Tuesday, October 11, 2016
James “Mully” Mulligan, 56, was known as the "Typical Neighborhood Irish Drunk" and popular at local bars - he was struck by a pick-up truck driven by 21-year-old Savanna Olson and instantly turned into a giant bloody mary while staggering home
James “Mully” Mulligan, 56, was killed when he was struck by a pickup driven by 21-year-old Savanna Olson just before 2 p.m. at the intersection of Sixth Avenue East and Sixth Street, the Duluth Police Department reported.
Police said Olson was turning onto the avenue when her vehicle struck Mulligan in the intersection. Mulligan, who was within blocks of his home, was pronounced dead at the scene.
That intersection has stop signs for traffic on Sixth Street.
Mulligan was a fixture at a few local bars, including RT Quinlan’s Saloon, where he worked as a swamper, cleaning the bar early in the morning. Bartender Mark “Sparky” Mattila described his longtime friend as having a huge heart.
“He would do so much, you didn’t have to ask,” said Mattila. “I had a water glass and he would chill it for me so it was cold when I got (to RT’s). I’d walk in at 7:30 a.m. and he’d already have the popcorn cooked.”
Mulligan was born and raised in Grand Marais, before his family moved to Duluth. He graduated from Duluth Central High School, but went back to Grand Marais and worked for more than a decade as a cook at East Bay Suites in Grand Marais, according to his cousin Becky Pederson. Even though he wasn’t cooking professionally anymore, he was still doing it recreationally.
“He loved to cook & drink,” she said, adding that the last time she saw him he had prepared for her pork steaks, potatoes and stuffing.
Mulligan enjoyed drinking, fishing, camping, his black lab Sambuca and spending time with friends at RT Quinlan’s, Old Chicago and Sneakers, according to Pederson. He was a handyman who could fix anything. He mostly drank beer, she said, but occasionally he would have a shot of Goldschlager.
“He was so loving and trusting and funny — beyond-belief funny,” she said. “He had the biggest heart in the world. He was the love of my life.”
Police said an investigation is ongoing, and final reports on the incident are not expected in the “near future.”
James “Mully” Mulligan leaves behind many family members and even more unpaid bar tabs.