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RIP to Emerson DeFo...
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RIP to Emerson DeFord

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Yulia Berry
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 25
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We mourn the loss of Emerson DeFord, Master flutemaker, the founder of The E.L. DeFord Flute and Piccolo Co., The Emerson Musical Instrument Co. and Custom Woodwinds Inc.


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December 11, 1928 - May 9, 2022



Emerson "Em" Leo DeFord, 93, of Elkhart, passed away peacefully and in the comfort of his home, surrounded by his family on Monday, May 9, 2022.

He was born on Dec. 11, 1928, in Mishawaka to the late Russell DeFord and Ruth (Sheetz) DeFord. Emerson was a 1947 graduate of Jimtown High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1948 and served during the Korean Conflict until his honorable discharge in 1952. He married Pauline O. Sanders on June 12, 1976.

Surviving are his wife of 46 years and five children, Steven (Melissa) DeFord, Mark (Tina) DeFord, Laura (Kevin) Koon, Sherry (Patrick) Lee and Christine Bertrem, as well as 13 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. In addition to his parents, son Dean DeFord and brother William "Bill" Lester preceded him in death.

Emerson was a master craftsman in the flute manufacturing industry, a business leader, the founder of The E.L. DeFord Flute and Piccolo Co., The Emerson Musical Instrument Co. and Custom Woodwinds Inc. He was well known as an adviser and consultant to the flute industry as well as an authority on flute design. Emerson designed many flutes for the handicapped players and was proud of his most recent flute design.

He donated flutes to many talented area musicians. He was still working into his 90s.

Emerson DeFord was a member of VFW, American Legion, DAV and the Moose. Emerson was a Free Mason and a Shriner.




Yulia Berry, Founder and Director of The Babel Flute