Marcelina "Marcy" Arroues Mulville, one of the founders of the Pacific Symphony and a major force behind classical music in Orange County, died Monday of cancer. She was 90.
She helped form the Symphony Assn. of Orange County in 1962 to create and promote a home-grown professional orchestra, but the group disbanded in 1971 because of financial problems.
She renewed her effort in 1978 as a charter board member of the Pacific Symphony. The orchestra debuted that year at Cal State Fullerton, which provided financial support.
Orange County's only full-time professional orchestra, the Pacific has become the third-largest in California in terms of budget size, after the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony.
Mulville was involved in many aspects of the orchestra, from raising money to finding volunteers. She was named chairman emeritus in 1992, and was an active guild member until her death. In 1999, the orchestra created the Marcy Arroues Mulville Society, comprising donors who give $100,000 or more.
"Marcy believed in the orchestra when it wasn't fashionable to believe in the orchestra," said Louis G. Spisto, executive director of the Pacific from 1987 to 1997. "She believed in it when it was struggling to be accepted at the Performing Arts Center, and was very instrumental in helping it establish a level of credibility among the leadership of the county."
"Even as she fought this severe battle with cancer, she was thankful for all that God had given her," said Carl St.Clair, Pacific Symphony music director. "She had, even in her last days, many thoughts and ideas about the orchestra and its brilliant future. She was, and will always remain, the Pacific Symphony's guardian angel."
"She built the Pacific Symphony almost single-handedly into the splendid thing it is today," said Elaine Redfield, a founder of the Philharmonic Society of Orange County and the Orange County Performing Arts Center. "She had all the right impulses and all the right ways of doing the right things. She was just a wonderful person."
"Marcy was a remarkable person because of her vision and her persistence," said Douglas K. Freeman, Pacific Symphony board chairman. "She not only saw things this county was capable of doing, she insisted on it getting done."
Mulville was born Jan. 4, 1911, one of four children of a French father and a Basque mother who had settled in Fullerton, where they had a citrus ranch, according to a Pacific Symphony spokeswoman.
She studied violin in high school and at USC. After graduating, she taught junior high school for 15 years. Upon the death of her father in 1946, she took over management of the family ranch until she sold it in 1960. During that time, she became a board member of the La Habra Citrus Assn., a position she held for five years.
She was married for more than 25 years to Maurice Mulville, a general surgeon who worked at St. Jude Medical Center, where he died in 1995. They had no children, although he had two daughters by a previous marriage.
In addition to her work with the Pacific Symphony, her accomplishments include 35 years as a choir director for St. Mary's Church in Fullerton. She was the 1962 Fullerton Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year, the 1975 recipient of the Southern California Beautiful Activist Award and winner of the 1982 North County YWCA Volunteer Community Service Award.
She was active in the Assistance League of Fullerton, founder and president of Las Companas of Orange County, and a member of the Disneyland Award Committee.
She also was a board member of the Orange County Performing Arts Center from 1982 to 1989.
Survivors include her sister, Josephine Voorhees; a niece, Charleen Dunn of Denver; and three nephews, Dr. William Voorhees of Sea Ranch, Calif., the Rev. Neville Arroues of Placerville, Calif., and the Rev. LeRoi Arroues of Boise, Idaho.
A funeral Mass will be said Saturday at 10 a.m. at St. Angela Merici Catholic Church, 585 Walnut St., Brea. The family suggests donations to the Pacific Symphony or St. Jude Hospital Foundation of Fullerton.