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Theodore Mullen
Theodore Mullen
Theodore Mullen
Theodore Mullen
Theodore Mullen
Theodore Mullen

Obituary of Theodore "Ted" Mullen

Theodore (Ted) Mullen’s life journey of 87 years, 10 months and 9 days ended, after a very brief illness, on Monday, May 24, 2021, at the Guthrie Hospital in Sayre, PA with family by his side and in the thoughts of others who could not be with him. On that day he was reunited with his beloved Mary Jane Tyler Mullen who left him to enter her heavenly home in December 2004. Family and friends are invited to a celebration of life to be held at 11:00 am on Saturday, June 19 at the United Church of Phelps officiated by Reverend Ellen Donnan. A graveside service for family will be held at a later date. For those unable to attend, Ted’s service will be live streamed on YouTube. Go to YouTube website and enter United Church of Phelps in the search bar to watch the service. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Phelps-Clifton Springs Community Theatre, 1554 Route 488, Clifton Springs, New York 14432. Born July 15, 1933, Ted was one of 14 children born to Earl W. and Terresa Wooster Mullen. He was raised on a farm on Mullen Road, Stafford, NY. A graduate of the Batavia High School Class of 1951, he received his BS from Cornell University in 1955, after which he served his country in the US Army from 1955–1957. Returning to Cornell University he was awarded his first Masters Degree in Science in 1960 and in 1966 a second Masters Degree was earned from Clarkson University. In July 1958 Ted and Jane were wed and started their life together. Mr. Mullen or the Mullen Man, as he was known by thousands of students, had a proud teaching career that spanned over 60 years. After teaching briefly in Troupsburg, NY and Sodus, NY, Ted and Jane moved to Phelps, NY where Ted taught at Phelps High School, moving to the newly constructed Midlakes High School in 1970. After retiring from Midlakes in 1989 he continued to teach at DeSales High School in Geneva, NY until its closing and then Tyburn Academy in Auburn NY. Currently he was working with students at the Covenant Love Community School in Freeville, NY, where he was residing with his daughter Mary, and her family. For many years he was an adjunct professor at Finger Lakes Community College. Ted was recognized for his years of teaching and community service in 2018 by being named a Midlakes High School Honorary Graduate of Distinction. In the 54 years that Ted lived in Phelps he was involved in many aspects of the community. The Phelps Historical Society and Sauerkraut Festival Committee benefited from his participation. An active member of the Methodist Church and then the United Church of Phelps, Ted and his wife ran the Youth Fellowship program for many years. At one time or another, he served on almost every possible church committee, often taking on the chairmanship of these committees. One of these chairmanships helped to bring a Vietnamese Refuge family to the United States. He was proud of being a founder of the Phelps Recycle Center long before recycling became popular. Ted was interwoven in the fabric of Midlakes High School. For many years he served as advisor to the Ski Club, Junior Class (where he would always be found at Friday night football games or at every basketball game in the Refreshment Stand helping to build the coffers of the class), Future Farmers of America, Midlakes Reflections yearbook, and American Field Service, helping to bring many international students to the Phelps-Clifton Springs Central School District. He and his family hosted students, Polo from Uruguay in 1974-75 and Gus from Argentina in 1985-86, as well as Chinese teacher Bo Yin in 1989-90. Serving as the Chairman of the Science Department, Ted and Jane also travelled on many Senior Class trips to Washington, DC as favored chaperones. Perhaps best remembered as the Technical Director of the Midlakes High School Theatre Experience and the Phelps-Clifton Springs Community Theatre, Ted never met a theatrical challenge that he couldn’t conquer. Whether making it rain onstage in Singin’ In the Rain, suspending trapezes and a high wire for Barnum, creating an ocean for dancing in My One and Only, constructing a 32 foot turntable for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat or a 36 foot target on which actors could perform for Annie Get Your Gun, figuring the logistic for bus and truck tours of George M! and Camelot, creating a multi-leveled cave dungeon for Man of La Mancha and the “magic” moving hills of Brigadoon, or making it snow in the finale of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, he took great joy in watching the participant perform safely on each of his creations. He was insistent that no set change, no matter how complex, should ever take longer than thirty seconds, and spent hours gently mentoring stage crew members to succeed in this endeavor. Ted has the distinction of being the Technical Director of the Finger Lakes Community College’s Hello, Dolly! in 1984, the only amateur production ever staged at CMAC. Occasionally Ted could be coerced to appear on stage in a P-CSCT production or even a walk on guest starring appearance in a Midlakes High School Theater Experience show. Ted enjoyed any time spent at his Keuka Lake cottage, attending live theatre productions and high school concerts, Cornell University sporting events, as well as Saturday morning breakfasts with his “tech buddies” before heading to a daylong tech session of constructing sets. Most of all, he enjoyed time spent with family and looked forward to the annual Mullen family reunion. Ted, whose love for family was boundless, is survived by three daughters, Janis (Blake) Werner of Newfield, NY; Mary (David) Johnson of Freeville, NY; Carol (Joshua) Buchman of Manlius, NY; ten grandchildren, Renee Mobley, Amy (Shane) Killian and Bradley Werner, Stephen (Meg Jones), Rebecca, Melissa and Katherine Johnson, Tyler (Atim), Kalie and Talia Buchman; two great grandchildren, Piper Jane Mobley and Ezekiel Killian; siblings Lester (Barbara) Mullen of Stafford, NY and Nancy (James) Clarcq of Phelps, NY; in-laws Herb (Charleen) Call, Helen Mullen, Dodie Mullen, Bette Hammond, Barbara (Richard) Terry, and Priscilla Tyler; along with many nieces, nephews and friends. He was predeceased in death by wife Mary Jane Tyler Mullen, parents, Earl and Terresa Mullen, parents- in- law, Dr. Leonard and Mary Tyler, daughter and son-in-law Anne (Paul Hadsell) Mobley and siblings, Zelda (Erton) Sipher, Louise (Virgil) Phelps, Lyla (Conner) Stephens, Earl W Mullen, Jr, Roy (Laura) Mullen, Eleanor (Renold) McCrumb, Arlene Call, Robert Mullen, John Mullen, as well as brother-in-law Jerry Tyler. If the greatness of a human is measured in the legacy they leave behind, Ted was a GIANT. He will live on in the memory of each life he touched as a teacher, tutor, mentor, scientist, committee member, Technical Director, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and friend. His positivity, ability to see the good in each situation, and his sense of humor is an example to be followed by all. The world will be a much greater place if this is the case.
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Saturday
19
June

Celebration of Life

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Saturday, June 19, 2021
United Church of Phelps
58 Main Street
Phelps, New York, United States