Mullis, Wayne N.

Today, the best of the Carolinas’ high school football stars will play their hearts out down in Rock Hill to win the 66th Shrine Bowl. They’ll be missing an integral part, though.

Wayne N. Mullis, who for more than 15 years worked to help the reporters in the press box at the annual game, died of cancer July 28.A lot of people will miss him, and so will a lot of places. The kids at the Shriners Hospital for Crippled and Burned Children in Greenville, S.C., will certainly feel his loss. Places such as Mint Hill – and its Mint Hill Madness Festival – will notice the lack  of his drive, his creativeness, his can-do-it-ness. But his absence will be perhaps most keenly felt today in all the Shrine Bowl hoopla.


Press box concierge

“He made sure everybody had everything they needed,” said Harvey Burgess, executive director of the Oasis Shriners. “He was sort of the concierge of the press box. Basically, he was charged with the duty of making sure all reporters were happy.”

He combined two of his passions to benefit crippled and burned children. He loved golf, loved the Shriners, and so was a founder of the Charlotte area’s Oasis Shrine Golf Club about six years ago. It assumed the operation of the annual 13-year-old fund-raiser, renamed the Wayne Mullis/Shriners’ Hospital Invitational Golf Tournament. That event alone has earned more than $500,000 for the hospitals.

Wayne was a charter member of Mint Hill Lodge No. 742, where he was named Mason of the Year in 2001. In 1994,  he earned the Walt Disney Award, the Shriners’ highest.

“He was a great guy,” said fellow Shriner French Harvey. “A lot of folks called him `Mr. Shriner.’ Anytime you want something done, he is the one to call on. He was a salesman and could talk anybody into anything – he had a knack for doing that that some people don’t.”

“Wayne was a Scottish Rite Mason and Shriner extraordinaire,” his friend and fellow golf promoter G.T. Godwin said in an October issue of the Masonic magazine, Desert Dust. “There will never be another with a heart so big and a dedication so strong as brother Wayne.”


`A good example’

Harvey agreed that Wayne “espoused the virtues of this organization and was himself a good example of it.”

He was also a good example of what a gentleman should be, says his wife, Elaine.

“He was such a gentleman, he really was. He treated me with the most respect; he was so considerate. There was not a selfish bone in his body – he was always thinking of me.

“He was very polite, sweet and had a wonderful personality. He had a smile for everyone.”

Wayne and Elaine Hood went to East Mecklenburg High School, but didn’t date until her junior and his senior year. “He walked me to classes,” she said, “and gave me a lot of confidence. He made me feel good about myself.”

Wayne gave Elaine a white orchid wrist corsage for the Senior Prom, and she wore a white, off-the-shoulder gown her mother had made.

He was voted Most Popular  his senior year and wrote in Elaine’s high school annual, “Someday I would love to be with you always.”

They married in 1956 and daughter Nevelyn came along in 1958.

When Wayne died, Nevelyn told her mom, “He had so many friends and knew everybody, no matter where we traveled. God must have needed a PR man in heaven.”

If he did, Nevelyn, he certainly got the best.

Paper: Charlotte Observer, The (NC)
Author: GERRY HOSTETLER, Staff Writer
Date: December 21, 2002
Section: METRO
Page: 2B

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