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John William Mullen

August 11, 1932 — May 28, 2023


John William Mullen

John William Mullen, 90, of Kingsport, entered heaven on May 28, 2023 at home surrounded by his family. He was born on August 11, 1932 in Columbus, Ohio to Reverend Stanley and Gladys Mullen. In his early years, he lived in Delaware, Ohio and Cleveland, Ohio. At age 14, he moved to East Liverpool, Ohio. There he met the love of his life, Joy Kaufman, who became his wife seven years later. John received his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from Northwestern University, where he served as Assistant Conductor for the choral department. He was an accomplished concert pianist. In 1955, he and Joy moved to Kingsport, Tennessee and he served as Minister of Music at First Broad Street United Methodist Church for 42 years. He was a member of the Holston Methodist Conference and was ordained as Deacon in June 1997.


John had a large impact on the early musical life of Kingsport. He was the first conductor of the Kingsport Symphony Chorus, and often performed as a tenor soloist throughout the region. He studied Orff Schulwerk at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and introduced Orff Music for Children to East Tennessee. He also directed the first handbell choir in the area. He worked with special needs children for 30 years at the Palmer Center, humbly receiving the ‘Volunteer of the Year’ award.


John, Joy and their four children often sang programs as a family for businesses, civic clubs, and church organizations. In later years, John and Joy also led ten overseas tours – two of which included John directing the First Broad Street Methodist Sanctuary Choir in European concerts. For almost 50 years, John visited numerous area nursing homes each week, ministering to residents through his singing.


Active in the community, he served as President of the Netherland Inn/Exchange Place Association, Treasurer for the Kingsport Convention and Tourist Board, and was on the Board of the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Association.


Among John’s many interests were hiking, astronomy, woodworking, model trains, clock building, and local history. He loved taking family camping trips across the country – especially ‘west. Most of all, he loved working in the backyard woods and enjoying nature.


John loved his wife and family so very much. Most importantly, John possessed a deep faith in Jesus Christ which was reflected in all that he did. He dedicated his life to honoring and glorifying God.


John was preceded in death by his parents and sisters, Martha and Mary Mullen.


He is survived by his loving wife of 69 years, Joy Hall Kaufman Mullen; children, son, Todd (Andrea) Mullen of Olive Branch, Mississippi, daughter, Jenny (Jeff) Nelson of Nashville, Tennessee, son, Timothy Mullen of Kingsport, Tennessee, daughter, Wendy Mullen of Cookeville, Tennessee; grandchildren, April Mullen, Jackson Mullen, Chelsea (Christopher) Stevens, Julia Mullen, Matthew Mullen, Anna Mullen; and great grandchildren, Hayden and Eli.


The family will receive friends from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m., Friday, June 2, 2023 at Preston Hills Presbyterian Church. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 3, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at First Broad Street United Methodist Church, with Dr. Wm. Randall Frye, Rev. Dr. Carole Martin and Pastor Rich Fifield officiating.


In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Preston Hills Presbyterian Church, 4701 Orebank Rd., Kingsport, TN 37664, First Broad Street United Methodist Church, 100 E. Church Circle, Kingsport, TN 37660 or Arbor Day Foundation, 211 N. 12th St. #501, Lincoln, NE 68508.

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Past Services


Friday, June 2, 2023

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

Preston Hills Presbyterian Church

Kingsport, TN

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Memorial Service

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

First Broad Street United Methodist Church

Kingsport, TN

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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