On March 27, 1925, Thomas E Mullen began an 88-year journey – called Life. This ended on Feb. 18, 2013 in his home of 24 years in Fallbrook, Calif.
As most journeys go, Tom’s had the usual ups and downs, highs and lows, but for today I will be sharing the short story version that will tell of some of the highlights.
Tom, at the age of 18, traveled to Europe courtesy of the United States Army where as the youngest Jump Master (at that time) trained his fellow soldiers on how to successfully jump out of airplanes. His greatest memory of that experience was the day the wind shifted when it was his turn to jump and he did the “spiderman” slide down the side of a French farmhouse. Tom had to repair the damage to the structure and apologize to the farmer and his wife who were in bed when he hit the house.
While overseas, Tom was awarded the Purple Heart with a cluster, the Silver Star with four stars in this theatre of war, and a presidential citation for meritorious service. In addition, the Army asked Tom to represent the Army and his unit at an audience with Pope Pius XII where he received the Papal blessing and a much treasured rosary!
By the end of 1945, having recovered from numerous war injuries, the journey took Tom to Penn State University and Smeal Business College and an eventual MBA, CPA, Ph.D. and the coveted “Appreciation of Service” trophy.
As this journey goes, Tom returns to Europe numerous times as the CEO of Main LaFrance, an international accountancy firm. On one of his trips, he was a guest speaker at Oxford University; this honor included dinner with the attendees, one of which was Queen Elizabeth.
Generous with his time and talent, Tom was fortunate to sit on a number of charitable organization board of directors that introduced him to Arnold Palmer, Ken Venture, Joe Paterno and others who became his friends and golfing partners.
Business ventures lead the journey to California where Tom concluded his career by teaching economics at San Diego State and National University. Now the journey is at that delightful stage called retirement which he enjoyed to the fullest at Rancho Monserate Senior Mobile Home Park.
An avid golfer, Tom spent 23 of his 24 years at this retirement heaven playing golf, enjoying friends and family. The last 11 months he spent fighting lung cancer; he was most appreciative to the staff from Fallbrook Hospice for their wonderful presence during his last month.
A Military Honors Service will be held on March 11 at 11 a.m. at Miramar National Cemetery.
He is survived by his wife, Anna; a brother, James; four children, Thomas, Jr., Rick Mackenzie, Scott Mackenzie, and Cara Schoenberger, and three grandchildren.