June 1, 1950 –July 7, 2015
Frank Mullen, 65, died at the UW Medical Center on July 7, 2015, surrounded by his family, after a battle with cancer.
A celebration of Frank’s life will be held at Soldotna Creek Park at 3 p.m. July 31.
Born in Anchorage on June 1, 1950, Frank was the son of Soldotna homesteaders Frank Sr. and Marge Mullen. He grew up in his family’s small log cabin near where Soldotna Creek empties into the Kenai River.
Frank spent his youth fishing in the creek, helping his family’s farm and business, and delivering papers on his bike throughout Soldotna. He began commercial fishing at age 14 and fished every year after that — his last year fishing in 2014 was his 50th year on the inlet.
Frank graduated from Kenai Central High School and earned his bachelor’s degree later in life from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. He sometimes joked he majored in berrypicking. Truly, Frank was a self-taught, creative, lifelong learner with a zest for the good life for himself and others.
In his 20s, he was a young Alaskan “hippie” with long hair, building log cabins in remote areas, farming and fishing and blazing the way for freedom and fairness. In his 30s he was involved in local politics and served three terms on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly and inspired many young and talented politicians.
In the 1980s, he and his then-wife Janis opened the first computer store in Soldotna. When the Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred, he became involved in clean water issues and learned how to write plans for oil spill cleanup. He was a tireless advocate for salmon and commercial fishing.
In addition to serving on the board of the United Cook Inlet Drift Association, Frank was always working to develop solutions to problems ranging from fish conservation to marine navigation and safety. He moved to Homer in 2004 where he opened his Raymond James office. He served on the board of Haven House and actively supported many organizations especially Cook Inletkeeper whose mission he strongly believed in.
Frank was a poet, writer, homegrown Alaskan Democrat, extremely hard worker, traveler, entrepreneur and impassioned husband, son, brother, father and friend. The presence of his big heart, fantastic sense of humor, gusto for life, and incredibly selfless, generous nature will be missed by all that he touched. He inspired and cared for many people who loved him.
He is survived by his wife, Debbie, of Homer; mother Margie; sisters Eileen, Peggy and Mary; his children Conor, Ashley and Claire; and grandchildren Thor, Anna, Evelyn, Amina, Izaak and Gavin; as well as stepchildren, Stacey and Clayton. He was a father-figure to many.
“In honor of Frank, love and support your local commercial fishing families, the wonderful Alaskan people, rivers, streams, ocean and salmon, and all the beauty that surrounds us. Work to protect these treasures,” wrote his family. Donations in his honor can be made to Cook Inletkeeper.
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