William "Buck" Mugford

  • Born: January 27, 1921
  • Died: February 4, 2017
  • Location: Chelsea, Massachusetts

Smith Funeral Home

125 Washington Avenue
Chelsea, MA 02150

Tel. (617) 889-1177

Tribute & Message From The Family

MUGFORD, William C., "Buck"- Of Chelsea, February 4th. Devoted husband of the late Phyllis (Gillette). An extremely proud Marine who fiercely defended our country during the WWII Pacific Campaign in battles at Siapan, Tinian, and the most treacherous, Iwo Jima—William "Buck" Mugford passed away peacefully on February 4th. He was 96. Buck, as he was known to most of his friends, was born in Chelsea in 1921. He was a devoted son to his father, Ben, and his mother, Florence, and a steadfast brother to his other five. Attending Chelsea High School, he was an outstanding athlete, lettering in several sports, but showing his tremendous talent on the football field, where he helped lead his senior year team, as a bruising fullback and excellent punter, to the state championship in 1939. He would never lose his attachment to those many classmates from that same year.

Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Buck felt it necessary to enlist in the Marine Corp. to help do his part to defend our nation. At this same time, he married the love of his life, Phyllis Gillette. Intelligently moving up through the ranks, he became a highly respected drill instructor, teaching young men the techniques that would perhaps allow them to survive the terrible battles to come.
He was not one to stay at home while so many other brave men went to serve over seas. So he volunteered to go to fight in some of the most devastating battles of the war.

Miraculously, he returned to Phyllis in Chelsea and started a family in 1946. Although a somewhat private man, he would later attribute his war time service as being life altering.

Soon after, he found his niche in ironwork and would devote his tireless energy to it for forty years. During this time, he was an excellent teacher, helping young apprentices to finally hone their ironworking craft. His great love was bridge building, and throughout his superintendent tenure, he worked on constructing and repairing many bridges around Massachusetts and out of state. The more challenging the project, the more he enjoyed it.

He also dutifully met the challenges of those less fortunate than he, using his talents as an all around Mr. Fixit to repair broken appliances and give them to needy families in the neighborhood.

After retiring, he and Phyllis devoted time and energy to various political causes and especially to keeping bonded the 39ers organization that brought together his high school senior class members for many years. Another highlight of his retirement was his working at Chelsea's Sokolowski school as a mentor to young children and as a Mr. Fixit, earning him the moniker "Mr. Buck," out of respect for his care and compassion for the hundreds of children he motivated to achieve success.

His later years were richly filled with the camaraderie he found with many friends who could get together and solve the world's problems. These friends stayed true to him until the end. At this same time, he would also visit Arizona and spend time with his son Robert and wife Sandy, often venturing to Sedona, one of his most favorite places. This wonderful father, husband, and friend will be truly missed.

A celebration of his life will be held in the Smith Funeral Home, 125 Washington Avenue, Chelsea on Friday, Februry 10th at 10:30 AM with the Rev. Thomas Coots, who presided over his wife Phyllis' funeral in 1992 officiating. Visitation with the family begining at 9 AM. Committal Services will be private.