OBITUARY

William Evans Mullan Jr.

January 16, 1923January 4, 2019

William Evans Mullan, Jr., known as Bill, died at Riderwood Village in Silver Spring, Maryland on January 4, 2019. He was 95. Bill was born in Baltimore on January 16, 1923, and grew up in the Territory of Hawaii and other locations where his father, a U.S. Navy officer, was stationed. Bill graduated from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute in 1941 and attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) briefly before enlisting in the Navy himself in 1942. He was trained as a fighter pilot and was selected for the night fighter program, but was still in the pipeline when the war ended. After discharge from the Navy, Bill went to Catholic University and graduated in the class of 1949 with a degree in architectural engineering. While still an undergraduate, he taught college classes in descriptive geometry and mathematics. He took part in many extracurricular activities, especially the Cardinal yearbook. He served as photography editor of the 1948 annual and editor-in-chief of the 1949 edition. He joined the Senators Club and remained active in its alumni gatherings for many years. While at Catholic, Bill met Joan Woodworth, a native Washingtonian attending nearby Trinity College. They married in September 1950. Their love affair lasted 63 years until Joan died in December 2013. Together they raised six children. They also kept in close touch with other couples from college days, forming a “Dinner Club” that got together frequently for many years. After college, Bill joined the Bell System as a management trainee. His first assignments involved designing and building communications installations for the White House bomb shelter and the FAA’s Air Route Traffic Control Center at National Airport. To advance the FAA work, he transferred to the Bell Laboratories in New Jersey and there developed a number of systems incorporating the newfangled transistor. He was credited as the inventor on several U.S. patents. He also worked at AT&T in Manhattan before returning to Washington D.C. permanently in 1958. As building engineer with Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company, Bill designed hundreds of buildings around the DC metropolitan area and supervised the construction of many. He took special pride in the Fairland Data Center on Colesville Road. He joined the Washington Building Congress in 1958 and served as an officer and director. In the early 1960’s, Bill began collecting coins as a hobby. He focused on inexpensive coins, particularly those featuring animals or other motifs that would appeal to youngsters. As his expertise grew, he wrote many articles for the Numismatics International Bulletin, and he became a recognized authority on the enigmatic tangka ghabo of Tibet. He developed new techniques for photographing coins and a system for classifying coins. For more than forty years, he operated coin booths at elementary school fairs at Lafayette Elementary (across from his home) and Blessed Sacrament School (where all his children attended), and later at the Friends School in Baltimore, at Takoma Park Middle School, and other family-connected places. He donated all proceeds to the schools. In recognition of his longstanding contributions, he received the prestigious Marquis de Lafayette award in 2013. After retiring from business in 1985, Bill was elected to the parish council of Blessed Sacrament church. A year later, he was appointed chairman of the finance committee. He served in that capacity for more than twenty years, becoming one of the first recipients of the Archdiocesan Order of Merit in December 2002. He attended Mass daily for many years until he could no longer drive or walk to church. In retirement, Bill also worked to beautify Lafayette Park across the street from his home on Broad Branch Road. At first, his efforts were confined to weeding, but soon he branched into more ambitious gardening ventures. In 2016, his gardening friends and colleagues surprised him with a monument in the park recognizing his contributions of many years. Bill Mullan threw himself into many different activities to support his family’s interests. He photographed landscapes and still-life subjects for Joan when she took up painting. His sons were active in scouting; their dad ended up serving as the chairman of Troop 90, associated with Blessed Sacrament parish. Bill was an avid tennis player; two of his children went on to play competitively. He inspired many with his diverse interests in classical music, popular songs of the 1930s and 1940s, geometric shapes and solids, photography, geology of the Washington DC area, electrical engineering, Naval history, and coins from all over the world. Until recent years, he gave his 18 grandchildren annual lessons in the proper construction of sand castles and moats at Rehoboth Beach’s North Shores. When age began to limit his more strenuous activities, Bill focused more on crossword puzzles and particularly Sudoku, where his irregular spelling was less of a handicap. When his beloved Joan went to live at Ingleside at Rock Creek for nursing care, he struck up friendships with the staff and other residents, and invented a simplified form of Sudoku to introduce them to the game. He cultivated an interest in family history and convened family reunions every other year. In May 2017, Bill moved to Riderwood’s assisted living facility after an extended stay at Sibley Hospital. Bill’s family is grateful to the staff at Riderwood’s Arbor Ridge, particularly Ms. Cynthia Collins, who provided expert and loving care for Bill during his stay there. Bill Mullan is survived by six children: J. Gibson (Denise Eggers) Mullan, Gerry Mullan (William J.) Sweet, Maureen Mullan (Christopher) Scance, Ann Mullan Spera, William Evans (Abigail) Mullan III and Martin Woodworth (Christina) Mullan; grandchildren Jennifer M. (Brad) Fondak, Rebecca M. Mullan, Patrick M. Mullan, William J. (Brigit) Sweet, III, Allison W. Scance, Charlotte S. (Greg) Suarez, Marianne M. Mullan, William Evans Mullan, IV, Christopher Scance, Jr., Michelle L. Spera, Maureen S. Sweet, Dillon W. Mullan, Michael G. Sweet, Lauren R. Spera, Francis R. Mullan, Luke D. Mullan, Nicholas C. Spera and John W. Mullan; great grandchildren Jerusha R. Fondak, William J. Sweet, IV and Roman I. Sweet. Also survived by two sisters: Sr. Mary Christopher Mullan of St. Louis, Missouri and Joanne Mullan Tansey of Adamstown, Maryland; sister-in-law Geraldine Woodworth of University Park, Maryland; many nephews, nieces and godchildren. He was predeceased by his wife Joan; infant sons Mark and Patrick Mullan; sister Betty Mullan Wynne; sister-in-law Patricia Woodworth Sanzaro; brothers-in-law Richard G. Wynne, Frank Sanzaro and Robert F. Tansey; nieces Katherine M. Sanzaro and Kathy Wynne Rogers; and nephew Thomas Sanzaro.

  • PALLBEARERS

  • Martin Woodworth Mullan
  • William J. Sweet, III
  • William Evans Mullan, IV
  • Michael Gibson Sweet
  • Dillon Woodworth Mullan
  • Luke Dillon Mullan

Services

  • Visitation Friday, January 11, 2019
  • Visitation Friday, January 11, 2019
  • Requiem Mass Saturday, January 12, 2019
  • Burial Saturday, January 12, 2019
REMEMBERING

William Evans Mullan Jr.

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Sarah Manchester

January 10, 2019

Hi Ann & family,
I have fond memories of your dad and his coin booth at International Night. Many of our students enjoyed browsing & purchasing from his wonderful collection. I bought some as well and passed them on to my own children via the tooth fairy - when she visited our house, in addition to leaving an American dollar, she would leave a cute/interesting coin from a faraway land. Thanks to your dad for making visits from the tooth fairy so special for my children! :)
Sarah Manchester

FROM THE FAMILY