Andrew Mullen

  • "Your joy for living far outweighs the sorrow. May we all..."
    - Sheri Skitt
  • "My brother Andy! I miss you everyday your picture sits in..."
    - Ray Barber
  • "Years have gone by since the passing of my friend Andy...."
    - Ray Barber
  • "Always in my thoughts. Never forgotten. You have given me..."
    - Sheri Skitt
  • "Your legacy carries on still. We- the ones you left behind,..."

Anchorage firefighter Andrew "Andy" Mullen, an engineer, EMT 3 and member of the AFD haz-mat and dive teams, died Monday, Oct. 11, 2010, after a six-month battle with cancer.

A service, open to friends of the Mullen family and public safety personnel and their families only, will be at 1 p.m. Friday at the Dena'ina Center. The public is welcome to view the funeral procession at 11:45 a.m. at Fifth Avenue and Cordova Street.

Andy was born March 21, 1965, in San Francisco. His family moved the following year to Huntington, N.Y. He graduated from high school in 1983. Later that year, his Aunt Sue invited him to spend the winter with her and her children in a remote cabin in Halibut Cove. Andy fell in love with Alaska and all her wonders and made it his home.

Andy worked on the M/V Alaska 1 and later worked on a long-liner, the M/V Masonic. During those years, he met his future wife, Lynee Rhodes, from Eagle River. They backpacked through Europe together before settling down in Eagle River and marrying on Nov. 25, 1989. In 1991, they added to the family with the birth of their lovely daughter, Riley. Andy couldn't stand the thought of missing any time with his new family and accepted a job with Mark Air in Anchorage, working on the ground crew. He became a member of the Anchorage Fire Department in February 1997. Two years later, he and Lynee again added to their family with the birth of their beautiful twin girls, Erin and Darby.

Not only was Andy a devoted father in every sense of the word, he was a best friend, mentor, companion, and protector to his daughters, spending every possible moment with them, going camping, swimming, hiking, and seeking new adventures. All who knew and loved him agree that he was born to be a dad and was the best father a child could ever hope for.

Andy and Lynee purchased property and built a cabin on Jean Lake in Willow and it is a place Andy loved to take his children. The cabin was enjoyed by all who came to visit and sit by the fire or take a dip in the lake.

Andy had the heart of a true adventurer. From climbing Mount Fuji, to drifting down the Yukon River with his dad, to a month-long sailing adventure from New Zealand to Fiji with his daughter Riley, Andy wanted to do it all. He loved hiking and all his girls hiked Crow Creek Pass with him before they were 4 years old.

In his fight against cancer, Andy showed an unquenchable spirit, continuing to spend hours in activities with his daughters, including a visit to his parents' home in Long Island, N.Y., where old friends gathered around him. During his final months in Eagle River, his firefighter family, and friends too numerous to mention, rallied to cheer him and provided limitless help and support to his wife and daughters.

Even as Andy's health declined, his e-mail updates were upbeat and classic. He never gave up. His last e-mail, posted Sept. 23, ended: "As I write this the sun shines through my windows, I have a cup of coffee, and the radio is playing some of my favorite songs. I'm doing OK. Andy."

Andy is survived by his wife, Lynee; his daughters, Riley, Erin and Darby: his parents, Don and Kitty Mullen of Huntington, N.Y.; his sister, Alice Burke, of New Britain, Conn.; his brother, Scott Mullen of North Hollywood, Calif.; his father- and mother in-law, Laurance "Dusty" and Rayanne Rhodes, of Eagle River; and sisters-in-law, Shawn Rhodes of Eagle River, Michelle George of Sioux Lookout, Ontario, Canada; and nephews, Ryan Bode, Wylder and Hayden George, and Jack, Jessie and Timmy Burke.

The Mullen and Rhodes families would like to thank Andy's brothers and sisters of the Anchorage Fire Department who supported them throughout Andy's battle with cancer.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests you honor Andy's memory by setting aside a day to spend with your children - maybe even take them on a hike to see "Andy's Alaska."

Arrangements are with Janssen's Evergreen Memorial Chapel.

Published in Anchorage Daily News from Oct. 14 to Oct. 15, 2010
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