September 5, 2009
William Felder Mullis, a retired electrical engineer and decorated World War II Marine, died of prostate cancer at a stepdaughter’s Abingdon home. He was 89.
Mr. Mullis, the son of a schoolteacher-farmer and a homemaker, was born in Eastman, Ga., and raised on a farm near Macon, Ga.
He graduated from Chauncey High School, and when he enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1939, he listed his occupation as “farm hand.”
His job summary stated that he “prepared soil, planted, cultivated and harvested cotton, corn, potatoes, tobacco, peanuts, vegetables; plowed with a team of horses; tended livestock; milked cows; and slaughtered hogs.”
Assigned to the Pacific, Mr. Mullis saw heavy action during the Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal campaigns, where he fought at the famous Battle of Bloody Ridge with the 1st Marine Division.
Mr. Mullis, who attained the rank of sergeant, was decorated with two Purple Hearts.
After the war, Mr. Mullis attended Southern College of Technology, now Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Ga., on the GI Bill of Rights, and he earned a degree in electrical engineering in 1948.
He went to work that year for the Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in Gaithersburg. He retired in 1978.
Mr. Mullis lived for 40 years on his 15-acre farm in Damascus, where he continued farming.
“He was also a world traveler, hunter, fisherman, camper and a Republican,” said a stepdaughter, Carol “Candy” Carr-Smith of Abingdon.
Services were held Aug. 30 at the McComas Funeral Home in Abingdon. Interment will be held at 11 a.m. Sept. 30 at Arlington National Cemetery.
Also surviving are his wife of 41 years, the former Anne Elizabeth Huber; a son, Lyndon Mullis of Lawrence, Kan.; two other daughters, Sharon Wehling of Nixa, Mo., and Diana Sanderson of Lincolnville, Maine; a stepson, David Nails of Dallas, Texas; five brothers, Parker Nue Mullis of Jesup, Ga., Gilbert R. Mullis of Beach Island, S.C., Joel D. Mullis, Doyce E. Mullis and Bryce Mullis, all of Eastman; a sister, Mildred L. Stuckey of Fort Valley, Ga.; 13 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. An earlier marriage ended in divorce.
Copyright © 2009, The Baltimore Sun