Ernie Muehlmatt remembered as among the great carvers

ernie carver

Ernest F. “Ernie” Muehlmatt, 88, of Salisbury, one of the region’s most prominent wood carvers, died at home on Feb. 5.

Muehlmatt used to say he never worked a day in his life because he did what he loved: carving. In the late 1970s he became one of the nation’s top carvers, winning Best in World at the Ward World Championship Carving Competition three times.

Some of his works are on permanent display at the Ward Museum. He loved teaching others to carve, and taught carving seminars all over the country.

He wrote and co-authored several books, and wrote numerous articles for “Wildfowl Carving Magazine.” He is known for his many carving innovations, including burning for color and one piece carvings.

Born in Ridley Park, Pa., he was the son of the late Ernest and Mary Muehlmatt.

During World War II, Ernie enlisted in the Army and was sent to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and then to the Aleutian Islands. After his discharge, he attended the Advertising and Art League in Philadelphia.

In 1954, Ernie joined his brother in the family’s floral business. A gift of a bird carving introduced him to carving and changed his life forever. He started carving full time and opened a small shop on the homestead.

Drawing was one of Ernie’s favorite hobbies when he wasn’t carving. He loved drawing pencil portraits for family and friends. Some of his work is shown in The Bagel Bakery in Salisbury, where he drew portraits of all the regular customers, especially the Breakfast Club. He began every morning there with a cup of coffee and a sweet.

He is survived by his loving wife, Kathy Boyle, sons Eric, of Warwick, RI, and, Jeffrey (Carolyn) of Fawn Grove, PA, and stepson, Christopher Hofmann (Rachel) of Arlington, VA. He is also survived by a brother Theodore (Marjorie) of Media, PA. A sister, Mary Worrilow, preceded him in death.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Ward Museum, 909 S. Schumaker Dr, Salisbury, MD 21804; MAC, Inc., Senior Center, 909 Progress Dr, Suite 100, Salisbury, MD 21804; or Coastal Hospice, PO Box 1733, Salisbury, MD, 21802.

A Celebration of Ernie’s Life will be held on February 18, 2016, 1:00 PM at the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, 909 S Schumaker Dr., Salisbury, MD 21804.


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