The Reaper Sometimes Moves Quietly

As he has thousands of times the grim reaper has struck again, this time stealing into town quietly and leaving with another human being to add to his collection of Covid victims. We must remember that every victim is a friend or family member of someone, however; the transactions between the reaper and victim are sometimes barely noticed. Such was the case this week when Mike Mulholland, a friend, associate and confident died quietly at Mercy Hospital. What about this retired Highway Patrolman the kids in Odessa years ago referred to as “Mike with a moustache”? Let’s have a look.

The officer you wanted behind you…….

Mike was from the Moberly, Missouri area where he earned a Business degree from Northeast Missouri State College. He was whip smart and graduated near the top of his class, a feat he would repeat at the Highway Patrol Academy a few years later. He was an excellent athlete, not the thin kind that you see mostly see today, rather a fireplug of a guy who would fool you with cat like reflex and determination. As would be his custom through the years he let his skill do the talking, with not a hint of self promotion in his repertoire. Mike walked the walk.

Mike, bottom right, a team player with a mile wide smile……

I came to know him in January of 1972 after graduating in the Patrol class following him. As luck would have it, we both were assigned to Odessa in Lafayette county where we became the responsibility, back to back, of a crusty Dutchman as our training officer. Lafayette County was an ideal place to be a trooper, where officers from every department worked together and our exposure to policing was comprehensive. Mike and I loved to work together, a practice soon discontinued by our Sergeant, as we somehow found ourselves into mischief every time we suited up on the same shift. Mike was marked for early advancement on the Patrol and soon was transferred to Jackson County where he stayed busy in and around the Kansas City area in a supervisory role. Mike rose to the rank of Lieutenant as quietly as he entered the department in the early 70’s. There are many stories about our time together, but they can be summed up with high praise for Mike. Mike Mulholland had your back, period. Secondly, he sought no praise or exposure to bright lights or fame. He went about his job carefully, reflectively, and with a work ethic that few could emulate. Mike was a bulldozer in a diplomat’s hat. He was one of the finest to ever wear the uniform, worn with pride and always representing the Patrol in a positive light. Paul Michael Mulholland, the devout Catholic from north Missouri, was an absolutely reliable officer of the law with excellent judgement and the ability to relate to virtually every living being on earth. He was, in short, one hell of a Highway Patrolman.

A parade…….Mike loved celebrations!

Mike left this world quietly. Covid is like that, they say. His beloved wife Judy is gravely ill with Covid and is on a ventilator at the same Springfield hospital where Mike was introduced to the Master. Judy’s future is very uncertain, but while they could they travelled extensively, enjoyed fine wine and laughed often on their backyard patio where’re Mike held forth on one of his several outdoor grills and stoves. We were privileged to enjoy his deck artistry with a smoker, laughing and remembering things probably best left un-remembered. His unexpected early departure from this world has left a vacancy for another American that loves his country as much as his family, will always complete a job and would never leave a fellow officer or friend hanging. He left this world as he lived life………under the radar but always there.

Mike was as solid as the granite that will mark his eternal resting place. Few are remembered as well……..

We’ll miss you Mike…….thank you

6 thoughts on “The Reaper Sometimes Moves Quietly

  1. Absolutely beautiful, Steve! I vividly remember Mike from the short time I worked at Troop A. You have my deepest sympathy and most heartfelt condolences. May he Rest In Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. An excellent tribute to an exceptional Trooper. Mike was my team leader on the Troop A SERT team after Morris Patrick got promoted. He was the perfect choice and we all benefited from his leadership. I’m thankful you have written such a beautiful tribute to him. He will be greatly missed. Many prayers for Judy. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for this, Steve. Dad wasn’t one to talk about work too much with family, but I did occasionally overhear him telling stories about his early days and the mischief you mentioned. I also remember your name came up quite often in those stories. Someday, we’ll have to sit down, and you can set the record straight as to who the more frequent instigator was.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will make that happen. He was an outstanding officer and we couldn’t believe we were being paid to have as much fun as we did……..most of the time!

      Like

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