Obituary

Bill Mullins
May 9, 1946 - August 23, 2019

Bill Mullins

Bill Mullins
May 9, 1946 - Aug 23, 2019

Bill Mullins
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William Henry Mullins, who went by Bill, passed away unexpectedly on 23 August, 2019 in Federal Way, WA, as a result of a rare complication from a heart procedure.

Bill was born on 9 May, 1946, in Nampa, Idaho, to Josephine Mullins (née Jones) and Ray O. Mullins, who preceded him in death. When he was in elementary school, the family moved to El Paso, Texas, where his lifelong love for the Brooklyn Dodgers was born, thanks to long-wave AM radio and Vin Scully's expert play by play. Since eighth grade, he knew he wanted to be a history professor. He followed the Dodgers to Los Angeles, where he earned his BA at Pomona College in 1968 and went on to pursue his PhD in history at the University of Washington.

A steadfast Christian since the age of 9, Bill met Edith Gross at a Wednesday night service at a church in LA neither of them normally attended--an encounter both came to see as providential. They married in 1974, and Bill taught history at several institutions around the Northwest, where their children, Michael and Julie, were born.

In 1985, Bill accepted a position as professor of history at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma, where he taught American History and Western Civilization for twenty years. During summers, he lectured on Alaskan history on the S.S. Universe Explorer cruise ship. He also researched and published two books, The Depression and the Urban West Coast, 1929-1933, and Becoming Big League: Seattle, the Pilots, and Stadium Politics, which tells the story of 1960s Seattle and its first short-lived professional baseball team.

Upon retirement in 2005, Bill and Edith moved back to Washington state. They enjoyed traveling together internationally, and Bill was deeply involved at Journey Church in Federal Way, Washington, as an elder, Sunday School teacher, and mentor. He also volunteered for many years teaching history at Tacoma Rescue Mission, where he formed relationships with men and women recovering from addiction. He saw it as his purpose to help his students understand themselves as worthy of esteem and beloved by God.

Bill had a dry sense of humor that regularly caught people off guard, and was an avid sports fan, golfer, and runner, always striving to beat his time. In 2018, Michael and Julie planned a long-awaited family trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, which Bill enjoyed immensely.

Teaching--sharing wisdom and training his students (including his children) in critical thought--was Bill's life's work. As a teacher, he sought to help others understand the currents that have shaped them, in order to discern how to craft a good, Spirit-filled life that glorifies God, and to better follow Jesus as His disciples. This he did with all his mind, soul, heart, and strength.

Bill is survived by his wife, Edith Mullins, and his children, Michael Mullins and Julie Mullins.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, 21 September, at 11 am at Journey Church, 701 S 320th Street, Federal Way, WA 98003. In lieu of flowers, the family would welcome donations to The Gideons International (https://www.gideons.org/donate) or Tacoma Rescue Mission (https://www.trm.org/donate/) in Bill's memory.

 
 

Monica Gross on Sep 26, 2019

Brother in law, Bill had a great sense of humor which I appreciate and admire. We both married into the Gross family. During a day at Disneyland in the early years, one of my young children took another child's balloon off of a parked stroller and proceeded to inadvertently launch it upward. I was in my mid twenties, a bit immature, and did not try to rectify the situation. Bill went to the balloon vendor to buy a replacement balloon and tied it to the stroller. It was a different color than the original balloon, but that was the only color available. We all went away laughing thinking of the confusion that the parents and child would face when they returned and found a different colored balloon on their stroller.

Bill coached me as I was applying for an academic position in my field of study. He advised, "ask your dumb questions to the secretary and your smart questions of your boss." I appreciated this piece of advice as it helped in easing into the new position.

I miss my dear brother in law in the here and now, but the real Bill is dancing in the heavens with his Savior. I am sure even Bill cannot stump Our Lord with a hard question! Bill, I will see you on the other side...……..

Harry Steinbach on Sep 24, 2019

From Harry Steinbach, Edith's cousin, it was a pleasure to know Bill, I greatly enjoyed his company at family gatherings and on the golf course. Bill was a kind and thoughtful person, and a great golfer, I will miss him. My condolences to Edith and the family, praying for your peace and the Lord’s comfort.

Bekah Bartz on Sep 24, 2019

My favorite memory of Uncle Bill was just in the past few years. Edith and Bill were in SoCal and attended a family birthday party. We were sitting outside and my kids (ages 3 and 1 at the time) told Uncle Bill to blow bubbles for them. He complied and blew bubbles for my kids for a long time, probably a 1/2 hour. It was such a tender moment, I'll always treasure it.

Another favorite memory of mine is my senior year in high school. I flew up to Washington and we (Julie, Tante Edith, Uncle Bill and me) drove down the coast looking at colleges on the way. Every night I remember Uncle Bill flossing he teeth in the hotels we were staying. I laugh at that now because it's such a funny memory, but it was classic Uncle Bill. He was so conscientious about everything.

I will miss you Uncle Bill, you were a such treasure to your family and to the whole world.

Geoff Gross on Sep 23, 2019

Uncle Bill, I will miss you. Your dry wit and infectious laugh were a delight to me, and I realize it even more now that they're gone. I never had the privilege of sitting through a class of yours, but I imagine I probably have some osmotic benefit just from being around you. The Alaska cruise with you and Michael in high school is one of the more cherished memories from my youth.

You literally and actually changed your bit of the world for the better. For the legacy of your family to the scores of students you impacted, to your colleague who was able to keep their job, to the disadvantaged you helped in Tacoma, and everything else I've forgotten or never knew, thank you for the example you've set for me, and for my family.

The Stritzel on Sep 21, 2019

So sorry to hear of his passing. He was a really neat neighbor.

Ron Michener on Sep 17, 2019

My sincere condolences to the family.
I had professor Mullins as a history professor at Judson Baptist College in the early 80s. I'll never forget his dictum" "There are two kinds of professors: the kind you hate now and love later, and the kind you love now at hate later . . .I'm the kind you hate now and love later." Indeed, he was demanding and tough, but he taught well and showed great enthusiasm. He was the only professor I ever heard use the word "antidisestablishmentarianism" once in a lecture! I appreciated Prof. Bill Mullins very much, both then, and now!
May the Lord give you peace and courage at this time.

Rebecca Pixler on Sep 15, 2019

Rebecca Pixler, retired archivist, Bellingham: I was so very sorry to read of Bill's passing. Until my retirement in 2017, I worked at the King County Archives in Seattle. Bill used its Kingdome collections to research is book, "Becoming Big League." The staff there always enjoyed working with Bill, and for his part, he always thereafter had a good word for the Archives and its staff. "Becoming Big League" remains in the research collection of the Archives.

Again, please accept my thoughts at this sad time.

Gerhard Gross on Sep 12, 2019

This is from Gerhard, Edith's brother, Bill's friend. We were each other's "Best Man" at our weddings. ...Thoughts and memories...

Bill could overwhelm you with his intellect, but he wouldn't flaunt his knowledge. After receiving his doctorate, he suggested "Professor", as opposed to "Doctor" as a way of being addressed by his students.
...so like Bill...

On a flight to Vancouver, BC, I observed how Bill talked with a flight stewardess. Somehow, she knew of Bill's Christian beliefs, perhaps through a "Oklahoma Baptist University" logo.? After we landed, and neither had immediate necessary connections, they talked. (I was sitting next to Bill.) She asked about Christianity, teaching, and Bill's beliefs. He answered her completely, thoroughly, and precisely. He did not push, but gave her what she asked for. Perhaps this was a stepping stone for future information in which she ultimately became a believer and follower of Jesus Christ? Who knows? 1 Peter 3:15
...so like Bill...

When the four of us (Bill, Edith, Gerhard, Monica (Gerhard's wife)) got together, among many other things, Bill and I often conversed. There was a minimum of political talk. But sports and Dodger talk was usually there. After the girls went to sleep, Bill and I dwelt on the important. Bill would stay up late, so we could talk. The important, i.e. Christian thought, churches, devotional times, and mystery and mysticism. The mystery of Christ in us, how the Holy Spirit speaks, how the Holy Spirit uses the Bible to speak to us. We shared our knowledge and experience. Then, we went from knowing, to not knowing, to the mystic...So much we did not know. But, our trust in the triune God working, even if we did not have a clue how, gave immense comfort to us. The mysticism was of tremendous importance of how our trust in our risen Lord Jesus was and is completely validated. This was not a teacher-student time. It was more brother to brother. Iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17).
...so like Bill


Gerhard Gross on Sep 12, 2019

This is from Gerhard, Edith's brother, Bill's friend. We were each other's "Best Man" at our weddings. ...Thoughts and memories...

Bill could overwhelm you with his intellect, but he wouldn't flaunt his knowledge. After receiving his doctorate, he suggested "Professor", as opposed to "Doctor" as a way of being addressed by his students.
...so like Bill...

On a flight to Vancouver, BC, I observed how Bill talked with a flight stewardess. Somehow, she knew of Bill's Christian beliefs, perhaps through a "Oklahoma Baptist University" logo.? After we landed, and neither had immediate necessary connections, they talked. (I was sitting next to Bill.) She asked about Christianity, teaching, and Bill's beliefs. He answered her completely, thoroughly, and precisely. He did not push, but gave her what she asked for. Perhaps this was a stepping stone for future information in which she ultimately became a believer and follower of Jesus Christ? Who knows? 1 Peter 3:15

...so like Bill...

When the four of us (Bill, Edith, Gerhard, Monica (Gerhard's wife)) got together, among many other things, Bill and I often conversed. There was a minimum of political talk. But sports and Dodger talk was usually there. After the girls went to sleep, Bill and I dwelt on the important. Bill would stay up late, so we could talk. The important, i.e. Christian thought, churches, devotional times, and mystery and mysticism. The mystery of Christ in us, how the Holy Spirit speaks, how the Holy Spirit uses the Bible to speak to us. We shared our knowledge and experience. Then, we went from knowing, to not knowing, to the mystic...So much we did not know. But, our trust in the triune God working, even if we did not have a clue how, gave immense comfort to us. The mysticism was of tremendous importance of how our trust in our risen Lord Jesus was and is completely validated. This was not a teacher-student time. It was more brother to brother. Iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17).

...so like Bill


Aaron Dunn on Sep 8, 2019

I ask that the Lord be with you to comfort you all.

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Memorial Service

Sep
21
Saturday
Journey Church
701 S 320th Street
Federal Way, Washington 98003
11:00 AM

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