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home : obituaries : obituaries June 24, 2016

9/24/2013 12:39:00 PM
Harold Mulligan April 11, 1923 - August 28, 2013

On August 28, Central Oregon lost one of its treasured patriots, Pearl Harbor survivor and World War II veteran Harold Dean Mulligan, who gently passed away at his home in Redmond at the age of 90.

Mulligan was born on April 11, 1923, in Vian, Oklahoma. Raised in a farming family, the Mulligans relocated to Tulare, California during the Great Depression when he was 10. A talented baseball player who left his mitt behind to serve his country, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June of 1941.

Ruggedly handsome, with friendly blue eyes and a warm smile, he saw action in many infamous battles and encounters in the Pacific Theater, including Pearl Harbor, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Hiroshima, and later, the atomic testing grounds in the Marshall Islands. In his many brave roles aboard several military ships, Mulligan served as a Machinist's Mate 1st Class, Fireman 1st Class and Engineman 1st Class.

On December 7, 1941, Mulligan was aboard the USS Rigel when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, beneath the hellish hail of bullets, kamikaze Zeros and torpedo bombs. Transferring to the USS Ardent, a subchaser and minesweeper, Mulligan survived floating mines, dive-bombing aircraft, a terrifying typhoon and the radioactive glow of Hiroshima at ground zero. In 1944, Mulligan's ship hunted down and sank the ruthless Japanese sub, the I-12.

In 1946, Mulligan married his first wife, Irene White, and had one son, Patrick, born May 10, 1950. Mulligan was first discharged from the United States Navy in June of 1947.

Called back into service during the Korean Campaign in 1950, he observed the nuclear detonations in the Eniwetok Atolls. Mulligan was honorably discharged in 1952 and worked as a truck driver for DiSalvo Trucking, Mayflower and North American Van Lines, making runs coast-to-coast. In 1970, he married Connie Herminghaus Foster in Nevada, a loving partnership that lasted until her death on April 26, 2013.

They retired together to Sisters in 1996, then on to Crooked River Ranch, near a supportive network of friends, fellow veterans, amid rooms adorned with Connie's colorful art, in a storybook Western setting straight out of one of Mulligan's favorite Zane Grey novels.

In his later years he was an honored guest at the annual Veterans Day Breakfast and Memorial Program at Sisters High School, enjoying a hearty scrambled egg and sausage meal and sharing poignant memories of his amazing life. Passionate about his beloved baseball, fishing, and a good Sunday afternoon football game on television, Mulligan was also a longtime member of the American Legion and former Sisters Post Commander.

Mulligan is survived by: Pat (son) and Pam Mulligan of Sagle, Idaho; Kathy (daughter) and Craig Taylor of Redmond; Connie (daughter) and Bruce Burtwell of Redmond; Rick (son) and Sherry Haney of Eagle Creek; sister Wanda Perdue of Tulare, California and brother Ed Mulligan, also of Tulare, California and many nieces, nephews and grandchildren.

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