William Edmund Mulkern

November 2, 1939February 17, 2021
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William E. Mulkern died unexpectedly on February 17, 2021. He was born in Portland on November 2, 1939, a son of Robert and Jane Roach Mulkern. Bill spent most of his life surrounded by water, on the water, or near the water. Raised on Peaks Island, he entered the Coast Guard Reserves as a teenager and retired as a CWO4 BOSN (Chief Warrant Officer 4 Boatswain) after thirty years' service. He finished his USCG career on another island, Governors Island, New York. Following his retirement from the USCG, he was a captain of the Frye Island Ferry on Sebago Lake for 20 years while working concurrently in Security for Hannaford Brothers for sixteen years.

There was always "water, water, everywhere" for Bill, as he lived for the rest of his life in what Longfellow called "the beautiful town that is seated by the sea."

As captain of three USCG vessels: Pendant, Yankton, and Apalachee, Bill would never tell civilians anything about his work (he didn’t consider Uncle Sam’s business any of theirs), which during his tenure as captain of those ships involved law enforcement, search and rescue patrols, firefighting, and light icebreaking. He was also Commander of Coast Guard Station Rockland for four years.

Upon the decommissioning of the Apalachee, Bill was appointed Special Service Officer on Governors Island, New York, where one of his responsibilities was preparing for Liberty Weekend, an historic event for the 100th birthday and celebration of the restoration of the Statue of Liberty, with President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan and heads of state from around the world attending. Since all the televised events with the dignitaries would take place on the island, he had to see that stages, ramps, etc. were properly built and installed, oversee transportation for the dignitaries and television crews, and in general, make things run smoothly. Prior to rising to the aforementioned leadership positions, he served on the icebreaker Eastwind, on which he went to Antarctica, the cutter Evergreen, on which he went to the North Pole on ice patrol, and buoy tenders Spar and White Heath, which serviced buoys marking channels, to allow boats and ships to navigate safely. They sometimes had other missions as well, such as search and rescue, drug interdiction, and light icebreaking.

Bill's Coast Guard career took him places near and far: from the coast of Maine’s Popham Beach, Boothbay Harbor, and Cape Elizabeth to Greenland; Panama; Valparaiso, Chile; New Zealand; Pitcairn Island; the Arctic Circle; the Antarctic Circle; Antarctica; Edinburg, Scotland; Bremerhaven and Hamburg, Germany; and Reykjavik, Iceland. His career took him to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the North Sea, the Arctic Ocean, and Sebago Lake. Bill was one of the lucky ones who have seen polar bears playing on the ice at the North Pole and penguins on the South Pole.

Bill is survived by his sister, Barbara Carmone, of Portland; brother, Robert Mulkern, and wife, Susan, of Plymouth MA; nephew, Michael Mulkern, and wife, Lindsay, and their daughters, Madison and Ashley, of Plymouth MA; niece, Kara Papaefthimiou, and husband, Alex, and son, Niko, of Camarillo CA; nephew, Kyle Carmone, and children, Liam and Maggie, of New York City; niece, Erica Carmone, of Portland; nephew, Jeremy Carmone, and wife, Patty, of Los Angeles CA; grandniece, Leandra Bryant, and husband Will, and daughters, Serena Sage and Lorena Jane, of Austin TX ; grandnephew, Steele Smith, of Los Angeles CA; niece, Andy Carmone, and husband, Sarthak Das, and sons, Shanta, Amani, and Ameya, of Singapore; best friends, Michael and Marion Potoczak, of Taunton MA, and son Michael, and wife, Maura, and children, Miles and Sloane, of Saudi Arabia; daughter, Nicole Desir, and husband, James, and children, Damarri and Derjaya, of Plano TX.

Bill will now be joyfully reunited with the late beautiful Maddie, a most discerning dog who bonded instantly with Bill while turning up her snout at most bipeds, and the late majestic Milo, who lived for his daily rides with Bill along the Promenade and down the waterfront. Little Zuma, who survives his loving master, is doing his best to deal with this confusing loss.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at Holy Martyrs Church, 266 Foreside Rd, Falmouth. Interment will follow at Evergreen Cemetery, Portland. The Mass of Christian Burial will be live streamed on Holy Martyrs website and on the Facebook page for Jones, Rich & Barnes Funeral Home that will also have the interment live.


  • Robert Mulkern, Father
  • Jane Roach Mulkern, Mother
  • Barbara Carmone, Sister
  • Robert Mulkern (Susan Mulkern), Brother
  • Michael Mulkern (Lindsay Mulkern), Nephew
  • Madison Mulkern, Grand Niece
  • Ashley Mulkern, Grand Niece
  • Kara Papaefthimiou (Alex Papaefthimiou), Niece
  • Niko Papaefthimiou, Grand Nephew
  • Kyle Carmone, Nephew
  • Liam Carmone, Grand Nephew
  • Maggie Carmone, Grand Niece
  • Erica Carmone, Niece
  • Jeremy Carmone (Patty Carmone), Grand Nephew
  • Leandra Bryan (Will Bryant), Grand Niece
  • Serena Sage Bryant, Grand Niece
  • Lorena Jane Bryant, Grand Niece
  • Steele Smith, Grand Nephew
  • Andy Carmone (Sarthak Das), Grand Niece
  • Shanta Das, Grand Nephew
  • Amani Das, Grand Nephew
  • Ameya Das, Grand Nephew
  • William is also survived by
    best friends, Michael and Marion Potoczak, of Taunton MA, and son Michael, and wife, Maura, and children, Miles and Sloane, of Saudi Arabia; daughter, Nicole Desir, and husband, James, and children, Damarri and Derjaya, of Plano TX.


  • A Mass of Christian Burial

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021


  • Interment

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021



William Edmund Mulkern

have a memory or condolence to add?

Kevin LaMarre

March 7, 2021

I had the privilege of knowing and working with Captain Bill on the Frye Island Ferry from 1987 to 2005. Having come from 'deep water' shipping, it was great to work with another professional mariner. When I discovered he had a very unique sense of humor, that's when the fun began. We shared many humorous radio conversations as we shuttled the ferries back and forth on Sebago Lake on busy days. Bill was the consummate professional when handling the boat, always courteous, but no-nonsense as well. There was a tight bond between Bill and other 'Coasties' who would work at the ferry, and Bill took that 'brotherhood' seriously, keeping in touch with them long after the season was over or their employment ended.
Bill will certainly be missed by those of us who worked with him at Frye Island, and I extend my deepest condolences to all of his family and many friends.
Captain Bill was a real 'gem' of a guy, unique and honest, but also possessing an impish sense of humor. We're all the better for having known and worked with him!
Rest in God's peace Captain Bill !
"No calls, No cars, No run made." - one of our favorite log entries!

Fr. Kevin L. LaMarre O.S.B.
Raymond, ME.

Sarthak Das

March 1, 2021

I met Captain Bill over twenty years ago and had the privilege to call him Uncle Billy (having married his niece). I have the had the blessing to meet so many great women and men of substance all over the world-- some famous, many not. He ranks among the greats. Over the the last few decades of spending time with him whenever we were in Maine, I continued to deepen my appreciation for him. So much to learn from his many great qualities witnessed not by his words but by studying how he lived his life: self-discipline, austerity, avoiding excess (in consumption, speech, possessions), keeping a great sense of humor; maintaining realism about life; delivering unflinching honesty when needed; performing acts of kindness but seeking no recognition; being true to your word.

He was a rock of a man ; someone to whom you could set your watch.

They don’t make them like that any more.

Enjoy the smooth sailing up there Uncle Billy.

“At sea, I learned how little a person needs, not how much.” – Robin Lee Graham

Ellen McKee (O’Leary)

March 1, 2021

My family was always very close to the Mulkerns who lived a few houses up the street. Growing up I think I heard Uncle Billy utter 4 words....over a 20 year time span! Then all of a sudden, out of the blue, he started talking, a lot!!! I feel like I finally got to know him when I was in my 30’s! He was so funny, engaging and inquisitive! We live on Frye Island in the summer and were lucky enough to get to see him frequently as our Captain. My kids will fondly remember how he always had a toothpick in his mouth! He was also such a close friend of my fathers. Near the end of my fathers life, Uncle Billy was the only friend still going in to visit him, bringing newspapers and printed off Patriots schedules for the whole nursing home staff. I am so grateful for all of his kindness to my father and I am so lucky that I got to know him so much better later in life. We will miss him & send our love to all of the family ❤️

Steele Smith

February 25, 2021

Godspeed Uncle Billy.

With love and respect,

Steele Smith & Jeromy Velasco

Kathy Cheever

February 25, 2021

My husband and I met Bill at Barbara's 70th birthday party. He was very sociable and lots of fun to talk with. His personality was so pleasant and we carried on a long conversation. We were impressed with him and he reminded us of Barbara and her bubbly personally. He will be missed by his family and I know Billy appreciated everything that she did. Barbara can feel good about how close they were and the times had together . He certainly will be missed by his close family.

Bill and Kathryn Cheever


Leigh Rush Olson

February 24, 2021

I became dear friends with Barbara (Bill's sister) and Erica (Barbara's daughter) through the Daughters of the American Revolution, so I know how much they loved Bill. In DAR, a husband is playfully called “HODAR” (Husband of DAR). Barbara spoke very often of Bill and all the kind things he did for her, and she called him affectionately her BRODAR. I loved that. May God bless this family.

Susan Mulkern

February 24, 2021

I remember when my husband Bob (Tom) brought me to Maine to meet his mother and brother to tell them we were getting married. Jane was happy and Bill said not a word other than "Hi" and it was that way for years. As someone else mentioned, he was a man of few words. Billy sat in a room reading his newspaper, yet absorbing all the conversation! In later years, he opened up more and was truly funny at times. Billy was kind and thoughtful and it is comforting to read the comments of how he touched so many lives. Rest in peace and may the Lord receive his son into the glorious life ahead.

Ann Merrill

February 23, 2021

Billy was Portland’s Joe Friday! Just the facts ma’am, a no nonsense man with a heart of gold. Glad I had the pleasure to know him.We will miss him so much

Patricia Carmone

February 23, 2021

I wasn't fortunate enough to have spent as much time as I would have liked with Uncle Billy, but I will forever love him and keep him in my heart.

In honor of his love of the sea, I'd like to share this poem by Robert Louis Stevenson.


Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

With love and a heavy heart,
Patty Carmone

Peter Shuman

February 22, 2021

I worked with Cpt Bill for a few years at Hannaford. I’ll never forget his “ new guy” prank on me. Also his cigars and sugar cookies. Rest In Peace Bill., and as you always said” I’ll see you when the wind shifts.”