Herbert Mulkey

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Herbert Samuel Mulkey, 91, died at his home Monday, March 7, 2011, in Cape Girardeau.

He was born May 23, 1919, in Cypress, Ill., to Ida and Herbert Samuel Mulkey Sr.

Mulkey attended Cypress Grade and High School, finishing at Anna-Jonesboro High School (class of 1937). He then attended Southeast Missouri State University (class of 1942) on a full-ride scholarship for basketball and track.

He married Betty Jo Taylor of Vienna, Ill., Oct. 9, 1943, in Hollywood, Calif. They had four children, Alan Mulkey of Apache Junction, Ariz., Jana Williams of Grand Rapids, Mich., Ann Farley of Mount Vernon, Ill., and Lynn Ellen Mulkey (deceased).

Herb's wife, Betty; an infant daughter; his parents; and a sister, Rudell (Woody) Childers, preceded him in death.

He later married the former Joan Fear of Anna, Ill., on March 24, 1999, in Hopkinsville, Ky.

He is survived by his wife, Joan; children, Alan (Joyce) Mulkey, Jana (Jimmy) Williams and Ann (David) Farley; grandchildren, Kaitlin (Tom) Stearns of Florissant, Mo., Kirsten Farley and Harry (Crystal) Mulkey of Mount Vernon, Christy Ann, Heather, Danny and Chrissi Lynn of Arizona; stepchildren, LaDonna Clymore of Anna, Phil (Beth) Goines of Shawneetown, Ill., Tom (Michelle) Goines of Cypress; stepgrandchildren, Kim Clymore of Joliet, Ill., Valerie (Andy) Rhymer of Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Michael Goines of Cypress, Heather Goines of Marion, Ill.; and seven great-stepgrandchildren. A granddaughter, Kaitlin, is expecting his first great-grandchild, a boy, in July.

He was inducted into Southeast Missouri State University Hall of Fame in October 2003 for his outstanding track and basketball achievements. He qualified for the Olympics in 1942, but was denied the chance because of World War II. He held the high jump record of 6 feet 6 3/4 inches with the "Western Roll" technique at Southeast University the next 20 years until the technique was changed nationwide.

He entered the Navy on active duty Sept. 3, 1942, and received his flight wings from the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla. After being discharged from the Navy July 8, 1943, he entered the U.S. Marine Corps as second lieutenant July 9, 1943, and was a fighter pilot in World War II. He flew the SPD-5 Dauntless dive bomber.

On March 10, 1945, he was shot down in the Pacific Ocean, and he and his gunner spent nine and a half hours in a life raft at sea before being rescued. Herb was sent to a naval hospital in the Philippine Islands to recover. He was later discharged from the Marines on May 1, 1946.

Herb taught school and coached football, basketball, and track at Arthur High School in Arthur, Ill. He later sold insurance for Prudential Insurance Co. Along with his wife, Betty, he owned and managed a restaurant, "Mulkey's," on Broadway in Cape Girardeau in 1947. His janitorial sales career started with Churchill Co. in 1956. In 1972 he became co-owner of Chemical Maintenance Inc. In 1976 he started and owned Southern Chemical Co. in Mount Vernon. He sold his company in 1986 and was still working part-time for the company up until his death.

He was a member of American Legion, AMVETS, VFW Post 3838 of Cape Girardeau, and was a lifetime member of Arthur Masonic Lodge 825 in Arthur. In 1970 he was instrumental in annexing the Summersville community into the city of Mount Vernon.

Herb was a highly respected, courageous and compassionate individual. His love of life and pride for his family will never be forgotten. He will be dearly missed.

Wilson Funeral Home in Karnak, Ill., is in charge of funeral arrangements.

A private family visitation will be held at the funeral home Thursday.

A graveside service will be held at his request at Masonic Cemetery in Cypress. Military rites will be conducted. All friends wishing to attend the graveside service should arrive by 11 a.m. Thursday. The Rev. Steve Heisner will officiate.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his honor to Southeast Missouri State University Athletic Booster Club, 1 University Plaza, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701; American Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate, Memorial & Tributes Program, Dept. 77-3968, Chicago, IL 60678-3968; American Diabetes Association, 9440 Manchester Road 104, St. Louis, MO 63119; or National Kidney Foundation, 215 W. Illinois, Suite 1C, Chicago, IL 60610.