William E. Mulkern

PORTLAND – William E. Mulkern died unexpectedly on Feb. 17, 2021. He was born in Portland on Nov. 2, 1939, a son of Robert and Jane Roach Mulkern. Bill spent most of his life surrounded by water, on the water, or near the water. Raised on Peaks Island, he entered the Coast Guard Reserves as a teenager and retired as a CWO4 BOSN (Chief Warrant Officer 4 Boatswain) after 30 years’ service.

He finished his USCG career on another island, Governors Island, N.Y. Following his retirement from the USCG, he was a captain of the Frye Island Ferry on Sebago Lake for 20 years while working concurrently in security for Hannaford Brothers for 16 years.

There was always “water, water, everywhere” for Bill, as he lived for the rest of his life in what Longfellow called “the beautiful town that is seated by the sea.”

As captain of three USCG vessels: Pendant, Yankton, and Apalachee, Bill would never tell civilians anything about his work (he didn’t consider Uncle Sam’s business any of theirs), which during his tenure as captain of those ships involved law enforcement, search and rescue patrols, firefighting, and light icebreaking. He was also commander of Coast Guard Station Rockland for four years.

Upon the decommissioning of the Apalachee, Bill was appointed Special Service Officer on Governors Island, N.Y., where one of his responsibilities was preparing for Liberty Weekend, an historic event for the 100th birthday and celebration of the restoration of the Statue of Liberty, with President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan and heads of state from around the world attending. Since all the televised events with the dignitaries would take place on the island, he had to see that stages, ramps, etc. were properly built and installed, oversee transportation for the dignitaries and television crews, and in in general, make things run smoothly.

Prior to rising to the aforementioned leadership positions, he served on the icebreaker Eastwind, on which he went to Antarctica, the cutter Evergreen, on which he went to the North Pole on ice patrol, and buoy tenders Spar and White Heath, which serviced buoys marking channels, to allow boats and ships to navigate safely. They sometimes had other missions as well, such as search and rescue, drug interdiction, and light icebreaking.

Bill’s Coast Guard career took him places near and far: from the coast of Maine’s Popham Beach, Boothbay Harbor, and Cape Elizabeth to Greenland; Panama; Valparaiso, Chile; New Zealand; Pitcairn Island; the Arctic Circle; the Antarctic Circle; Antarctica; Edinburg, Scotland; Bremerhaven and Hamburg, Germany; and Reykjavik, Iceland. His career took him to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the North Sea, the Arctic Ocean, and Sebago Lake. Bill was one of the lucky ones who have seen polar bears playing on the ice at the North Pole and penguins on the South Pole.

Bill is survived by his sister, Barbara Carmone, of Portland, brother, Robert Mulkern, and wife, Susan, of Plymouth Mass.; nephew, Michael Mulkern, and wife, Lindsay, and their daughters, Madison and Ashley, of Plymouth Mass.; niece, Kara Papaefthimiou, and husband, Alex, and son, Niko, of Camarillo Calif.; nephew, Kyle Carmone, and children, Liam and Maggie, of New York City; niece, Erica Carmone, of Portland; nephew, Jeremy Carmone, and wife, Patty, of Los Angeles; grandniece, Leandra Bryant, and husband Will, and daughters, Serena Sage and Lorena Jane, of Austin Texas; grandnephew, Steele Smith, of Los Angeles; niece, Andy Carmone, and husband, Sarthak Das, and sons, Shanta, Amani, and Ameya, of Singapore; best friends, Michael and Marion Potoczak, of Taunton Mass., and son Michael, and wife, Maura, and children, Miles and Sloane, of Saudi Arabia; daughter, Nicole Desir, and husband, James, and children, Damarri and Derjaya, of Plano. Texas.

Bill will now be joyfully reunited with the late, beautiful Maddie, a most discerning dog who bonded instantly with Bill while turning up her snout at most bipeds, and the late, majestic Milo, who lived for his daily rides with Bill along the Promenade and down the waterfront. Little Zuma, who survives his loving master, is doing his best to deal with this confusing loss.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at Holy Martyrs Church, 266 Foreside Rd., Falmouth. Interment will follow at Evergreen Cemetery, Portland. Arrangements by Jones, Rich and Barnes. You may offer your condolences or share your fond memories at http://www.jonesrichandbarnes.com.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be live streamed on Holy Martyrs website https://pothe.org/holy-martyrs-falmouth and on the Facebook page for Jones, Rich and Barnes Funeral Home that will also have the interment live.

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