Rev. Donald C. Mullen

Died: Thu., Feb. 7, 2019


2:00 PM to 5:00 PM, Sun., Mar. 03, 2019
Location: Olivet Congregational Church

Celebration of Life

1:00 PM Mon., Mar. 04, 2019
Location: Olivet Congregational Church

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Music by The Piano Brothers

The Rev. Donald C. Mullen shed his earthly bounds on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019 suddenly, at age 80. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Barbara; and her children, William “Bill” K. Carlson, Jr. (Eileen and daughter Samantha) and Laura Burgess (Keith), (Harlan Metzger); brother, Richard (Madeline), sisters, Nancy, and Linda. Born and raised Pittsburgh, PA., as were his parents, “Jess” and “Edie” (both deceased), siblings, and a host of cousins, nieces and nephews. While still in his teens, it was while living with Isabel Simpson, his spiritual Irish immigrant grandmother, that Don’s desire to become a minister took form. Sensing his call, he completed his undergraduate education and began his religious education which continued over a ten-year period.

In 2001, Don and Barbara were stranded in Ireland for nine days after their flight to Chicago could not enter U.S. airspace due to the 9/11 attacks. While trying to come to grips with the attacks on New York and Washington D.C. they found that Dublin’s public lodging was completely booked causing them fear for a brief time of becoming homeless. Thanks to radio and TV which broadcasted the need for local families to consider inviting stranded Americans into their homes. Don and Barbara spent nine days in the warm and welcoming home of Kitty and Fergus O’Hehir.

That experience along with Don’s long connection to the work of the mental health community and of chronic homelessness led to his role in addressing the problem within Terre Haute, IN. Following an extended period of research and education of chronic homelessness, Don sought and received spiritual support from his congregation at First Congregational Church. As efforts to seek funding for the needed housing grew Mental Health America of Terre Haute became a working partner. In mid-2000 a ten-unit apartment building was constructed, followed later by a 30-unit apartment building, and more recently (2017) another exclusively for military veterans who are chronically homeless and with disabilities.

Not surprisingly, as word of his passing began to spread, tributes from those whose lives were touched by his presence began pouring in. The terms gentle, kind, mentor, friend, generous, faithful, funny, story teller, encourager, spiritual partner appeared again, and again. It is clear the number of lives touched by this precious man is legion. He is surely in heaven rejoicing with so many loved ones who went before him while watching over his earthly family and friends.

His life was inspired by the lives and writings of Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton, leading prayer and healing services at annual meetings of the NACCC, as well as silent and spiritual retreats and workshops. He was a passionate advocate of the practice of silence, meditation and mindfulness.

Don’s life will be celebrated at the Olivet Congregational Church, 125 College Street, Olivet, Michigan, 49076, with visitation from 2:00-5:00 pm on Sunday, March 3rd, and the Memorial Service at 1:00 pm on Monday, March 4th, all at the church. All are welcome.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Community Congregational Church, 19671 Cleveland Rd., South Bend, IN, 46637 or National Association of Congregational Christian Churches, 843 S. Howell Ave., P.O. Box 288, Oak Creek, WI, 53154-0288. Family and friends may leave e-mail condolences at


Charitable donations may be made in Rev. Donald's memory to the following organizations:

National Association of Congregational Christian Churches
843 S. Howell Ave., P.O. Box 288, Oak Creek, WI, 53154-0288

Community Congregational Church
19671 Cleveland Rd., South Bend, IN, 46637

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