Sunday, August 18, 2019

Ron Mullin

By Phil Williams

I had planned a 3 day visit last month to visit my alert iris friend of 50 years Ron Mullin, former president of The American Iris Society.  The only flight out was canceled just as I was leaving for the airport. This week my journey back to Pawnee, Oklahoma is for his memorial service.  It will be my fourth and perhaps last visit to his adopted hometown.

Image from AIS archives
He was a kind and gentle man.  A man who visited and cared for his mother for her entire lifetime, traveling west to Marlow continuously.  Ron was a giver – to his family and every iris grower who crossed his path.

An amateur hybridizer, he won the Wister Medal with the beautiful pastel plicata 'Rhonda Fleming'.  Rhonda (the famous singer and actress who thrilled my parents when dating) is still very much alive and will be so saddened to learn of his passing.  After entering the nursing home, we would try to visit on the phone frequently until he could no longer keep the handset to his ear.

Without her knowledge, Rhonda herself will be a part of the funeral service.  Her beautiful voice could give life to a sacred hymn as well as the likes of George and Ira Gershwin. She and Ron visited by phone and writing letters frequently.

Ron always enjoyed sitting around the piano making requests and was more than surprised that I knew most of those ancient pop tunes.  He always said he wished we lived closer so that I could play at his funeral!

We are only 700 miles apart … and I will honor his wish, Lord willing! There will be hymns … and a bit of Gershwin .... many of the tunes recorded by Rhonda decades ago.

'Rhonda Fleming'--image by Evgeny Nazarov
Perhaps Ron is now in the midst of Mary Dunn, Kay Nelson, Melba Hamblen, Bob Schreiner, and a giant gathering of deceased iris friends that brought him such joy! On the other side might a simple wish for a garden filled with iris suddenly materialize?

Ron suffered many long years in a lovely, clean, and modern care facility in Pawnee staffed by many of his former high school students.  His former school superintendent and wife (Ned and Carolyn Williams) have cared for him all these years simply because they knew the importance of putting their love in action.  They are his living, breathing, mortal angels. What endless misery would have been his without these amazing two mortals!

The memorial service is scheduled for 11:00 am, Saturday, August  24 at Poteete Funeral Home, 600 Illinois Street, Pawnee, Oklahoma.

If you need further details, you may call the funeral home @ 918-762-2557.

Perhaps I will get to see some of you there. Ron was buried in Marlow, Oklahoma beside his Mother and Dad.

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