Craig Mulligan, 89, of Portsmouth RI passed away on January 18, 2020 at the Royal Nursing Facility in Middletown RI. Born January 3, 1931 (1-3-31) in Attleboro MA he was the beloved husband of the late Arlene (Sullivan) Mulligan. The son of the late Bazil B. Mulligan Sr and Fannie Craig Mulligan, he was also the step-son of the late Cecelia Monahan Mulligan. He is survived by his sisters Harriett Bullock of Attleboro MA, Margaret O’Brien and her husband John of Medford MA and Mary-Alice Yablonskie and her husband Robert of Milton MA and by his dear niece, Nancy Harrington of Portsmouth RI. He is also survived by many other much-loved nieces and nephews and great and great-great nieces and nephews. He was the brother of the late Bazil B. Mulligan Jr. He is also survived by a strong network of friends stretching back to his childhood in Attleboro and including his wonderful colleagues in the Swansea MA school system.
Craig attended school in Attleboro MA and was a 1948 graduate of Attleboro High School. A 1952 graduate of Georgetown University he later received his Masters of Education from both Bridgewater State College and Rhode Island College. A graduate of Officers Candidate School, Newport, he served on active duty for five years followed by twelve years of reserve duty. He loved his time in the Navy and he loved the Navy and this country. Of all his baseball hats, his Navy one was the favorite. And flying the Stars and Stripes was part of his daily routine at his own home.
A math teacher in the Swansea MA school system for 34 ½ years, he retired on his 63 rd birthday, January 3, 1994. He made friends among both faculty and students. In recent years one of his former students was his occupational therapist and claimed he was the best teacher she ever had at least in part because he made it fun! Fellow teachers became lifelong friends and were regular visitors.
In retirement he volunteered as a driver for cancer patients and also did hospice work. He and Arlene played tennis and had an active social life with many friends and family.
A longtime resident of Swansea, in 1996 Craig and Arlene undertook the renovation of the Portsmouth home Arlene had grown up in on Brownell Lane. A labor of love, they were happy with the results and their years there were good ones.
Running was a huge part of Craig’s life. He competed in over 225 road races and a dozen marathons. A frequent competitor in the Ocean State Marathon he also ran two Boston Marathons, including the 100th anniversary race in 1996. His other great sporting love was baseball and maybe as much as baseball, the challenge of visiting as many parks as possible and paying as little as possible for tickets. For many years, starting as kids, he and three Attleboro friends—Howie O’Hare, Lou Larmay and Ray Boucher- were baseball fanatics and planned summer trips around visiting as many major league parks as possible. Truly the boys of summer.
Aside from baseball trips, Craig and Arlene loved travel of all sorts. Early in their marriage they drove cross-country three times. Broadening their horizons, they visited Ireland four times, traveled to France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, England, Italy and Greece with their good friends Howie and Jette O’Hare, escaped the cold in Florida, St Martin, Aruba, Antigua, Barbados, St Lucia, the Dominican Republic and Hawaii. They managed to fit in Alaska and later in their traveling years developed a love for river cruising on a variety of European rivers.
Although he and Arlene did not have children of their own, Craig was everyone’s favorite uncle and he loved nothing better than attending a gathering and playing with the kids. Once he had them all on “High C” he would announce his departure leaving the parents to deal with the aftermath!
After his wife’s death he lived at Atria Aquidneck Place assisted living in Portsmouth for three and a half years. Greatly bereaved at Arlene’s death and suffering early stages of dementia he and Atria were a wonderful fit. He made new friends with staff and residents, loved the many social opportunities and was ready to sign up for pretty much any activity offered. Asked how he was doing the inevitable reply was “A-number-1 never better”. After his recent decline he moved to Royal Nursing Home in Middletown where some of his unique personality still appeared. The family is grateful for the care and friendship he received at both Atria and Royal and for the care he also received from Visiting Nurse Home and Hospice.
Calling hours for Craig will be held on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, from 4:00 pm-7:00 pm at the Connors Funeral Home, 55 West Main Road, Portsmouth.
Funeral services will continue the following morning at 9:30 AM from the funeral home, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 AM at St. Anthony’s Church, 2836 East Main Road, Portsmouth. Burial will follow at Portsmouth Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to the Vernon Gorton Jr. Memorial Fund, 45 Springer Ave, Tiverton, RI 02878.