam of Alameda, Calif., and Ann Salscheider of Bluffton, and their eight grandchildren.
Funeral services were held at Hall’s Funeral Home at Purcellville, Va., on March 22. A graveside service was held at Hillsboro Cemetery in Hillsboro, Va,, where Sandy was buried side-by-side with his first wife, Helen Elizabeth, who died on June 3, 1989.
A memorial service will held at the Thoma/Rich, Chaney & Lemler Funeral Home, 308 W. Washington St., Bluffton, Indiana with services beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 4, and conducted by the Reverend Greg Rittenhouse of the First United Methodist Church.  A reception will be held at the church across the street at 325 W. Washington St. beginning at noon.  All family, friends and well-wishers are welcome to both events.
Memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church, 325 W. Washington St., Bluffton, IN  46714.
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