Just a week before he died, David Mauldin went out to pick fiddleheads.

“He was very upset that he hadn’t been able to go clam digging yet,” said his wife, Karen Mauldin of Yarmouth.

Mauldin loved these outings with his wife of 41 years. They often took walks together on Crescent Beach. They watched the hawk migration at Bradbury Mountain.

Mauldin, who died Friday at the age of 64, was an avid outdoorsman who worked for years as a warden with the Maine Department of Marine Resources. After retirement, he worked in the L.L. Bean hunting and fishing department.

“He tied his own fishing flies, and he fletched his own arrows to go hunting with,” said Karen Mauldin. “He had recently taken up motorcycling again.”

Mauldin passed along his love of the outdoors to the couple’s only child, Derek Mauldin of Ashland, OR., who now works as an environmental educator. The younger Mauldin said his father “was certainly someone to look up to, for sure.”

“We used to go fishing together,” he said, “and I used to love to go to work with him when I could and ride around with him.”

David and Karen Mauldin met by accident, when he was stationed at Brunswick Naval Air Station and she was a college student. They hit it off right away. They met in January, became engaged in February, and were married in June.

“I guess if it’s right, it’s right,” Karen Mauldin said.

She said they had similar backgrounds and liked some of the same things, but credits their long marriage to maintaining separate interests as well.

“My husband liked sports, liked the outdoors” Mauldin said. “I was an English major, much more content to sit and read a book. But I think we grew to like each others’ things, as well as retaining an identity that was separate identities. That makes for a good match, I think.”

When his wife began growing orchids, for example, David Mauldin took the time to learn the names of the flowers, which ones needed to be sprayed and which ones needed shade.

After the family lost its dogs, Karen Mauldin decided to get parakeets. Her husband watched her flock grow to eight birds.

“He at first didn’t care for them at all,” she said. “But he would get up in the morning before me and take the cover off the big cage and be chirping to them. He had a wonderful, wonderful disposition and learned to like a lot of the oddball stuff I like that I never really expected him to.”

David Mauldin had a kidney transplant in 1991, after being on dialysis for four months because of an inherited medical condition. He had other health problems as well — a heart attack, and in January he had a stroke.

“He was so positive,” his wife said. “He would never let anything get him down. He would say you know, I may not recover, but I can ricochet and rebound. He just wouldn’t give up.”

Mauldin was determined to take care of his new kidney to preserve his quality of life, and when he died the transplanted organ was still working.

Mauldin rode a motorcycle when he was first married, and after his kidney transplant he decided to take up motorcycling again. He bought a Harley Davidson, but after his stroke he found his balance wasn’t what it used to be. He convinced his wife that they should take the bike to West Virginia and have a third wheel added.

Mauldin was able to ride 500 more miles before he died.

“I’m just so happy that we did it,” Karen Mauldin said. “I think when you have a lot of adversity you need to say, OK what can I do that will make me feel better about this?”

 

Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

[email protected]