By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Bennie Mullins Day was observed Dec. 20, to recognize a woman who made many contributions to the community and who was extremely ill at the time.
Mullins died of cancer Saturday, and is being remembered in the community for her generosity.
Christy Baker worked with Mullins for five years at Retired Senior Volunteer Program, where Mullins was director for 27 years. Baker said she was honored to know Mullins.
She said Mullins was someone easy to be around and who made everyone comfortable.
“I never met anyone who didn’t like her. That was the reason for her success, the nature of who she was,” Baker said. “She never met a stranger or an enemy. She was easy to be around and always made everyone feel she was the most important person in her life, me included.”
Baker said Mullins’ selflessness was the greatest contribution to her job. If anyone needed her, or if an animal was stranded and needed help, Mullins was always ready to help.
“She was guided by her heart in everything she did,” Baker said. “She always called me the daughter she never wanted. That was our joke.”
Cathy Stocker, former Garfield County district attorney, said she met Mullins in 1976 and has lasting memories of her. Mullins was the person who encouraged Stocker to become a prosecutor. She and Mullins, a young juvenile officer then, formed a lasting friendship.
“Bennie made everyone feel special, important. She had a fun-loving personality. She was amazingly generous, a gracious hostess, a joke teller, a story teller, and she had a kind heart for all human beings and animals,” Stocker said. “People were drawn to her, I can’t imagine her not being in this world.”
Edna Mae Holden was friends with Mullins for 30 years. When Holden came to Enid as a young lawyer, Mullins was a young juvenile officer. She recalled Mullins as outspoken, not only for people, but for animals, too.
“She was very forgiving and generous, almost to a fault. She never held a grudge,” Holden said. “The world is a sadder place and will be.”
As a juvenile officer, Mullins could be tough, but Holden said she was dedicated to making every situation work for everyone. She was involved in some difficult situations, when juveniles were removed from their homes, but she had a trait that many who work in juvenile don’t have — the desire to help people — Holden said.
Holden is a former RSVP board member and said the work of RSVP was personal to Mullins. The feeling did not stop at the end of the work day, she said. Holden said that was the way Mullins helped people.
“There are hundreds of stories about a raccoon or a baby deer she raised,” Holden said. “I can’t say enough about her. She loved Christmas.”
Longtime friend Nancy Roeming called Mullins her “best friend on the entire planet.” Roeming knew Mullins for 15 years and said she has many fun memories of her. Like others, Roeming remembered Mullins picking up stray animals that needed a home. People dropped animals by her home, knowing she would care for them.
“She did the same for her friends. That farm was a home for anybody, it was a refuge for anybody,” Roeming said. “Bennie knew no strangers. I really think for those of us who knew her, and the animals who passed through her gates, we’re all better for having her touch our lives.”
Roeming said Mullins did not want or need accolades for the things she did, it was just a natural thing for her. She said that is an example everyone needs to follow. She called Mullins one of a kind.
“She loved nothing better than having a glass of wine and laughing and having fun with her friends,” Roeming said.
Mullins died with her friends and people she loved surrounding her.
“The neatest thing, she didn’t need to be recognized for what she did. She just did it because it was in her heart and the right thing to do,” Roeming said.
Memorial service for Mullins will be 2 p.m. Friday at University Place Christian Church, 2107 E. Broadway. Cremation arrangements are by Anderson-Burris Funeral Home and Crematory.