By Kathy Fanger
“All it takes is one good person to restore hope.” -Pope Francis
Our last article highlighted Rose Zukas’ humble, faithful service to her church. She left a legacy that had a profound effect, mirroring Mother Teresa’s words: “Do small things with great love.”
Here we spotlight a woman veteran whose service to her country also had a profound effect on many. Mary Ellen Bray shares the legacy story of her mother who believed in
DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY.
Jean Therese Mulloy
WWII Navy Veteran
In 1943, Jean Therese Mulloy, youngest girl of 12 children from an Irish Catholic family in San Francisco, felt called “to do something for the war effort.” At 25 years old, and following the lead of her four older brothers, she returned home from her job and announced to her parents, “I have enlisted in the Navy!” Her parents were so proud.
Jean’s first position was in a US Naval office in Washington, D.C. When asked about her clerical job, Jean would quip, “It’s my main function to keep up the morale of the armed forces.” Her encouraging words affected hundreds of servicemen and women.
Jean had beautiful voice, having sung on the radio in earlier years. She entertained at many military parties and gatherings, lifting their spirits. Jean knew all the lyrics of war and popular songs, like Boogie, Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B), Sentimental Journey, It’s been a Long, Long Time. Jean had many requests and could sing every one of them.
Jean was promoted to Seaman Second Class, during which time she met an Army corporal at a military dance in Virginia. They married. Jean soon became pregnant. He was shipped to Germany while Jean continued working in D.C. She eventually brought their daughter to Germany to meet her father.
Jean had a deep sadness in not being able to receive the sacraments (her husband was not Catholic). The couple decided to separate because of her devout faith. Jean returned to San Francisco, pregnant with their second child, to become a single, struggling parent, and worked for the US Marine Corp.
Jean always sought positions in Civil Service: Alameda Naval Air Station, Oakland Army Terminal and finally Oakland Naval Hospital.
When Jean died at 93, Mary Ellen and her husband, Doug, visited several public cemeteries and considered the military cemetery in Colma. Yet when they entered Gate of Heaven Cemetery, they loved the ambiance and prominence of the Veteran’s Section. They selected a niche by the roadside. “I feel my mom is the first one to greet us and others who drive through.”
At Jean’s Committal Service, a relative asked, “Why would you have ever considered anywhere else?” The extended family gathers on special occasions to picnic under the huge willow tree, (her mom’s favorite!) near her Veteran niche. One member asked, “Can’t we always have our family gatherings here?”
Mary Ellen and Doug love the veneration given to the veterans on Memorial Day, Flag Day and Veterans Day. At last year’s Veterans’ Tribute and Memorial Day Mass, they were selected to place the military wreath below the US Navy Flag in honor of her mother’s service to her country.
Our next article will share Jean’s same passion and sense of duty toward her family and her Church. “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for his friend.” John 15:13
Pre-Planning Your Christian Burial
30 minute presentation after Masses
• June 4-5 Five Wounds Parish
1375 E. Santa Clara Street, San Jose
• June 11-12 Queen of Apostles Parish
4911 Moorpark Avenue, San Jose
• June 11-12 Christ the King Parish
5284 Monterey Road, San Jose
Learn about Catholic funeral rites and burial options. Give the gift of peace of mind by pre-planning your funeral or that of a loved one. For more information, call (650) 428-3730 x508 or visit, www.ccdsj.org.