Lee Mull died March 27 at home with her family near, from ALS. She was 67 years old. Having prepared for this, Lee took the opportunity to record these thoughts about her life to be shared at her passing: Upon learning of my diagnoses, a well-meaning friend suggested I get to work on my “bucket list.”
“What bucket list?” were my thoughts. My life has been a series of adventures and wonderful blessings. I moved from my home in Prospect, Ohio to Denver Colo., when I was 23. I drove a Ford Falcon station wagon my Dad bought me for $25, (I don’t think he wanted me to get very far.) It had no heat and rusted floorboards.
I packed my stereo and record collection and a bag of clothes. It had been a dream of mine to see the Rocky Mountains and they did not disappoint. It was love at first sight in the summer of 1974. I didn’t know it at the time, but my adventures were just beginning.
I made a living as a portrait photographer when I first arrived in Denver. Soon I met the love of my life, Hank Mull, a playwright and teacher. We spent our early time together enjoying city life and participating in local theater. After a short time in Denver we bought a 900 sq. foot blue concrete block house on eighteen acres in the mountains at 8,200 feet elevation. Large windows in the simple living room looked down a canyon to a spectacular view of Denver and the eastern plains beyond. On April 16, 1976 we were married in that little house as a blizzard rolled in. Two daughters blessed us in our little mountain top home, Sarah Anne and Katherine Grace. It quickly became apparent that two children, a large dog and a pair of adoring parents needed more room. We subdivided our land and built another home which was four times the square feet and triple the mortgage payment.
My work outside the home consisted of geological drafting for Amax Coal company followed by a position in a family business owned by my mother-in-law. Connie Mull, Inc. provided federal and state leasing services to oil and gas companies. Later I worked for several energy exploration companies in Denver.
Hank worked closer to home in Evergreen to be near our children. Hank often comments that some of his happiest days were waiting for the school bus in Conifer. While working for Apache Oil & Gas, I received my bachelor’s degree in business from Regis University in 1988. I supervised a team of lease and title analysts. This was the beginning of businesses moving from manual records to automated systems.
I was nearing the end of my graduate work at Regis when the oil boom in Denver began its decline and Apache chose to consolidate operations to Houston, Texas. It was 1992. I have never met a Texan I did not like, but many factors dictated that we stay in Colorado, not to mention my beloved mountains. My experience automating record systems enabled my transition from private industry to municipal government when I accepted a Records Manager position at the Grand Junction Police Department.
Our daughters’ ages 13 and 8 and three year old son left the mountains for the desert and a completely different lifestyle.
For 16 years we harvested cherries and raised our children on the western slope. Many of our closest friends were those we were blessed with in the Grand Valley. I am particularly proud of the 12 years I served on the board of Child and Migrant Services. This non-profit provides services to migrant workers and their families that harvest fruit in and near Palisade.
I married an adventurer. As my photo would indicate, we fished — a lot. Annual trips to Canada for walleye and northern pike were no simple excursions but fly-in outpost camps where we were dropped off by float plane miles from civilization. Our three children grumbled about the lack of TV, video games, phones and their friends, but only temporarily. Soon their imaginations took off and they invented their own entertainment and began to enjoy the company of one another.
They all speak fondly of those trips and Hank and I are forever happy that we took them for the effect it had on them year after year. Traveling with children was certainly challenging at times but gave such wonderful rewards. We enjoyed watching them appreciate what they were exposed to, whether it was the beauty of the wilderness or developing a love of theater in London.
Fly fishing took us to so many wonderful places- from the Rocky Mountains to the Andes. Our favorite remains a small stream near Gunnison that we have fished the last 10 years.
My passion was photography and the best about fishing is it takes you to the most spectacular places on earth. And what beautiful places I had the pleasure to photograph!
In 2008 we sold our home and cherry orchard and moved once again. We built another mountain home in Gunnison on the Gunnison River. I continued working for the GJPD for another eight years commuting home the 140 miles on the weekend and rooming with a friend in Grand Junction during my fourday work week. I was particularly proud to be part of the GJPD organization for 24 years. Part of my education in law enforcement was seeing the many selfless and courageous acts by law enforcement officers that never make the papers. I helped automate the crime reports that turned data into information for crime analysis and decision making purposes. I also enjoyed serving on the VALE Board providing funds to nonprofits helping victims of crime in Mesa County.
At this time in my life I am most gratified that I am still with my amazing husband of 42 years and that that my children are all happily married as well. They have blessed Hank and me with six grandchildren; Sarah and Mike Nicolas, (Brandon, 14, and Claire, 7); Katherine and Brian Story (Adillia, 2); Andrew and Davina Mull (Jayce 9, Charlie, 8 and Madison, 6). Most of all I appreciate the love of my family.
Services will be held April 21 at the Palisade Community Center located at 120 W. 8th St., Palisade, Colo., 81526, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please send Memorial Contributions in lieu of flowers to Child and Migrant Services by going to their website (http://migrantservicesgv.org) and clicking donate on the bottom right of the screen or by mail at Child and Migrant Services, PO Box 1038, Palisade, Colo., 81526.