After a long and happy life, Elizabeth Mullens died peacefully at home in Owen Sound, with family at her side on November 19, age 95. She is mourned by her husband of 71 years Dr. James Edward (Ted) Mullens, her four daughters, and all the many other family and friends who loved her.
The fourth of seven children of Fred and Muriel Middleton, raised on Whitehall Farm near Clinton ON, she was Betty in childhood and Liz as an adult. Her strong Middleton roots instilled in her resourcefulness, adaptability, and humor. She was pre-deceased by her beloved siblings Marg, Kay, Ted, Barb, Don, and Dave.
Awarded a scholarship to the University of Western Ontario, she studied sciences, and there met medical student Ted Mullens. Ted always said her grounded, practical nature gave him the foundation that enabled him to succeed.
Ted and Liz married in 1950 and over the next decade welcomed daughters Claire, Jean, Anne, and Mary. Prior to the first birth, Liz worked at the Collip Lab at UWO and the Banting Institute at the University of Toronto, and, in later years at UoT’s Academy of Medicine Library. However, the job of wife, mother, and running the Mullens’ household was to her the most important, which she did with love, care, and almost scientific precision and organization.
She could turn leftovers into culinary art. She created delicious meals out of damp cans from the hold of the family sailboat, standing in a heeled galley over a gimbaled stove.
She embraced Ted’s love of sailing with vigor. In winter, skiing replaced sailing and Liz carved turns on the slopes with Ted until age 85.
Ted’s surgical career took them from Toronto, to Hamilton, to Ottawa, back to Toronto, and finally to active retirement in Owen Sound. There she enjoyed many community activities such as the Bluewater Association for Lifelong Learning, the CFUW, the museum, the art gallery, and the symphony.
Liz was dearly loved by their daughters’ partners: Steve Baker, Andy Coburn, Keith Baldrey, and Tim McGee. She is survived by 10 beloved grandchildren: Nathan (Maylin), Meredith (Stuart), and Erik Baker; Hilary (Arthur), Adrienne (Dan), and Heather (Alex) Coburn; Kate and Madeline (Shaun) Baldrey; and Charlotte (Connor) and Fraser McGee. She was recently blessed with two great-grandchildren with more on the way. She leaves numerous nieces and nephews for whom she had great respect and affection.
As a mother and grandma, she had a calm, loving presence that gave each child her full attention and positive regard. Washing dishes and making beds was not a chore with her; it was what you did before a cottage swim.
She will be lovingly missed, but she is carried within each of us as we marvel at a sunset or the pleasure of a sunny day. As a young Nathan noted: “Beautiful Day, Grandma say.”
A tree-planting and Celebration of Life will be planned in the spring when weather and COVID allow. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Bruce Peninsula Hospital Foundation (bphfoundation.com) or Georgian Bay Symphony (georgianbaysymphony.ca) would be greatly appreciated.