Belfast and Augusta
- Lenore M. Lennie Mullen, 69, a mother, community organizer, and Maine progressive political activist, died July 23, 2017, after a hard-fought, heroic campaign against cancer. She was born Jan. 1, 1948, at Grace-New Haven Community Hospital in Connecticut, the daughter of Barbara M. (Floyd) and Leonard J. Lipton.
Always an avid reader, as a child she believed a grand family outing was spending Saturdays at the library. Her father died when she was five years old and her mother moved the family from West Haven, Conn. to Maine to be near family. As a result, she spent time at the farm of her great-aunt and uncle, Viola and Merle Thompson, in East Dixfield. Even though she described herself as a city girl who loved the lights, enjoyed watching and studying people, and took comfort knowing she was just minutes from a grocery store, she also understood and appreciated rural life. She could milk a cow, pick berries, gather eggs and pull pin feathers off a chicken.
She attended Belfast Area High School where her most important class was civics, which taught her not only how powerful one vote could be, but also the importance of grass-roots organizing and how much can be accomplished when people come together with a common goal. After high school, Lennie worked as a waitress and hostess at several Belfast-area establishments, including Jeds Restaurant and the 10-4 Diner. She attended the University of Maine, majoring in political science. She also held an Associates Degree in Chemical Addiction Counselling.
She married Ronald Mullen in 1964, and had three children. She was pre-deceased by her second husband, Jerry Giles, in 1994. In 1989, she was tasked with establishing Rape Response Services to serve Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties. She established a 24/7 hotline and trained 90 volunteers in 16 weeks. Working with sexual assault centers in Maine and volunteers in the area, RRS was up and running within a year.
For a number of years she, her mother, and son, Scott, operated a part-time used books and household goods business out of her home and at the Hobby Horse Flea Market. While living with her daughter, Amy in San Diego, she enjoyed going to estate sales.
Always inspired by the life of Robert F. Kennedy, she became active in Democratic politics. She served for several years on the Maine State Democratic Committee, representing Waldo County, and served as Executive Director of the Maine Democratic Party from 1991 to 1993. She worked on numerous political campaigns, including those of George Mitchell for Governor in 1974, Jim Tierney for Governor in 1986, and Pat McGowen for Congress in 1990 and 1992. She was particularly proud of the work she and Jerry did when she served as Maine campaign chair for Jesse Jacksons 1984 and 1988 presidential campaigns. In 1995, she began a career in public service with John Baldacci, first serving as a constituent service advisor in his congressional office, and then joining his gubernatorial staff as Director of Constituent Services. In those capacities she would listen to the public, then bring their concerns to the Congressman or Governor. During those 16 years she provided help and government assistance to many hundreds of Maine citizens.
In 2011, after leaving state government, she was named New England Sales Coordinator for Maines Own Organic Milk Company, coordinating sales with many independent grocery stores and Whole Foods markets throughout most of New England. She was responsible for much of the growth of the company during the time she worked there. In 2016, Lennie was diagnosed with cancer and a short time later moved to San Diego to live with her daughter, Amy. She is survived by her children, John N. Mullen of Augusta, Amy Mullen of San Diego, and Scott M. Mullen and long-time partner, Kathryn Erskine of Dresden; a daughter by marriage, Jennifer Giles Adams, and grandson, West Adams, of Los Angeles; her sister and brother-in-law, Debbie and Raymond Morin of Warren; many nieces and nephews, several cousins, and many dear friends. She will be especially remembered by Dale Ames of Machias, and long-time work colleague, Doug Dunbar of Bangor, who provided her with great comfort during her illness.
A celebration of her life will be held in Maine at a date to be announced. Arrangements by Care Center Cremation & Burial, San Diego, CA. Contributions in Lennie's name may be made to the Maine Farm Bureau Disaster Fund, c/o Maine Farm Bureau Association, 4 Gabriel Drive, Suite 1, Augusta, Maine 04330.
Published on  August 2, 2017