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In Memory of Guy Mulford, April 4, 1958 - Jan. 1, 2001
Vol. 7, No. 1 January 2001
Archive Edition
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mourns Guy Mulford

The Bellingham music community and the Sheehan-Dingée household are mourning the New Year's Day death of one of Bellingham's most talented and beloved musicians, Guy L. Mulford.

Mulford, 42, died of an apparent heart attack in his Nooksack, Wash., apartment.

photo of Guy 1996

Made of equal parts grizzly bear, teddy bear and leprechaun, Guy excelled at the violin, viola, guitar, mandolin, piano and organ and was especially fond of beer, vodka, puns, gags, gift-giving, crushing hugs, Irish stubbornness and love.

photo of Guy in june 1994

He had a heart of gold that was literally - medically diagnosed - as too big for this earth.

He played music from that spot deep within. With his trademark black derby and a loud Hawaiian shirt, Guy bowed, plucked, slapped and virtually pummeled his delicate wooden violin while moving his huge body to the sweet, undulating rhythms that came from his fiddle.

"He had a verbal wit as well as a musical wit," says longtime friend and musical partner Chuck Dingée, who played music with Guy for 20 years.

Guy had appeared on several Bellingham-area stages in December with the Haole Boys, a mellofolkcountryspacerock band formed in 1993 with Chuck. Chuck and Guy were known as Foot Free and Fancy Loose in the 1980s. In recent years Guy performed solo and had also played violin and keyboards with the Been'er Brothers, the Suits and with James Taylor, Bellingham's singing painter.

photo of haole boys 2000
The last performance of the Haole Boys, December 2000, at a benefit for the Sean Humphrey House.

He occasionally sat in with other bands, like the Walrus, Bellingham's Beatles band. If you were watching Seattle-area television on primary election night in September 2000, you might have seen and heard the Walrus with Guy's screaming violin at the victory party of U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell.

Guy 1996

Asked the difference between a fiddle player and a violinist, he quipped: "A fiddle player gets free beers and a violin player gets paid."

He often formed new bands, as he did when he visited old friends in Alaska in 1999 with Curtis Chamberlain, a friend from Oregon who makes music on the saw.

photo of Guy

Until the last few years when his health started to decline, Guy always had a "day job." He worked for many years as a commercial truck driver and manager of the tool room at the Haskell Corp. in Bellingham. He had previously worked as a fisher in Alaska. In the last three years, he worked at the Sean Humphrey House and at Frank's Pawn Shop in Bellingham. He also sold vacuum cleaners for a time.

Guy's musical career began at a young age. The youngest of six children of Guy Steven and Elsie Anne (Wilson) Smith, Guy was born into a family of fiddle-players from the Seattle area.

After his mother died when he was only 8 (his father died when Guy was 3), Guy and his brothers and sisters were sent to live with various relatives. About two years later, Ken and Marcia Mulford took all six Smith kids as foster children and Guy was reunited with his siblings.

Guy was classically trained and performed with the Seattle Youth Symphony in the 1970s before moving to Bellingham in 1974 at age 16.

Guy was destined to be a traveling minstrel. He ran away from the Mulford home at 16, traveled to Florida for a few winters, and he later joined a band of gypsies who traveled the Pacific Northwest circus circuit.

Two lips on Guy's organ

Guy was a master of the pun, especially the risque ones: "Want to see my 40-pound organ?" They were all groaners.

Known as "the other husband" of Sheehan World publisher Kathy Sheehan, Guy helped newlyweds Chuck and Kathy drive a 28-foot U-Haul from Philadelphia to Bellingham in 1994. On her honeymoon with the Haole Boys, Kathy often asked people to take a picture of her with her husband, Chuck, and her other husband, Guy.

Guy is survived by his sisters Jana and Jo Ellen; brothers, Kelly, Mike, and Steven; several nieces and nephews; and hundreds of friends in Bellingham.

Guy & Chuck at Chuck's wedding

A memorial service was held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 6 at the Community Baptist Church, 810 S. Samish Way in Bellingham.

A celebration of his life was also held at 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 7 at the Wild Buffalo in Bellingham. Most of the Bellingham area musicians played.

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