Edward W. "Pat"'s Story
Edward W. “Pat” Mulligan, former president and CEO of Towle Silversmiths and longtime Newburyport resident, died peacefully at home in Newburyport on August 25, 2017. His wife, Katharine Cooke Mulligan, predeceased him in August, 2015.
He is survived by his children, Randy Mulligan and his wife, Jan Galleshaw, Kathy Mulligan Lord and husband, Tony Flaherty, and Michael Mulligan and wife, Joy Sawyer Mulligan; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
He was born on February 10, 1925 – delivered by his father, E.W. Mulligan Sr., a physician – as they raced to the hospital in Providence, R.I. Part of his youth was spent in Tucson, Ariz., where his after school jobs included watering horses and doing odd jobs for movie crews, including Gary Cooper. His mother, Ida Ransdell Mulligan, was convinced he could be in the movies he was so “handsome.”
After graduating from Carlisle Military School in South Carolina, “Pat,” as he was christened in school, joined the Marine Corps and was stationed in Cherry Point, N.C. Trained as a radar operator, Pat distinguished himself as a Marine football player, once scoring five touchdowns against the Coast Guard. It was there at a Marine dance that he met the talented and beautiful Kay Cooke, a fellow corporal and Marine Corps truck driver/chauffeur, who would become his wife, and inseparable companion, for the next 70 years.
Following Honorable Discharge from the Marine Corps at the end of WWII, the Mulligans attended Middlebury College in Vermont on the GI Bill, where he graduated in 1949. A talented running back and kicker on the Middlebury football team, he supplemented the family income by organizing hot dog sales on the sidelines and selling hot cocoa at hockey games. Their son, Randy (NHS ’64), was born in Vermont. They came to Newburyport where he joined the sales force of Towle Silversmiths. Daughter, Kathy (NHS ’68), was born in Newburyport before he took on his first Towle territory in the west. He was based in Denver, Colo., where their third child, Michael (GDA ’71), was born.
A born salesman, Pat loved the Towle Company and delighted in telling everyone the beauty of silver – “it gets better with use, it doesn’t wear out, and it can go in the dishwasher!” His entire family often accompanied him traveling from Texas to the Dakotas, selling silver, as he didn’t want to be away from them for too long. They would camp and then he’d change into his suit in a gas station washroom. Following Denver, they went to Diablo, Calif., for two years before he was brought back to Towle headquarters as sales manager. He was later promoted to vice president, president, and chief executive officer of Towle.
Pat was a sailor and a hunter, and loved the ocean and the wilderness. He loved the adventure of tracking deer and elk, and he believed that what you shoot, you eat. In addition to the delights of sterling silver, guests at their frequent dinner parties were treated to the benefits of elk – “no fat or cholesterol...don’t overcook it!”
After retirement, he was elected to the Board of Directors of Liberty Mutual Insurance Company where he also served on the Executive Committee. A longtime member of the Tuesday Night Club and the American Yacht Club, Mulligan was also a member of the Board Directors of the First & Ocean Bank in Newburyport. He was a member of the 24 Karat Club of New York City, a jewelry and silver industry organization and served as co-trustee of the H. Patterson Hale Jr. Foundation in Newburyport.
Pat was known for his confidence, his tales of famous people who’d met Pat Mulligan, his great spaghetti sauce, and the belief that duct tape could solve any problem. He valued education and worked hard to make sure his children were supported in their educational endeavors. But it was his love of his family that ultimately distinguished Pat. Dubbed “Po Po” by John Marquand Jr. after the birth of his first granddaughter, he became the beloved Po to his six grandchildren, Katharine, Kelly, Christopher, Patrick, Charlotte, and Annie and their families. He delighted in their successes. Pictures and stories of them and his six great-grandchildren never failed to make him smile – or brag.
He will not be forgotten.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Maudslay State Park Association, 74 Curzon Mill Road, Newburyport, MA 01950 are appreciated. A memorial service will be held in November. Arrangements by Elliott, Woodworth & Rogers Family Funeral Home, 35 Green Street, Newburyport.
Published on  August 29, 2017