Lenore Mullen

Aug 01, 2017

Lenore M. “Lennie” Mullen, 69, a mother, community organizer, and Maine progressive political activist, died July 23, 2017, after a hard-fought, heroic campaign against cancer. She was born Jan. 1, 1948, in New Haven, Conn., the daughter of Barbara M. (Floyd) and Leonard J. Lipton.

Always an avid reader, as a child she believed a grand family outing was spending Saturdays at the library. Her father died when she was 5 years old and her mother moved the family to Maine, where she spent time at the farm of her great aunt and uncle, Viola and Merle Thompson, in East Dixfield. Even though she described herself as a city girl, she also understood and appreciated rural life. She could milk a cow, pick berries, gather eggs and pull pin feathers off a chicken.

She attended Belfast Area High School where her most important class was civics. She attended the University of Maine, majoring in political science. She also held an associates degree in chemical addiction counselling.

She married Ronald Mullen in 1964 and had three children. She was pre-deceased by her second husband, Jerry Giles, in 1994.

In 1989, she was tasked with establishing Rape Response Services to serve Penobscot and Piscataquis counties. Working with sexual assault centers in Maine and volunteers in the area, RRS was up and running within a year.

For a number of years she, her mother and son Scott operated a part-time used books and household goods business out of her home and at the Hobby Horse Flea Market.

Always inspired by the life of Robert F. Kennedy, she became active in Democratic politics. She served for several years on the Maine State Democratic Committee, and was executive director of the Maine Democratic Party from 1991 to 1993. She worked on numerous political campaigns, including those of George Mitchell for governor, Jim Tierney for governor, and Pat McGowen for Congress. She served as Maine campaign chairwoman for Jesse Jackson’s 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns.

In 1995, she began a career in public service with John Baldacci, first serving as a constituent service advisor in his congressional office, and then joining his gubernatorial staff as Director of Constituent Services. In those capacities she would listen to the public, then bring their concerns to the congressman or governor. During those 16 years she provided help and government assistance to many hundreds of Maine citizens.

In 2011, after leaving state government, she was named New England sales coordinator for Maine’s Own Organic Milk Co., coordinating sales with many independent grocery stores and Whole Foods markets throughout most of New England.

In 2016, Lennie was diagnosed with cancer and a short time later moved to San Diego to live with her daughter Amy.

She is survived by her children: John N. Mullen of Augusta, Amy Mullen of San Diego, and Scott M. Mullen and long-time partner Kathryn Erskine of Dresden; a daughter by marriage, Jennifer Giles Adams, and grandson, West Adams, of Los Angeles; her sister and brother-in-law, Debbie and Raymond Morin of Warren; many nieces and nephews, several cousins, and many dear friends. She will be especially remembered by Dale Ames of Machias and long-time work colleague Doug Dunbar of Bangor, who provided her with great comfort during her illness.

A celebration of her life will be held in Maine at a date to be announced.

Contributions in Lennie’s name may be made to the Maine Farm Bureau Disaster Fund, c/o Maine Farm Bureau Association, 4 Gabriel Drive, Suite 1, Augusta, ME 04330.

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