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  • Lois Perkins, family friend

    May 9, 2007 at 9:10 am

    I knew and loved Ted through my kids and now feel a continued connection through Ted's family. As Ted's family knows, I was fortunate enough to attend the Kentucky Derby this year, Ted's birthday. Ted was never far from my mind and I can certainly see why Ted loved the Derby!

    Ted's swimteam mates said that Ted's motto was 'leave it all in the pool'. Street Sense, winner of this year's Derby, showed the same spirit. He came from 19th place to win by over two lenghts, an electrifying race over a very talented group of horses. As Street Sense walked back to the barns at the end of the race and the awards, his head hung low and he plodded along. He was one tired horse who had given it his all, who had left it all on the track. I watched as men and women cheered his passing, not speaking a word, tears falling quietly as a real champion passed; tears and clapping from even those who bet against him.

    A Derby champion fitting of Ted and all that Ted exemplified. Happy Birthday, Ted! - Lois

  • Happy Birthday, Ted!!!

    May 7, 2007 at 10:12 am
    May 5, 2007
    Dear Friends,
    Twenty-three years ago today Ted came into our family at 6:02 a.m. on a chilly spring Saturday in Chicago. In Louisville, Kentucky, my hometown, it was Derby…
  • From Professor, Lori Pearson

    October 2, 2006 at 9:56 am

    I had the privilege of meeting Ted at the beginning of spring term 2006, when he enrolled in my course, Religion 221: Jesus, Paul, and Christian Origins (Introduction to New Testament). Early in the term, Ted came to my office hours to talk through his approach to the first paper--a close reading and textual analysis of a passage from the Gospel of Mark. Ted walked in wearing his baseball cap and a respectful, friendly smile. As he discussed his perspective on the passage, it became clear to me that he had done a thorough reading of all the suggested sources about the literary structure and historical context of Mark's gospel, and that he had arrived at his own original interpretation of the passage. (I believe Ted had chosen to write on the Feeding of the 5000.) This was the first time I had met Ted, and I didn't know exactly what to expect from his paper, but I assumed it would be solid. (Beyond that, I did not make any assumptions.) I was most struck, however, by Ted's personality. On the one hand, he seemed very unassuming: polite, respectful, unpretentious (even un-fancy), straight-forward. At the same time, he had an intensity and depth that were striking. One way of saying it is, perhaps, that he seemed very present, in a profound (yet utterly natural) way. When he was talking to you, he was completely engaged and focused. When he was reading a text, he seemed to give himself over to a full encounter with all the critical and creative questions and possibilities. And at the same time, he carried with him a sense of lightness, fun, and joy. When I received Ted's paper, I had one of those moments of recognition: Wow. This guy is so smart that it is a little uncanny. I would come to have this response to all of his papers, which were stunning. At this point, however, all of these thoughts were just loose impressions, as I had only known Ted for about 2 weeks.

    But from then on, I began to glimpse a person who had a joy for learning and discovery, and whose intelligence combined critical engagement with compassion. From my first meeting with him, I had gathered that Ted had some kind of relationship to a Christian tradition, presumably Catholicism. While we never discussed this directly, I nevertheless came to see and to admire what I perceived as Ted's faith. Ted had a confidence that enabled him to contemplate any critical question and to articulate critiques of ancient and contemporary traditions and practices within Christianity. Yet, his critical perspectives also always spoke of a strong and mature commitment to tradition (with all its resources and all its flaws) and to community, and of a deep sense of compassion for those who were suffering and for the human being in everyone.

    This latter trait--Ted's compassion for the "human being" in everyone--is what I have come to cherish about Ted, even though I did not know him for very long, or very well. He seemed to carry with him a love for himself and for others. This enabled him to be both humble and self-confident, and also genuinely accepting of other people. I feel very saddened by the loss of Ted and by the sorrow and grief of his friends and family, and I feel deep gratitude that I had the privilege of teaching him and of learning from him.

  • From Friend, Chrissie Spence

    October 2, 2006 at 9:47 am

    Ted was one of the toughest people I have ever known, and also (as many people have said) had one of the biggest hearts. He always, always worked hard in practice, even to the point of exhaustion. He treated people with kindness and respect, and was a great teammate. He was always cheering for people at meets and in practice, always excited. I know I especially appreciated that when we were doing distance sets together. We all loved being around him. I remember meeting him on my way to what must have been my first captain's practice my freshman year. I was in kind of a hurry because I was running late, and he assured that me that it wasn't critical to be on time to a captain's practice. I was really impressed with the way he treated me. As I got to know him better, I realized what an amazing person he really was, and how dedicated he was to swimming, but also to life in general. He really lived purposefully. It's hard to put into words how much I miss my teammate and friend, but I know that now he's in a better place.

  • From Friend

    October 2, 2006 at 9:44 am

    Ted Mullin. Hope. Strength. Love. Care. Courage.
    I met Ted in the hazy and overwhelming first days of New Student Week ‘02 at Carleton. We met because we were both swimmers. How could I have then known what an inspiration and friend Ted would become? Ted was very friendly when I first met him. It was clear that he was very excited to get started at Carleton (I later learned the magnitude of Ted’s will to push forward and be excited for more). After I met, he always said hi to me instead of avoiding eye contact and pretending that he didn’t remember meeting me. He always seemed to be excited about what he was doing. I learned early on that Ted was someone I would like to spend time with. Ted seemed to know his way around Carleton and around Northfield. He introduced me to Blue Monday’s Mexican Hot Chocolate. Ted also walked me home from my first college party. It was the swim team cocktail party and I think he felt that I needed an escort. I hadn’t known him even a month, and without thinking, he left the fun of the party to be a gentleman.

    We went on to swim everyday (sometimes twice a day) together. I remember thinking that the slogan “Intense Ted” did a good job of capturing what Ted was all about- leaving it all in the pool. He pushed me to wok hard and did not settle for less than his very best. We would often stand by the side of the pool and talk about how excited we were for our teammates - for what they would accomplish. He would also encourage me - ask me what I wanted to accomplish - not only in the pool, but also in life. And he would tell me what he wanted to accomplish- that at the next meet - he would swim even faster. And he usually did. He also wanted to accomplish the “donut challenge” which consists of eating twelve donuts in one sitting. Myself and a few other were cheering him on to reach this goal. He was at eleven donuts and was starting to look a little sick. But he did not want to quit. I will never forget. He took one bite of the twelfth donut and could not hold it down anymore!

    Our sophomore year, my life dealt me some hard things, and Ted was there to help me. I remember sitting in Blue Mondays with him drinking hot chocolate one snowy evening. I just meant for the meeting to be a nice study break with a friend. We ended up sitting at Blue Mondays for hours just talking about what was going on with me. I remember the look of concern and care in his eyes. I will never forget that. It was almost as though he was feeling what I was going through. Ironically, one of the difficult things was that I had been diagnosed with a tumor on my spinal cord. It was too early to know what would happen with it, but outside of my family, Ted was the first person that made me feel that I was not alone.

    Ted joined my Relay for Life Team before he even knew that he had cancer. He was the person who consistently showed up to the meetings. The night before the Relay, he walked around to all the dorms collecting money. At that time, his leg hurt a lot from the cancer, and he actually could not come to the actual event the next day because he had tired himself out so much the night before, collecting money for the cause. I was so inspired to see him care so much about something. I could not believe the irony when he found out only days later that he had cancer.

    Ted was always thinking of others. When I decided not to swim my sophomore year of college, Ted sent me a postcard from their training trip. I could have never asked for someone to be so thoughtful and kind. That postcard meant so much.
    Ted lives on.

    It is interesting to notice that through writing about my experiences with Ted - he was a lot of firsts for me. I think that this is because Ted is one of a kind. If you are lucky enough to be in his life, you will have experiences like you have never had before. I do not doubt that Ted was shaped by his family and for that I am so grateful to the Mullins for their gift of Ted. Ted provided and continues to provide hope, strength, love, care, and a source of courage.

    How my life will honor the loss of Ted Mullin…
    Ted never quit - I will think of Ted when I am thinking of quitting.
    Ted made the most of his time on earth - I will strive to do the same.
    Ted was an incredible and loyal friend - I will be one, too.
    Ted had an honesty and innocence about him that allowed him to truly experience the world and interpret it - I will try to see the world with fresh and unassuming eyes.
    Ted cared about learning about the world around him - I will be eager to learn more.
    I will be good to others and always think of the gift to all of us of Might Ted.

  • From Friend

    October 2, 2006 at 9:25 am

    I consider myself lucky for having the opportunity to have met Ted. His attitude toward living life and giving it your all has truly had an impact on my life. Whatever he would be doing, whether doing research for a paper, listening to a friend's problems, or swimming a mile, he would make sure to do so fully. His commitment to and zest for life was refreshing and was apparent to everyone who was lucky enough to meet him. I have so many memories of Ted which will stay will me for a long time to come.

    I counted for Ted for just about every 500, thousand, and mile he swam at Carleton. I always assumed that he would just expect me to count for him at every meet. However, whenever a distance race was coming up, he would always come over and ask me if I would count for him. Sometimes I would be in the very next heat and he would be concerned that I wouldn't have enough time to prepare for my race. This was a typical sentiment of his, always putting others needs in front of his own. None-the-less, I would always reassure him that I would count for him. Whenever he would get behind the blocks, with the intensity that only Ted has, the two of us would shadow box from across the pool. This became a routine for us, and it made me feel as though I could give back to him for all the support he showed me everyday.

    When Ted came back to school in the Spring of our sophomore year to move out of Evans, a bunch of his friends came over to help move boxes and wish him all the best as he prepared for treatments. Again, showing his awareness of others, he was asking if anyone wanted to borrow any of his belongings, such as an alarm clock, while he was away. When he finished moving all his stuff to the car, and I was preparing to leave, he asked where I was headed. Of course, I replied that I was going down to West Gym. He mentioned he needed to pick some things up so we walked across campus to the pool together. He kept asking me how people were handling the news. As I updated him on the reactions or teammates and friends, it was apparent that he was truly concerned about everyone at Carleton. I went to visit Ted in Chicago after Spring term ended. He showed me around and played tourist with me for awhile. I got the change to ask him how he was feeling and he responded in a simply and honest way: "I am scared as hell, but I know that I have people behind me that will make things easier." He certainly had family, friends, teammates, coaches, teachers, and many more behind him every step of the way.

    Ted was a dependable, caring, and passionate friend. He will be missed by many, but he will always be in our hearts!

  • From Prof and Friend, Jenny Wahl

    October 2, 2006 at 8:49 am

    At first, Ted was the guy near the back of the room who always wore a baseball cap and smelled faintly of chlorine. He didn’t say much but he seemed to be listening intently. When the time came for the first exam, I noticed Ted wasn’t wearing a cap and I teased him, “Hey, I didn’t know you had hair!” He laughed. What really struck me, however, was what happened after I handed back the exam. Ted came to my office and said, “I don’t think I deserved this grade.” At first, I was taken aback, after all, he’d gotten an A-, and I steeled myself for what came next. Then Ted said something I haven’t heard another student say: “I really shouldn’t have gotten such a good grade.” I had to laugh, we then went over his exam and I reassured him that he had great intuition, which every economist wants, and that we could figure out the rigorous part together. This was when I realized how intense Ted was, how much he wanted to grasp things.

    Ted came to my office many times that term. He laughed about how large his calf was, but I urged him to go get it checked out. When he found out the bad news, he came to tell me that he would have to leave campus before the end of the term and asked if we could figure out a way to complete his work in my class. I was open to anything; I just wanted him to focus on getting well. So I suggested that he could just go with the grade he had, but he really wanted to demonstrate that he knew the material. Instead he came back in a couple of days and took an oral exam. I wasn’t easy on him – I knew he wouldn’t want that – but he did a great job. Even with all that he was facing, Ted stayed engaged. He simply wouldn’t just let things happen to him; he took charge wherever he could.

    Whenever he came to campus during the next several terms, he came by to chat. One day, I walked into the econ department lounge and saw a kid sitting on the couch. I said hi and went on toward my office. The kid got up and followed me, smiled broadly, and said, “Hey, you didn’t recognize me without hair! – or eyebrows!” Who could it be but Ted? Despite chemo, pain, and fear staring him in the face, Ted could still joke around. He kept his spirits up, and he lifted everyone else with him.

    The last time I saw Ted was about a week and a half before he died. Susannah Ottaway, Bill North, and I went down to Chicago to see Ted. We didn’t talk much about his illness; instead, we discussed Chicago politics and the common reading for week one – a graphic novel. When I said I really didn’t quite understand what a graphic novel was, Ted said, “I’ve got one upstairs; let me show it to you.” Even to the end, Ted was thoughtful toward his friends and fully engaged in the world around him. But when Ted came downstairs, he couldn’t breathe. I don’t think I really understood until that moment how sick Ted was. I should have been the one to go upstairs. But he wouldn’t have let me – that was Ted, always looking out for others.

    His body betrayed him in the end, but he is free of it now. Ted’s large and generous spirit remains with us. He is the most alive person I know.

  • From Friend

    October 2, 2006 at 8:42 am

    Ted was a man who wasn't afraid to dive into dangerous waters, be it to help a friend or examine his own life. He was always searching for the moral right and ever-questioning his actions. He was never satisfied with himself, knowing he could be better and achieve more. He was always happy and kind and even when things seemed down and even dirty, Ted pushed the positive, reminding us all of the comedy of life, the silliness of stress, and most importantly, the benefit of friends. He was a wonderful person and I'm honored to have had the chance to know him.

  • From Professor Jim McDonnell

    September 29, 2006 at 2:55 pm

    I taught Ted Mullin last term in Irish Literature and I can say most sincerely that I have never had a student whom I respected more. Even before I found out that he had been fighting cancer for a long time I was very impressed by his dedication to the requirements of the course. His class attendance exemplary and he was always came thoroughly prepared to ask questions, offer interpretations and to listen attentively to the opinions of others. At about mid-term he came to my office to inform me that he would have to miss a couple of classes because he was going to Chicago for medical treatment. By then I had been told by one of his friends in the class of what he had gone through, and I was astonished by Ted’s courtesy, fortitude and humility in talking about his condition. He was extremely anxious to keep up with the reading and fulfill all requirements of the course. I felt then and continue to feel extremely privileged to have known such a wonderful person. His dignity, self-respect and clarity of mind in the face of the possibility that his life would soon be cut short were a lesson and inspiration to me. When he returned from Chicago he gave the same attention as he had had at the beginning of term and seemed to derive an enhanced benefit from his reading and from class discussions. He completed the term’s work with one of the finest papers I have ever received. I learnt from him that it is not the length of life that matters but the dedication and integrity with which it is lived.

  • From Professor and Friend Louis Fishman

    September 29, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    Words don’t do justice. What can one say when such a gentle, genuine, and sweet person's life is cut short. I knew Ted only for a brief period, however, his presence in class was special and he will remain in my memory for years to come. In spite of everything, Ted always smiled and even when he was exhausted he was enthusiastic. A true role-model for us all, Ted will be greatly missed.

  • From Friend

    September 29, 2006 at 2:51 pm

    I met Ted in New Student Week when we were both incoming freshmen in September of 2002. Over the four years we were friends, I have never met a more genuinely good person than Ted. Ted could always put a smile on my face, even at the hardest times. It always seemed as though being kind and generous to those around him was effortless to Ted, however he never would tolerate injustice of any form. I love that when some injustice happened in the world how it would bother him so intensely that he would do anything to right the wrongs being committed. He continues to be my inspiration and role model. I will always love him and he will always encourage me to be a better person. If everyone in the world could have met Ted, the world would be a better place. I think of him and miss him every day. Thank you for having such a wonderful son.

  • From Friend

    September 29, 2006 at 2:49 pm

    I don't even know where to begin. I have found that through all of the emotions that I have been feeling upon Ted’s passing, I am having trouble remembering certain moments in time (Andy Clark assures me that this will pass as my emotions settle). It's just that Ted was such a presence in my life and one moment doesn’t stand out in comparison to the next because every moment with Ted was so comfortable and so wonderful.

    Ted is the most supportive and determined person I have ever met. He at the beginning of every race he would be in the zone. He would dive in and every stroke of his 500 would be as powerful as the next. At the end he would congratulate those around him (Ted always recognized other’s accomplishments) and then he would run to a garbage can to throw up! He seemed to be notorious for puking in practice and at meets but it just was a testament to how hard he worked. Outside of the pool, Ted was an incredible friend. He was always smiling and even when he was sick, he would always ask how I was doing before mentioning the troubles he was having.

    I do remember that Ted attended graduation this past June and watched the class he had entered with, move on from Carleton. That in itself must have been so hard for a guy who was such an influential part of the class on 2006 and who so badly wanted to graduate from a place he truly loved. Of course, at the end of the ceremony Ted came up and congratulated me and the other swimmers I was with. I hugged him and I told him that I would see him again under the same circumstances next year when he graduated. I will be at graduation this year to celebrate Ted and all that he meant to Carleton. While he will not physically be there, I want to keep this promise that I made to Ted just as he would have done for me. I love you Ted.