J. Lloyd "Chopper" Mutter, former president of Doerr Furniture Inc. and a lifelong Louisianian known for his love of the outdoors, died Wednesday at East Jefferson General Hospital. He was 90.
He had been battling complications from Parkinson's disease.
Raised in Covington, Mutter started working at Doerr Furniture after first meeting Charles Doerr Sr., the founder of the New Orleans furniture company, and his daughter, Marilyn Doerr, who would become Mutter's wife.
He rose from furniture mover to manager and eventually president of the company, a position he held for 37 years until he retired, his wife said.
The families met in the 1940s. Charles Doerr and his wife Gertrude had bought a home in Covington along the Tchefuncte River, and they hired Mutter and his brother as laborers to clear the land, Marilyn Mutter said.
"My husband came from across the river in a boat, and the minute I saw him I said to my two cousins, 'That's the boy I'm gonna marry,'" she said. "I didn't even know his name."
Mutter, who was 15 at the time, was attending St. Paul's School in Covington, where he would graduate with the class of 1946. His future wife was 13 at the time.
He started working for the family's store, which had been established in 1938 in Faubourg Marigny. He began by unloading furniture and mattresses during the summers.
He became a full-time employee after graduation. The couple got married in 1949 and had five children, all of whom would go on to work at Doerr Furniture.
Mutter bought the store from the Doerr family in 1978.
His oldest son, Julian Mutter, succeeded him when he retired as president and general manager, and stayed at the helm until 2015, when his cousin Shane Mutter took over. David Mutter, another of the sons, is slated to become president this year.
"It was very family-oriented," Julian Mutter said of the business. "At one time if you walked into Doerr Furniture, you'd see Mom, Dad and all five kids working."
Julian Mutter said he and siblings credit their father for instilling an "incredible work ethic." He remembered him as a "real action person" who spent evenings keeping the streets litter-free in Metairie, where he lived for 70 years.
He was so known for his efficiency that a neighborhood friend gave him the nickname "the Chopper," because Mutter was known as someone who would "chop, chop, chop, take care of it," his son said. The nickname also stuck because the senior Mutter was fond of Chopsley, a hooded sidekick of "Morgus the Magnificent," star of a popular show on WWL-TV.
Mutter had several boats and would frequently go frogging, fishing and geese hunting in the wetlands. The family vacationed in Destin, Florida.
Mutter also loved race cars and attended the Indianapolis 500 automobile race for 60 years, the family said.
Besides his wife, survivors include four sons, Julian, David, Gary and Randell Mutter; a daughter, Melanie Giglio; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, 105 Bonnabel Blvd., Metairie. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.