Fox Lake lost a treasured community leader and businessman Monday. Gerald “Moose” Mullin died Feb. 12, at the age of 84.
Mullin was the owner of Mullin’s Drive In, 102 Spring St. in Fox Lake, since 1983. He took over the business from his parents who opened the seasonal restaurant in 1934.
Mullin was an elementary school principal in Oxford for 30 years. He helped build the VFW post there, organized summer rec programs, served on the volunteer fire department and coached baseball, basketball and football.
Mullin’s commitment to community service didn’t change when he took over the drive-in.
For the past 18 years Mullin’s Drive-In has sponsored a free concert during the Bunny Berigan Jazz Festival in May because his father used to play with Berigan in the Fox Lake Juvenile Band.
Fox Lake American Legion Commander Bill Linke Jr. called Mullin a Fox Lake icon. He remembers him as a proud U.S. Army veteran, a former educator, and a well-liked businessman.
“In summer, you could always find him sitting in his chair at the drive-in and greeting everyone with a wave and a smile,” said Linke. “I’m sure everyone has a good story to tell about Moose.”
Linke recalls being at Mullin’s once when his daughter wanted a foot-long hot dog. The restaurant didn’t offer that selection on the menu, but Moose told the cook, “Let’s give the girl what she wants.”
He had the cook put together two six-inch hot dogs.
Fox Lake Mayor Tom Bednarek was Mullin’s friend and colleague.
“Back in the ‘70s we worked on the city council together. He served 17 years on the council and then was mayor for eight years,” said Bednarek. “We worked well together and he did so much for Fox Lake.
“Whenever we needed donations to help with something, Moose was first in line to give. And he helped so many kids by employing them in the summer.”
The mayor said that Monday was a particularly difficult day because in addition to Mullin’s death, his brother Dan passed away from pancreatic cancer. Dan Bednarek was a former Fox Lake council member for many years as well.
“It’s such a sad time for us. Fox Lake was blessed to have both of them serve the community,” he said.
A funeral service for Gerald Mullin will be held Saturday, Feb. 17, from 2 to 5 p.m. at Crawford Funeral Home, 306 S. Franklin Ave., Oxford.