Native son honored; City Hall Plaza gets Mullaney's name.
WORCESTER -- Paul V. Mullaney isn't the type of man to speak about the military decorations he earned as a U.S. Marine in World War II and Korea -- not about the gallantry that earned him the Silver Star, not about the heroic achievement that earned him the Bronze Star, and not even about the wounds for which he received three Purple Hearts.
Yesterday, at the age of 94, on the day City Hall Plaza was dedicated The Honorable Paul V. Mullaney Plaza, the war veteran, former city councilor and mayor, retired judge and dedicated family man, wasn't going to start.
Instead, he quietly laid a wreath at the Korean War Memorial and surveyed the names of the 191 service men and women etched on the wall of granite and turned to those local dignitaries, family members and city residents who came to honor him and said quietly, "I don't know if you can see it or not, but there are tears in my eyes, and I don't cry easily.''
And later on the plaza named in his honor, holding a spent rifle shell in his left clenched clawlike-fist, the only outward sign of his war injuries, he sincerely thanked all those who came to honor him, wishing only that he had brought a handkerchief.
It was a day the judge -- known as a man of many titles, including lieutenant, Mr. Mullaney, The Judge, mayor, sir, friend and Dad -- was overwhelmed by the honor, love and support shown by the city where he was born, raised and dedicated his life to serving.
"My father didn't speak of the wars except to share that he promised God he would go into public service if he survived the Korean War,'' said the eldest of his nine children, Elizabeth Mullaney, during the dedication ceremony. "He continues to lead us not only in grace, which he says with every meal, but in life by example.''
Judge Mullaney was born in a three-decker on Gates Street in the Main South section of the city. He graduated from South High in 1938 and then from The College of the Holy Cross in 1942. He entered the Marine Corps during his senior year of college and began active duty after graduating from Holy Cross, serving in World War II in Hawaii, Tinian and Guam before returning home in 1946. He went to Boston College Law School and passed the Massachusetts Bar in 1948. Two years later, he joined the 10th Signal Company Marine Corps Unit in Worcester, which was activated after the Korean War started in 1950. Judge Mullaney was sent to Korea in August 1950 and was wounded a month later in Seoul, and wounded a second time in October 1950, and yet again in November 1950. He was evacuated by helicopter to Japan and spent the following year recovering in the Naval Hospital in Chelsea.
He retired from the Marines as a first lieutenant in 1952.
Judge Mullaney married his wife, Sallie, and the couple had nine children, most of whom still live in Worcester or the surrounding area. Judge Mullaney was a city councilor from 1960-1967, mayor from 1963-1965 and a district judge from 1978 until retiring in 1991.
Judge Sarkis Teshoian, a colleague and friend, said that when Judge Mullaney was campaigning for election, he only referred to himself as a veteran and never listed his military decorations. Later, Judge Mullaney even returned a $500 campaign donation, his friend saying the judge -- then a candidate -- that it was too much and improper to accept.
Ms. Mullaney described her dad as man who is appreciated by his neighbors, loved by the neighborhood children for whom he performs magic tricks and the local dogs that he tries to feed. He is an avid gardener, reader, art lover, local history buff, patron of the Worcester Public Library, and a healthy man who, even at 94, takes no medication.
"He is a happy man because he always has been at peace with himself and God,'' Ms. Mullaney said.
Mr. Mullaney marched in the procession that stepped off from Union Station at 8:45 a.m. and then stopped at the Korean War Memorial. The procession then walked up Front Street, led by the 10th Signal Company Marine Reserve Unit's Honor Guard, through the Common and to City Hall Plaza.
City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. recalled an address Judge Mullaney gave as mayor in which he pledged to city residents that if he -- and other city councilors -- performed their duties well, the city would be a better place.
"Judge Mullaney met and exceeded his promise to Worcester,'' Mr. Augustus said. "His life is a testament to public service, whether in the hills or Korea or the halls of city government.''
The ceremony, led by Mayor Joseph M. Petty, also included an invocation by the Rev. John D. Savard of the College of the Holy Cross, and remarks by U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Worcester, and Francis R. Carroll, as well as musical performances by the South High Community School marching band, Elizabeth and Esther Oluokun and the Seven Hills Charter School singers.
"A community shows itself in who they choose to honor,'' Mr. Augustus said. "Today, in honoring Paul V. Mullaney, Worcester showed its values.''
Contact Donna Boynton at Donna.Boynton@telegram.com or follow her on Twitter @DonnaBoyntonTG