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Centre County man killed in tree cutting accident was active in community, including fire company

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The loss of a loved one can take a physical and emotional toll on you. Grief can produce stress in your body. The process can be different for everyone, and people may even experience “complicated grief." Learn more here.

A local township is mourning the loss of a lifetime volunteer fireman, active community member and respected grandfather.

Dale Musser, an 81-year-old Penn Township resident, died Friday evening while cutting trees for firewood, according to Centre County Coroner Scott Sayers. Musser was pronounced dead at the scene, and his death — the result of blunt force trauma — was ruled accidental.

Born in Spring Mills in 1938, Musser was a graduate of Penns Valley High School. According to his obituary, Musser worked as a landscaper at Penn State for 34 years. After retiring, he worked with Dana Boob Surveying and Gary Horner Construction. When not working, Musser was a member of the Gregg Township Fire Company for 60 years, a member of Central District Fireman’s Association and a board member of the Gregg Township Water Authority.

“It is with great sorrow that we tell you we have lost one of our own,” the fire company wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday.

Musser, known as the company’s “fry guy,” helped cook over 400 pounds of potatoes for its annual carnival earlier this month and is remembered for his participation in the company.

“When we would discuss something at a meeting, we could always count on Muss to give us his two cents and a story to go with it,” said the Facebook post. “We sure will miss those stories.”

Musser is survived by his wife, daughter, son, two grandsons, six great-grandchildren and four siblings, according to his obituary.

“He enjoyed spending time with family and being in the woods,” the obituary said. “Dale had a dream to build a cabin for nearly 20 years, since the time he purchased his woodland, and he never gave up on his dream.”

Spending every Sunday and every bit of free time building the cabin, Musser turned his dream into a reality with its completion in 1988.

“The Musser cabin has become a meeting place for the family to come together every Sunday and holidays for supper and is tradition Dale was very proud of,” reads his obituary. “Dale enjoyed spending time with his family and had a special bond with each of them.”

When not spending time with his family, Musser’s favorite activity — according to his obituary — was “without a doubt cutting firewood.”

“He had the responsibility to bring in firewood as a young kid, since age 8,” said the obituary. “He always prided himself on burning wood to stay warm and said he wouldn’t even consider any other means of heat.”

Always dropping what he was doing to help someone in need, Musser’s obituary describes him as “respected and looked to by many of his fellow firemen and family for his sound advice.”

“He will be deeply missed by friends and family, and there are no words to fill the void he has left in so many people’s lives,” the obituary said.

Visitation for family and friends will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Steven R. Neff Funeral Home in Millheim. The funeral will be held Thursday at 10 a.m. Contributions in his memory can be made to the Gregg Township Fire Company in Spring Mills.

Marley Parish reports on local government for the Centre Daily Times. She grew up in Slippery Rock and graduated from Allegheny College.
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