SISTER FRANCES ANN CARR, ONE OF THE LAST THREE SHAKERS
She arrived at the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester, Me., in 1937 as a 10-year-old, and brought a measure of mischief to the regimented life there: She drew other girls into tiny rebellions, like snatching a pail of maple sugar candy from a workshop, and even spit in one of her caregivers’ teacups after being punished for passing notes with a friend.
But by the time Sister Frances Ann Carr died of cancer on Monday at 89, she had become a pillar of the Shaker faith, one of three members in the lone active village of the Christian religion whose members have lived communally in the United States since the late 1700s.
“In the recent decades, Sister Frances has been a kind of image for the power of this tradition,” said Stephen J. Stein, a professor emeritus at Indiana University who has written about the history of American Shakers and paid many visits to Sabbathday Lake. “She lived it, and was the spiritual center for many, many people who came and visited, and for the community that just shrank.”
Sister Frances’ death at the village, which was announced by the Shakers, leaves two surviving Shakers: Brother Arnold Hadd, 60, and Sister June Carpenter, 78.
The Shakers, a separatist religious group that practices celibacy, arrived in America in 1774 and established their first religious community in upstate New York in 1776. By the middle of the 19th century, the group had between 4,000 and 5,000 members, in villages that dotted the Northeast and even extended into parts of the Midwest.
The villages drew Americans in search of spiritual enlightenment and offered a home to children or families with nowhere else to go. They lived communally, although the genders were usually separated, and adults worked together to raise the village’s children.
They were a hardworking and innovative group that used technology (today they use cars and have put their teachings online), and they became known for their simple furniture. But the Shakers’ new recruits declined as American life became less agrarian and religious — and as the rise of social services gave poor children other options — and, of course, members themselves could not reproduce.
“There’s probably been no other Shaker in history that was such a good-will ambassador of the Shaker Church as Sister Frances,” said Michael Graham, the director of the museum and library there.
Evangeline Annie Carr was born to a poor family in Lewiston, Me., in March 1927, and was sent by her ailing mother to live at Sabbathday Lake, following some of her older siblings, where she took the name Frances Ann. Although her siblings left the village, she decided, at 16, to sign the Shaker Covenant and commit herself to the group.
In 1985 she wrote a book, “Shaker Your Plate: Of Shaker Cooks and Cooking.” Ten years year later she wrote another volume about her childhood, “Growing Up Shaker.”
She is survived by many nieces and nephews and their children.
Sister Frances, like the other Shakers, always hoped new members would join the community and welcomed visitors. At one Sunday meeting two summers ago, she rose to her feet and beamed as she looked at between one and two dozen visitors.
“It is so gratifying to look around this room and see it filled with so many people,” she said. “You will always, always find a place of love here.”
SISTER FRANCES CARR, ONE OF THE LAST OF THREE SHAKERS
Updated 8:32 am, Tuesday, January 3, 2017
NEW GLOUCESTER, MAINE
Sister Frances Carr, one of the last three practicing Shakers, died Monday in Maine, according to an announcement posted on the Sabbathday Lake Shakers Village website, maineshakers.com
She was 89.
“It is our sad duty to relate that our dear Sister Frances passed away at 1:35 p.m. today after a brief battle with cancer,” the Shakers’ statement said.
“The end came swiftly and with dignity surrounded by the community and her nieces. We ask your prayers for her soul,” the statement continued.
The Shakers, formally named the United Society of Believeres in Christ’s Second Appearing, were once headquartered in the Capital Region in Colonie.
The Sabbath Lake Shaker Village is the last Shaker community. It is located in New Gloucester, Maine.
The Shakers are a Christian religious group founded in 18th century in England. They practice a celibate and communal lifestyle, pacifism, and their model of equality of the sexes, which they institutionalized in their society in the 1780s, the group’s website explains.
They are also known for their simple living, architecture, and furniture.
“She was very warm and loving,” said Wayne Smith, a former Shaker for about 25 years who left the village in 2006.
Smith was visiting Carr when she died.
“She was our mother away from home. Our second mother,” Smith said, adding that Carr often looked after young people.
“She was very strong, capable. She was the hostess of the community,” Smith recalled.
The surviving Shakers are Sister June Carpenter and Brother Arnold Hadd.
The visiting hours for Carr will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Shaker Village in the brick Dwelling House in New Gloucester. Funeral services will be held in the Dwelling House Chapel at 1 p.m. Saturday,
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice in Lewiston, Maine.
ACTOR WILLIAM CHRISTOPHER, ‘MASH’ CHAPLAIN
William Christopher, who played the unassuming U.S. Army chaplain, Father Mulcahy, struggling to bring spiritual comfort to an anarchic surgical unit during the Korean War on the long-running hit TV series “M*A*S*H,” died on Saturday. He was 84.
Christopher, who was diagnosed with cancer about 18 months ago, died in his bed at his home in Pasadena, California, according to his longtime New York-based agent, Robert Malcolm. The actor’s wife of nearly 60 years, Barbara Christopher, was with him at the time, Malcolm said.
Christopher landed his signature role of Father Francis Mulcahy on “M*A*S*H” after another actor played the part on the show’s pilot episode. He went on to portray the soft-spoken priest assigned to the fictional 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital for the duration of the series, which ran from 1972 to 1983 on the CBS network and continued to air in syndication for decades after.
Together with Alan Alda as Captain “Hawkeye” Pierce, Loretta Swit as Major Margaret “Hotlips” Houlihan and Jamie Farr as cross-dressing Corporal Maxwell Klinger, Christopher was among the only cast members to remain on the show for all 11 seasons.
Its 1983 finale drew 106 million viewers, making it the most-watched U.S. TV show to date.
In his portrayal of Father Mulcahy, a character originated in the 1970 film that inspired TV’s “M*A*S*H,” Christopher was a supporting player, but his role grew as the series went on.
After producers of the show decided to replace George Morgan, the actor originally cast as the chaplain, Christopher got a chance to audition for the part. Although he irked producers by ad-libbing lines in his tryout, he impressed them with his quirky performance, and they offered him the job, provided he followed the script.
As portrayed by Christopher, Mulcahy was a mild-mannered, sometimes timid presence amid the chaos of “meatball surgery” on troops wounded in the 1950-53 Korean War. The character resisted offering a religious hard-sell to the hard-boiled Army medical personnel and the wounded patients.
The Mulcahy character was Roman Catholic (Christopher actually was Methodist) but ministered to all faiths. Mulcahy affectionately referred to Hawkeye as “that crazy agnostic.” In one episode, Alda’s character instructs Mulcahy by radio how to perform an emergency tracheotomy on a wounded soldier under enemy fire.
“I liked the character. I liked Father Mulcahy. The character is pretty real to me,” Christopher told the Fayetteville Observer newspaper in North Carolina in 2011.
Christopher joined fellow “M*A*S*H” alumni Farr and Harry Morgan in the short-lived spin-off series “After MASH,” set in a veterans’ hospital, which aired in 1983 and 1984.
“I feel pretty lucky to be an actor with a job that lasted 11 years,” Christopher told the Patriot-News newspaper in Pennsylvania in 2009. “Actually, I extended that to 13 years because we did ‘After MASH.’ I was very happy to keep playing Mulcahy. Actors always expect that their job will end and then they are out of work. It’s a lot more fun to be working than to be out of work.”
Christopher was born on Oct. 20, 1932, in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois, and attended the same high school that also produced actors Charlton Heston, Rock Hudson, Ralph Bellamy, Bruce Dern and Ann-Margret. Christopher attended college in Connecticut before landing acting roles in New York.
He moved to California and landed recurring roles on 1960s TV shows including “Gomer Pyle: USMC” and “Hogan’s Heroes” and small roles in movies including 1968’s “With Six You Get Egg Roll” in which he appeared with future “M*A*S*H” co-star Farr.
In the 1990s, Farr and Christopher co-starred in a touring production of the play “The Odd Couple.”
Christopher married his wife, Barbara, in 1957. They had two children. He was active in the cause of autism awareness. He and his wife co-authored a book about raising an autistic son.
ALPHONSE MOUZON, JAZZ AND FUSION DRUMMER
Alphonse Mouzon, a powerful jazz drummer who made his greatest contributions with a funk backbeat, forging a standard for 1970s fusion, died on Dec. 25 at his home in the Granada Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles. He was 68.
The cause was cardiac arrest, his son Jean-Pierre Mouzon said. Alphonse Mouzon learned this fall that he had neuroendocrine cancer and used a crowdfunding platform to help pay for treatment.
Few other drummers were as integral to the development of fusion as Mr. Mouzon, who combined volcanic intensity with a brisk attunement to dynamic flow. He played in the first edition of Weather Report, and was a charter member of another defining jazz-rock band, the Eleventh House, led by the guitarist Larry Coryell.
Mr. Mouzon had a productive association with the pianist McCoy Tyner, playing in a volatile acoustic setting on albums like “Sahara” (1972) and “Song for My Lady” (1973). He also served as the propulsive engine on notable fusion albums by the keyboardist Herbie Hancock, the flutist Bobbi Humphrey and the guitarist Al Di Meola, among others.
Outside of jazz, Mr. Mouzon worked with major touring acts including Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder. The drummer John Bonham of Led Zeppelin acknowledged him as an influence.
As the leader of a disco group called Poussez, Mr. Mouzon also had several club hits in the late ’70s and early ’80s, including “Come On and Do It” and “Boogie With Me.” And his music proved irresistible to crate-digging hip-hop producers: “Funky Snakefoot,” the title track of his second album, provides the indelible opening drum fill for the Beastie Boys’ “Shake Your Rump.”
Alphonse Lee Mouzon was born on Nov. 21, 1948, in Charleston, S.C. He had little contact with his father, Flagner Mouzon, and was raised by his mother, the former Emma Washington, who worked as a cook.
He began banging on the drums as a child, and though he learned to play a number of other instruments, including trumpet and flute, it was as a drummer that he started working professionally, at 12.
Mr. Mouzon had early experience in rhythm and blues and pop, including a stint with Chubby Checker. He moved to New York at the urging of the alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, whom he had met at a jazz camp in Florida. He quickly found work with a society big band, the Ross Carnegie Orchestra; he also played in the band for the Burt Bacharach-Hal David Broadway musical “Promises, Promises.”
Mr. Mouzon played on a 1970 recording session by the saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter, who then brought him into Weather Report; he appeared on the band’s debut album, “Weather Report,” released in 1971.
But he found a more muscular platform with Mr. Coryell, whose album “Introducing the Eleventh House With Larry Coryell,” released in 1974, opens with a thunderous barrage of triplets on Mr. Mouzon’s toms and snare.
In addition to his son Jean-Pierre, Mr. Mouzon, who was divorced, is survived by another son, Alphonse Philippe Mouzon; a daughter, Emma Alexandra Mouzon; two sisters, Cherry Pickney and Elvina Jarvis; and two granddaughters.
Mr. Mouzon played straight-ahead jazz as well as fusion throughout his career, making a point of fluency in both styles. His most recent release, “Angel Face,” released in 2011, is a swinging combo outing with, among others, the pianist Kenny Barron. More recently, he joined Mr. Coryell in a reunion of the Eleventh House. The band’s album “Seven Secrets” was released in August.