Walter Joseph “Joe” Muller, III
June 14, 1934 – April 13, 2019
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Joe moved as a child with his family to Kansas City, Kansas, where his father had lined up a job in equipment sales. In the ninth grade at Shawnee Mission school, Joe got caught up in an altercation with a rival and landed a punch, which he adamantly denied, sending him and his broken thumb to a doctor’s office, where instead of a scolding he left with a new appreciation for the practice of medicine after the doctor asked, “So, who’d you hit?”
Joe earned his Eagle Scout rank, the youngest in his chapter to do so, and upon graduating from high school, he attended The University of Kansas, where he pledged Beta Theta Pi and earned a BA in English in 1956.
As many Midwesterners did, Joe’s parents set their sights on warmer climates, and in 1957 they relocated to Winter Park, Florida, charmed by its brick streets and chain of lakes. Later that year, on a sunny afternoon on Park Avenue, Joe caught a glimpse of Delle Davies, a beautiful, young math major at Rollins College, whose parents, also Midwestern transplants, happened to live around the corner from his.
In the Fall of 1957, Joe entered his first year at Emory University Medical School and never lost touch with Delle. On March 17, 1958, they married in Winter Park; in 1959, they gave birth to their first daughter, Allison; and in 1960, Joe completed his M.D. at Emory.
In 1960, the young family moved to Bethesda, Maryland, where Joe enrolled in a General Rotating Internship with the U.S. Navy. Later that year their first son, Allan Chandler, was born.
In 1962 Joe completed naval flight training school in Pensacola, Florida, and shortly after, as a newly appointed flight surgeon, he moved the family to Honolulu, Hawaii, where their second daughter Laura was born in 1963.
In 1965, having finished his duties with the Navy, Joe began his Residency in Psychiatry at Cornell Medical College, New York. In 1969, he was appointed Chief Resident and Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry at the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic in White Plains, New York. During these years in New York, the family formed important friendships that last to this day.
After completing his residency, Joe moved the family back to Winter Park and into their home on the lake where they would spend many wonderful decades.
On January 29, 1972, tragedy struck when Joe and Delle’s fourth child, Kristen Davies, died suddenly at the age of 14 months. The community embraced Joe, Delle, and the kids, as they moved through unprecedented sadness and grief.
A year to the day, on January 29, 1973, Joe looked on as Delle went into labor with her fifth child, Walter Joseph Muller, IV. “Joey” was born the next morning.
With his Psychiatry practice growing steadily in Winter Park, Joe dreamed of building a half-way house for troubled teens. In 1974, he realized this dream, founding La Amistad, a residential long-term treatment center for teens and young adults with schizophrenia. Joe was a pioneer in this field, and The La Amistad Foundation continues to serve the community to this day.
Joe loved to cook, spend time outdoors, hunt, host dinner parties, travel, and tell silly jokes, but most of all, he loved Delle, his wife of 61 years. He is preceded by his two younger siblings, Marjorie “Jorie” Mairs and Chandler R. Muller, and he is survived by Delle and his four children, Allison (Steven), Chandler (Alecia), Lolly (Brian), and Joey, as well as his ten grandchildren: Preston, Chandler, Brian, Annabelle, Patrick, Emerson, Jackson, Clayton, Will, and Toby; and three great-grandchildren, Prynn, Jackson, and Preston.
A Memorial Service will be held Friday, May 10 at 3:00 pm at All Saints Episcopal Church, Winter Park, Florida.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to La Amistad Foundation, at www.laamistad.org or please call Marlene Sands at 407-497-4424 for more information.