Juanita “Nita” A. Mullen died peacefully of natural causes at the age of 97 years and 5 months at the Carlton Senior Living Center, Fremont, California, on August 8, 2017. A longtime resident of Southern Alameda County, she called Fremont home for nearly six decades.
A native of Arkansas, Juanita was the first child of her parents Ira F. and Laura E. Baker. Over the decade following her birth, four more brothers and sisters were added to the growing family. The family moved several times during the intervening years within the South Central and the Southwestern regions of the United States, finally joining other extended family members in California’s Central Valley during the early 1930’s. A member of the 1938 class of Lodi Union High School, she furthered her education and training in religious studies in the Seattle area after graduation. During the World War II era, she worked in a number of civilian positions supporting the war effort, among those including a job at San Francisco Port of Embarkation, US Army, Fort Mason.
While living in San Francisco, she met her future husband, John R. Mullen, in the US Navy at the time. They were married in San Francisco at the end of 1945. After John left the Navy in 1946, the couple returned to John’s native Illinois so that John could complete his college degree at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Their first son, Don, was born at that time. The family of three moved back to California in the Sacramento area in the late 1940’s. A son Bob and daughter Jean were added to the Mullen family during residence in Sacramento. After a decade plus in the state capital, the now family of five moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and settled in Fremont in the late 1950’s. Her youngest child, a son John “Jack”, was born in Fremont.
During Juanita’s married life, her family was her most important focus - a stay-at-home-mom in modern parlance. In the 50’s and 60’s, as more neighborhood women joined the workforce, there were often more extra kids at the house after school than her own four. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and her mother’s birthday in September were especially important times for family and friends to get together. John was a cartographer for the US Geological Survey for his entire professional work career; the couple made many lifelong friends during this period. After John retired, they enjoyed traveling together in the Western United States and Canada. In later years Juanita delighted in working in her rose and vegetable gardens, completing many sewing projects, doing volunteer work for St. Joseph’s Parish, and doting on her grandchildren.
Juanita is survived by her daughter Jean (son-in-law Chuck Neddersen), sons Don, Bob (daughter-in-law Lijia), John (daughter-in-law Tammy); sister Clara Barnhardt; grandchildren Kelly, Patrick, Peter, Jarrett, Johnathan, Megan, Ben, and Chris; great grandchildren Zach, Case, Evan, and Fiona. She is preceded in death by her husband John, sister Ann, and bothers Benjamin and Frank.
The service for Juanita will be held in the Mission San Jose Church at 9AM on August 12, 2017. Burial will follow at the Irvington Memorial Cemetery in Fremont’s Irvington District; there will be a reception after in Warm Springs. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Juanita’s name to your favorite charity or cause. The family would like to thank the staff of the Fremont Carlton Senior Living, Vitas Hospice, and Helen Campbell for their dedication involving Juanita’s care over the last number of months.
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there - I do not sleep.
I am the thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints in snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
As you awake with morning's hush
I am the swift-up-flinging rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there - I did not die.