Louis A. Potter, 94, a retired organist and choral director at the Calvary United Methodist Church, a founder and director of the old Washington Choral Society, and a teacher and composer of music, died of congestive heart failure Jan. 3 at the Carriage Hill nursing home in Silver Spring.
Mr. Potter was born in Beaufort, N.C., and raised in Washington. He first became a church organist at the age of 12 and he gave his first public piano recital at the age of 13. He graduated from Eastern High School and the old Von Unschuld University of Music here.
Over the years Mr. Potter directed numerous choral groups, often leading them in concert with the National Symphony Orchestra, and he also coached individual singers. He played at the White House as an accompanist to other artists. His compositions include "In Memoriam," which he performed at the memorial service for President Warren G. Harding in 1923. He was a fellow of the American Guild of Organists and a former dean of its Washington chapter.
In 1910, Mr. Potter became the organist at the Calvary Baptist Church and remained there until 1923. For the next two years he was at the Epworth United Methodist Church. From 1925 to 1928 he served a church in Charleston, W.Va.
He then began his long association with Calvary United Methodist Church. He was its organist from 1928 to 1946. He spent the next three years at the Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church and the years from 1949 to 1954 at a church in Winston-Salem, N.C. He returned to Calvary United in 1954 and remained there until retiring about 1974.
Mr. Potter gave private lessons in piano and organ until about 10 years ago. In addition, he taught at Hood College in Frederick, Md., in the early 1930s, at the Landon School for Boys in the 1940s, and at American University from 1946 to 1949.
In 1930, Mr. Potter founded the Washington Choral Society, a predecessor of the Cathedral and Choral Society. He was its director until 1948.
He was an honorary member of the Civitan Club and the Friday Morning Music Club.
His first wife, the former Ruby Jones, whom he married in 1910, died in 1969.
Survivors include his wife, the former Sally West of Washington; three children by his first marriage, Dorothy Potter Jackson of Tryon, N.C., Louis A. Potter Jr. of East Lansing, Mich., and Thomas Van Potter of Hingham, Mass.; nine grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.