Elizabeth Duncan Mullin

March 26, 1932August 7, 2018
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Elizabeth Duncan (Betty) Mullin, 86, of Greensboro passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, August 7, 2018. Betty was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to the late Elizabeth Fort and William Graham Duncan III. She was raised on a farm in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and received a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University, where she graduated magna cum laude and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.

Betty had a lifelong commitment to the Presbyterian Church. She grew up in a family active in the church and assumed a leadership role in church groups at an early age. She met her husband of nearly 65 years, the Reverend Joseph B. (Joe) Mullin, at a church camp in Tennessee.

During Joe’s 35 years in ministry at churches in Nashville, Paducah and Louisville, Kentucky, and Greensboro, Betty gracefully performed those duties that traditionally fell to a minister’s spouse. She attended at least 1,000 weddings and funerals, planned and attended hundreds of church events, led numerous church-related groups, and taught 6th Grade Sunday School for 20 years. She also played a key behind-the-scenes role, helping Joe develop sermon ideas and providing inspiration through her keen intellect and encyclopedic knowledge.

Betty brought her energy, creativity, and leadership skills to the Greensboro community and beyond. She volunteered with numerous organizations, including the Weatherspoon Art Museum Guild, the English Speaking Union, the Human Relations Commission, the Voluntary Action Council, Meals on Wheels, and the Greensboro Arboretum. She supported outreach efforts with other countries, such as sponsoring a student exchange program with Scotland, assisting in settling refugees from Laos, and sister city outreach in Uzbekistan. She loved travel and enjoyed organizing trips abroad that included family and people from the church and community.

Betty also worked for peace. In the 1980s, she was a founder of the Religious Coalition to Reverse the Arms Race, developed a workshop called “What Shall We Tell the Children,” and participated in circling the Pentagon, White House, U.S. Capitol, and downtown Washington, D.C., with an 18-mile Peace Ribbon made from 27,000 panels of cloth.

Betty was full of curiosity and interests, loved novelty, and was game to try anything, from making flaming desserts, riding a camel, flying in a hot air balloon, baking a cake in the microwave, traveling to Antarctica, studying Greensboro’s outdoor sculpture, to panning for gold. After decades of marriage, her husband said, “The exciting thing about being married to Betty is not knowing exactly what to expect next.”

She also loved simpler pastimes, such as reading and crossword puzzles, and was a source of joy to her family and friends, whom she loved dearly. She was inventive, engaged, and fun with her children and grandchildren. She knew what children would enjoy and how to develop their sense of wonder and curiosity. Betty is survived by her husband and three children: Mary Hamilton (Molly) Mullin of Greensboro; Elizabeth Duncan (Beth) Mullin of Washington, D.C., and Joseph Bartholomew (Bart) Mullin of Charleston, SC, and four grandchildren: Malcolm Mullin Kenton, Joseph Mullin Sandman, Elizabeth Duncan Sandman, and Harold Lawson Mullin. She is also survived by brother, Angus Fort Duncan of Newport Coast, CA, and sister Catherine Duncan Kress of Pensacola, FL.

The family would like to thank Hospice, Well Spring, and Debra Joyce, who provided wonderful care in her last years.

A memorial service will be held at Well Spring Community Auditorium at 4100 Well Spring Drive on Friday, August 10, 2018, at 11 AM with a reception immediately following.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to 1st Presbyterian Church, Hot Dish & Hope, 617 N. Elm Street, Greensboro, NC 27401.

Online condolences may be offered at Hanes-Lineberry N. Elm chapel is assisting the Mullin Family.


  • William Graham Duncan III, Father
  • Elizabeth Fort Duncan, Mother
  • Reverend Dr. Joseph Bartholomew Mullin, Husband
  • Mary Hamilton "Molly" Mullin, Daughter
  • Elizabeth Duncan "Beth" Mullin, Daughter
  • Joseph Bartholomew "Bart" Mullin, Son
  • Malcolm Mullin Kenton, Joseph Mullin Sandman, Elizabeth Duncan Sandman, and Harold Lawson Mullin, Grandchildren
  • Angus Fort Duncan, Brother
  • Catherine Duncan Kress, Sister

  • First Presbyterian Church/Hot Dish & Hope



  • Memorial Service Friday, August 10, 2018


  • Visitation following the Service

Elizabeth Duncan Mullin

have a memory or condolence to add?

Tom Pierce

August 11, 2018

Joe and Family,
Anne and I continue to share our love for each of you as we think of Betty. We have wonderful memories of being together and the joy we shared every time. Just knowing Betty was a wonderful, unique experience. With her talent, joy, insight, thoughtfulness of others and how to make this a better world to live in, she was the perfect role model.

I remember the day that you and Betty met in the summer of 1950 at Presbyterian church camp, Nacome. It was magical from the first moment.

Blessings to you now and always,
Tom and Anne Pierce

Maurice Horne

August 11, 2018

During our lunches - first around town and then at Wellspring - Joe told me about when he met Betty for the first time. He told that story like a 16-year-old rather than someone in his eighties (at the time). He was always filled with emotion and wonder as he described her and how much she meant to him through the years. I visited in their home at Wellspring when the two were together. He always said to me 'it is shame we don't have anything to talk about' (after two hours of always interesting exchanges). True, I know Joe better than I knew Betty but I knew more than most because Joe loved to talk about her and how much she meant to him. I am sure God has another angel forming committees and getting things done in Heaven. God bless Betty, the family, and my very good friend Joe Mullin.

Mary Ann Johnson

August 10, 2018

My deepest sympathy to you Joe on the death of Betty. May God surround you with His loving arms and bring peace and comfort to you at this difficult time.

Julie Redhead Bristol

August 9, 2018

My brother John Redhead let me know that Betty is now in Heaven. I’m so sorry I left Greensboro before I got to know the Mullin family. Our dad, Dr, John A. Redhead, preceded. Dr. Mullin in the pulpit of First Pres Church there. I always heard such wonderful stories about these 2 people.

Jim Van Hecke

August 9, 2018

Joe and family,
Marsha and I send our love and prayers of thanksgiving to you all over the passing of Betty.
She was an all-time favorite of ours, so passionate about life and fun to be with.
Warmest regards,