Grace Bell Clark Mullenix died of old age Wednesday March 8, 2023 at the age of 96.
Grace was the Granddaughter of pioneer homesteaders who, in the 1860’s arrived at their section of fertile land in Brady after a sailing voyage around South America and in native canoes down the Black and Chehalis Rivers.
The last surviving member of her family, Grace was the daughter of Cyrus Calvin (CC) Clark and Grace Bell Smith. Her siblings were Phyllis (Cecil) Virtue, Lois Clark, Doris (Francis) Plotner, and Richard (Donna) Clark. Donna Clark is the honored survivor of this generation.
In 1947, Grace married Clifford (Bud) Mullenix upon his return from WWII in Europe. He was born and raised on the land where the house he and Grace eventually built still stands. Having moved to PeEll when twelve, Bud returned to Elma regularly as part of a band the included Grace’s best friend. Once he leaned his bass fiddle against the wall and asked Grace to dance. The giant violin slid to the floor breaking irreparably allowing Bud the rest of the night to dance with Grace. The rest is history. Bud died in 2012.
John (Carolyn) Mullenix of Kent was born in 1949 and Gayle (Derk) Franklin of Kent was born in 1955; Doreen Girdler (Roger) Graham (recently deceased) of Lacey, Diana Girdler (Keith) Sanders of McCleary, and, Rick, Bob, and Ron (Carolyn) Clark all of Elma are the seven Clark cousins and were raised together with the Clark South Elma farm as a second home. Doreen Girdler Graham is the first of our generation to pass. We still ache from her recent departure.
Grace’s grandchildren are Andy (Amy) Mullenix of Seattle; Matt (Chi Chi) Mullenix of Covington; Joe (Jessica) Mullenix of Honolulu; Peter (Christina) Mullenix of West Seattle; Bryan Franklin of Dallas, Texas; Jody (Dr. Eli) Levine of Delray Beach, Florida; and Sean Franklin of Kent. Great Grandchildren are James Mullenix, Jackson Mullenix, Sadie Mullenix, and Joshua Levine.
Mom, Grandma, and finally Granny was all about children her whole life. If you were one of her family you were set. She excelled at all aspects of homemaking. Even actual housebuilding! Her natural artistic talent was released in her oil paintings but was best applied in home decorating and furniture restoration. Bud and Grace’s best empty nest hours were spent scouring antique stores and junk shops for milk glass hen-on-nests and pieces of oak furniture in any state of repair. Bud could rebuild it and Grace could refinish it better than new. If they could not find what they wanted Grace drew it and Bud built it.
Gardens were works of art as was the vast majority of food eaten. Grass fed beef and venison; canned beans and frozen corn grown from family seeds carefully saved every year; bread and butter churned from our cream; cakes, pies, cobblers and cookies. Family swam in the Chehalis River in Summer, picked berries and fruit in the Fall and caught Steelhead all Winter. Spring was for garden planning and prep, digging clams, and fresh firewood. If the river was running just right Thanksgiving dinner might be just a bit late but there were plenty of olives and little fingers to cover during the wait.
Grace Mullenix is the definition of family. She is loved and she will be missed. She will be interned with six generations of her family at the Odd Fellows Cemetery 11 AM Wednesday March 15, 2023.
(Mom requested a family only service but our guess is, if you care enough to attend for her, Mom would be pleased. Signed with gratitude, John and Gayle)