Kathy Mullins and Bob Mullins truly raised a beautiful son, actually four beautiful children.
And that loving family, friends, and the Lynn English High School community gave a tremendous farewell to Douglas Adam Mullins at St. Pius Church on Oct. 23.
Douglas Mullins, head coach of the Lynn English baseball team and a lifelong resident of Lynn, died at his home surrounded by his family on Oct. 17. He was 34.
As the funeral Mass was being conducted inside the church, more than 200 students stood outside in a heartfelt tribute to this remarkable young man who had so gallantly waged his fight against cancer. There were student-athletes from the state championship Lynn English basketball team led by Antonio Anderson, the NEC champion girls basketball team led by Mackenzie Charles, and Douglas Mullins’ own Lynn English baseball team that was expected to contend for a title under its new coach.
Joe Caponigro, who recommended the promotion of Doug Mullins to the head coaching position after observing his outstanding work as an assistant coach, stood respectfully outside the church as well. Vice Principal Gary Molea who joined Caponigro in organizing this thoughtful student-led tribute to Doug, stood among the large crowd.
Members of Dreek Dana’s St. Mary’s baseball program, where Douglas Mullins had been an assistant coach on the 2015 state championship team, were in attendance as well.
Also outside was Lynn English High School Director of Athletics Dick Newton, who hired Douglas Mullins to be the Bulldogs’ baseball coach.
“Doug Mullins was a wonderful guy and a first-class coach,” said Newton. “He always looked at things in a positive way and was a man of integrity. The Lynn English community loved him as was shown by the tremendous turnout by students and coaches from the entire Lynn English Athletic Department at his funeral. His passing is a tremendous loss for all that were fortunate enough to meet him.”
Eric McGrath, a teammate and friend at Lynn Classical High School, praised Douglas Mullins in remarks following the funeral Mass.
“Doug was a great teammate and fierce competitor,” said McGrath. “More importantly, he was a great friend. He will be missed by so many of us in the Lynn community. He battled pain in that shoulder since he was 17, hardly complaining and maintaining a positive outlook despite oftentimes being in agony. We are all fortunate to have had him in our lives for the time we did. Seeing Dougie immerse himself into coaching at the American Legion and high school levels, starting at St. Mary’s and then taking over his own program at Lynn English made me so proud to call him a close friend. He is the only person that could ever get me to root for Lynn English! I along with so many will miss him and will forever have a void in our lives without him. With that said, I am certain he will still make us smile and laugh when thinking about the memories we had with him,” concluded McGrath.
A Procession to the Cemetery where Parting Words were said
Led by a police escort, a large funeral procession continued on to Pine Grove Cemetery where Doug’s three older siblings, brother David, 36, and sisters Becky, 39, and Jennifer, 37, delivered the parting words in honor of their “great” brother.
David spoke about his brother’s competitiveness and his desire to win as an athlete. Doug had begun his baseball career in Wyoma Little League and continued to play the game he loved in Lynn Babe Ruth and at Lynn Classical High School before he started coaching.
“Before cancer, Doug and I got to enjoy life together. Growing up as kids, Doug was a great brother and we’ve always had each other’s backs,” said David. “Together we were very competitive – Doug loved to win and he loved to have fun. And in his 34 years of life, I’ve honestly never seen him quit at anything that he’s ever done.
“Doug truly was a special person. He was goofy yet sincere, a rare combination. He was also an extremely caring person, He cared so much about his family, his friends, his girlfriend, his coaching staff, his student-athletes, and his dog, Jade,
And Doug let us know how much he cared about us up until the very end.
“For 16 months, I watched my brother fight cancer. He fought tooth and nail through all those things and never complained. He still made time for his family and friends, still attended functions, handled responsibilities and had a positive attitude and stayed true to himself.
“I think everyone deserves to know how incredibly strong and incredibly strong willed he was up until his last breath. And now he doesn’t have to suffer or fight any more.
“Our family will always love and miss you, Dougie. Until we meet again, little brother – I love you.”
Becky Stephanakis told the gathering at the cemetery that at first she felt she “wouldn’t want to say much but 10 minutes later dozens of thoughts flooded my brain all at once.”
“I think the first thought was how awful it was going to be standing here burying my baby brother. There’s just something wrong with it. He’s younger than all his siblings and should outlive us all. And then my second was, “I still want to do it,’ so here we are in this unimaginable situation that no one had any control over, even Doug.
“And now in death, we turn to honor him on not just today, but all the days ahead,” said Becky. “He was my baby brother and he was always that to me. We have five years between us and it was just enough for me to pretend that he was actually my baby.
“I would invite friends over and show him off to them. They would all want the blonde, curly-haired toddler as their baby. I remember the day they brought him home from the hospital. From that moment on, he was the fun, lovable, beautiful boy that had the best personality. He never changed. He was carefree and one of the most forgiving people I’ve ever known.
“He was special to us and throughout his life, he became special to so many people. There was just something about him.”
Becky talked about the tenacity and courage in which her brother fought his battle against cancer.
“He has a bigger purpose in Heaven know,” said Becky. “God needed him for something. Everyone has a legacy and Doug’s legacy speaks for itself.”
Jenny Melanson said of her brother, “Doug was always the one to make us laugh, even through some of the hardest times. He fought this horrible disease with everything he had. He never gave up.
“He can be proud of the strong fighter and the person that he was. Our children always looked up to him and now they have a Guardian Angel.
“I love you, Doug,” said Jenny in concluding in her remarks.
Mother Nature provided a warm, sunny October day for the farewell to Douglas Mullins, a day that would have been perfect for baseball.
“He loved all sports but baseball was his passion,” said his mother, Kathy Mullins. “But coaching was actually more his passion than playing sports.”
Kathy Mullins said she was thankful for the amazing tribute paid to her son during the observances that were under the professional administration of Solimine Funeral Homes.
“That was a very nice tribute to Doug, for sure,” said Kathy Mullins.