Dorothy Muir Mullen, 93, of Chapel Hill, died peacefully January 28, 2015 at UNC Hospitals with her family at her side. She was predeceased by her beloved husband of 69 years, Jim Mullen, who died in 2014.
Dorothy was known for her love of family, her leadership role in numerous volunteer organizations, her award-winning gardens, her skill at bridge, and her long-time role as executive secretary for the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service (IFC) in Chapel Hill.
While raising four children, she found time to serve as President of the Chapel Hill Garden Club Council, President of the University Women’s Club, and Treasurer of the N.C. Women’s Scholarship Fund. She was an active member of the League of Women Voters and a fund raiser for the Friends of the Chapel Hill Public Library.
Once the children were grown, Dorothy joined the IFC board of directors and volunteered on a regular basis in the organization’s offices and the soup kitchen. She also volunteered in the offices of the University Presbyterian Church, which she joined upon moving to Chapel Hill in 1959.
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In her later years, she taught English as a second language to children at Frank Porter Graham School and to employees at Carolina Meadows. At Carolina Meadows, she also worked in the library and wrote articles about the retirement community for area media.
Other organizations that were dear to Dorothy’s heart were Tertulia, where she practiced speaking Spanish at weekly meetings with native Spanish speakers, and Chi Omega, where she was on the board of directors for 40 years.
Dorothy was an avid gardener and a nature lover, who designed, oversaw construction of, and lived in three different homes along the Cole Spring Branch of Bolin Creek in Estes Hills. She loved to walk along the creek with her children and grandchildren and taught them all to identify the area’s birds, trees, flowers, and wildlife.
She loved to read, averaging a book a day from the age of seven. Her coffee table was always covered with library books.
A native of Minneapolis, Dorothy attended Macalester College and graduated from the University of Minnesota. She worked in public relations for Pillsbury, the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce and the University of Minnesota before moving with Jim during the 1950s to Nebraska, Illinois, and, finally, Chapel Hill.
Outside of volunteering in the community, Dorothy’s main interest was traveling the world with Jim. Together the Mullens visited all 50 states and more than 70 countries on five continents. Favorite destinations were Turkey, Mexico (where she studied Spanish on several trips), New Zealand, Bali, Thailand and the United Kingdom. They celebrated their retirement with an independent 123-day trek around the world with only a rudimentary itinerary.
Dorothy was predeceased by her parents, John H. Muir and Anne Gunderson Muir.
She is survived by her four children and their spouses, Martha Haswell (Joel), Jack Mullen (Fran Friday), Bill Mullen, and Ken Mullen (Beth), all of Chapel Hill. Also surviving are five grandchildren, Ross Haswell, Miranda Shook (Tristan), Elaine Haswell, Walker Mullen and Mark Mullen, and one great-grandchild, Wiley Shook.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, February 28, 2015, at Carolina Meadows. The service will be conducted by the Rev. Robert Dunham in the Auditorium at the Club Center.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Inter-Faith Council for Social Service (IFC) or to a charity of your choice.