William Joseph Mulkeen, 73, died peacefully on Friday, September 11.
Born March 19, 1947 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Bill was among the first wave of Baby Boomers born after World War II. His father, also William, served in the Counter Intelligence Corp. during the war and went on to become police chief of Elizabeth, a city that four generations of the family called home.
Bill’s mother, Margaret, worked as a librarian at St. Genevieve Grammar School, which Bill attended as a child and which his children later attended. Young Bill spent summers at the Jersey Shore, and was especially close to his grandfather, August Reinfurt, a son of German immigrants and retired machinist for Singer Sewing Machines.
After grammar school, Bill went on to graduate from Seton Hall Preparatory School in 1965, Seton Hall University in 1969, and Seton Hall Law School in 1973. He worked for Chemical Bank, participating in its senior management training program, and having multiple run-ins with celebrities — from Big Bird to Andy Warhol, whom, Bill says, he taught to write a check.
After Chemical Bank, Bill went on to become an attorney and college educator. He loved the law and ran a private practice for over 25 years. He also served as a special counsel to the city of Elizabeth, and he taught criminal justice at Thomas Edison College, Essex County College, and Community College of Philadelphia. He also served as president of the American Association for Paralegal Education.
But even more than he loved the law, Bill adored his family. He met Mary Doyle in his early 20s at a meeting of the Young Democrats of Elizabeth, where she was handing out cool Coca-Colas on a hot summer day. Bill enjoyed a cool drink, so he took one and offered her a ride home. The two married in 1969, having a daughter, Abby Lynn, in 1976, and a son, William Patrick, six years later. Mary, a beloved operating nurse at Overlook Medical Center, died in 2005, leaving Bill behind after over 36 years of marriage.
Though he missed Mary dearly, Bill led an active life after her death. He was a season ticket holder for Seton Hall basketball games, and loved theater and live music, including Motown and Bruce Springsteen — most recently, he saw “The Boss” on Broadway. Bill also embraced the role of grandpa after Abby had her daughter, Frances Ruth Mulkeen, in 2017. He never let more than a few minutes pass by without telling her “Grandpa loves you!” His other granddaughter, Mary Ryan, was born four months before he died and he dearly loved her bright eyes.
In addition to his two children and two grandchildren, Bill is survived by his daughters-in-law Celeste and Erin and his brother, Thomas. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Seton Hall Preparatory School. https://www.shp.org/giving/make-a-gift
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