Obituary : Muriel A. Lear
Muriel Andrade Lear died on August 2 after a long illness. Muriel was born at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital on Dec. 26, 1927; she lived in Vineyard Haven with her mother until she graduated from the Vineyard Haven Elementary School.
After graduation, she and her mother moved to New Bedford, where she was introduced to Joe Louis (heavyweight boxing champion known as the "Brown Bomber") and to the music of the big bands of that era. Muriel and Joe began seeing each other and became engaged to be married. She met and socialized with Joe Louis's friends and colleagues, such as Bud Abbott, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Jeff Chandler, Louis Armstrong, and Eddie Heywood.
Muriel loved music, and it was at this time in the early 1940s that she met such all-time jazz greats as Count Basie and Duke Ellington, both of whom regarded her as a daughter. Additionally, Duke Ellington would send her autographed first copies of his new record albums. Muriel's life was always full of surprises: she was "discovered" by an agent and signed on with a modeling agency to model hats, which led to her appearance in a newsreel. Her husband-to-be, Ulysses Lear, saw this newsreel at a theater and knew he had found the love of his life.
Muriel's life changed dramatically in 1950 when she became a Jehovah's Witness and broke off her engagement to Joe Louis and subsequently met and married Ulysses Lear. Muriel was deeply committed to her religion and even witnessed to the nurses during her final months in a rehab facility.
Ulysses has many wonderful memories of their years together, such as the time when Eddie Heywood played and sang "Canadian Sunset" at her birthday party. Muriel was an avid reader who had a curiosity about many subjects. She will be sorely missed as a witty conversationalist and a wonderful companion. She leaves behind her loving husband, Ulysses Lear, and her mother, Evelyn DeLoach.
A service will be held on Saturday, August 29, at 1:30 pm at the Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall in West Tisbury.