In Remembrance: Frank Albert Mullen ’56MDiv  Died on October 9 2014

Rev. Dr. Frank Albert Mullen passed away at age 83 on October 9, 2014. He was the pastor of two churches and served as Director of Development for the Yale Divinity School for 13 years. 

The Palladium-Item published an obituary on October 11, 2014. 

1 remembrance

    NORMAN E THOMAS, 10:46pm July 10 2017 | Ico flag Flag as inappropriate

    Frank Albert Mullen ’56 B.D.

    Frank was born on April 7, 1931, in the village of village of Montmorenci, in Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Indiana, to Albert Edwin Mullen and Bernice Elizabeth Weidlich Mullen. He had one brother, Thomas James Mullen, who died in 2009. He grew up and attended school in Kentland, Newton County, Indiana where his father was owner/manager of a bulk oil plant.

    Frank received a B.A. from Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 1953 and an M. Div. from Yale Divinity School in 1956. He became an ordained minister in the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, in 1956. He was honored in 1988 with the doctor of divinity degree from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale.

    Upon graduation from Yale, Frank worked for the YMCA from 1956 to 1980. From 1956-60, he served as Executive Director of the Young Men’s Christian Association of Wilmington, Delaware. From 1960-74, he was Executive Director of Sloane House in Manhattan, the nation’s largest residential YMCA building.

    Frank married Ruth Charlotte Ackerman whom he first knew as a YDS alumna in his 1956 class. In 1991 he wrote of their marriage and her death:
    My life has been, like most people in our class, a mixture of joy and sorrow . .. One of the happiest days was May 28, 1960, when Ruth Ackerman and I exchanged our wedding vows in Marquand Chapel. Then nine years later, in the same chapel with many of the same loving people standing by, we said goodbye to dear Ruth.

    After Ruth's death, Frank opened his large home in Jamaica Estates, Queens, New York, to students from nearby St. John's University. He provided safe, affordable housing to generations of students at St. John's and made lasting friendships in the process.
    In 1975 Frank shifted his career when he became for five years the Associate Director of the Campaign for Yale. Then from 1980-83, the Baptist Medical Center in New York City hired Frank as its director of development. The next year he directed planned giving for Guideposts, then based in Carmel, Indiana.

    Frank returned to Yale Divinity School from 1984 to 1997 as Director of Development for the Yale Divinity School. Dean Leander Keck challenged Frank to raise endowments for faculty chairs at YDS, for there had been no new ones in the previous thirty years. In New York City where he lived, an elderly lady took Frank’s arm as their walked each day. Frank shared with her about his work at Yale although she had no Yale connection. On hearing of the Dean’s challenge, she asked Frank to go with her to her bank and safety deposit box. There she retrieved bundles of stock certificates tied together with their recent valuations. “Put them in the bag I gave you,” she said, and asked: “And how much money does it take to endow a Yale chair?” She continued until the bag contained that amount. Upon arrival that day at YDS, Frank gave the bag to Dean Keck and said, “Here’s your first endowed chair!” That afternoon Keck presented it to Yale’s President, Kingman Brewster, Jr., at a meeting of deans. Respect for Frank as Director of Development grew as in the next two years he raised endowments for two additional faculty positions.

    In addition to work in development, Frank was simultaneously pastor of two churches: St. Mark's United Church of Christ in Flushing, and Elmhurst Community Church in Elmhurst—in neighborhoods close to his New York City home. He served faithfully these congregations more than twenty-seven years.

    Frank served for twelve years on the Board of Directors of the Disciples of Christ Church Extension Fund. He was also a member and trustee of the Park Avenue Christian Church in New York, and was made a life member of the Yale Divinity School Board of Advisors in 1997.

    In 2002, Frank sold his home in New York and moved to Richmond, Indiana, to be near his brother Tom Mullen. He gave the $1.25 million proceeds to the Earlham School of Religion to endow it's Ministry of Writing program, which begun by his brother, the school’s former dean.

    Throughout his life Frank was a faithful and generous supporter of his alma maters. For fifty years he was class agent for his Wabash College class of 1953 and received the Wabash alumni award of merit in 1970. He also served many years as class agent of his YDS class of 1956.

    Frank loved to travel and had visited every continent and over 100 countries. He was a member of the Circumnavigator's Club, which requires its members to have traveled around the world. In addition to traveling himself, on several occasions he led travel groups to the Holy Land, and served as a chaplain on cruise ships.

    Frank died on October 9, 2014, at his home in Richmond, Indiana, at age 83. On October the twenty-fifth, 25th, at the Friends Fellowship Community in Richmond, friends and family gathered to celebrate Frank’s life. His grave is beside that of his beloved wife, Ruth, in Beaverdale Memorial Park in New Haven, Connecticut.

    Frank was survived by his sister-in-law, Nancy Faus-Mullen of Richmond, and by his brother's children and their spouses who became his surrogate children over the years and loved him like a second father: Charles and Sarah Mullen Northrop of Richmond, Hideki and Martha Mullen Shigenobu of Ridgewood, New Jersey, Brett and Pam Mullen of Richmond, and Steve Beaven and Ruth Mullen of Portland, Oregon, as well as great-nieces and great-nephews.

    Among the many comments in the guest book at his funeral were these:
    Our minds and our hearts are filled with memories of Frank, remembering all the ways, both funny and serious, that he wove himself into the very fabric of our family's life, so that he was indeed our "Uncle" Frank, and whom we cherished and will deeply miss.
    Frank was much beloved by many many people at Yale Divinity School. He helped build this School and we will forever hold him in our hearts and prayers.

    SOURCES [His individual picture within 1956 class composite].
    “Frank A. Mullen,” The Divinity School, Yale University, 1991, Class of 1956
    Conversation of Frank Mullen with the author, Norman E. Thomas, Yale Divinity School, 1989. Indiana, Birth Certificates, 1907-1940; Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
    1940 United States Federal Census

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