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.
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.
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.
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