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Pat Mulholland, SFS Award of Excellence recipient (1952-2012)

Published On: 4/24/2012

Pat Mulholland, SFS Award of Excellence recipient (1952-2012)


Dr. Patrick J. Mulholland

ORNL Distinguished Scientist

Dr. Patrick J. Mulholland died on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, 2012, at his home in Oak Ridge, Tenn., surrounded by his family. His death followed a four-year battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

He was born Feb. 27, 1952, in Syracuse, N.Y., and grew up in Elyria, Ohio. Following graduation from Elyria Catholic High School, he attended Cornell University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1973 and a master of science degree in 1975. He met his wife, Cathey Daniels, on a basketball court in Chapel Hill, N.C., and they were married Dec. 30, 1978. He obtained his doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1979 and the family moved to Oak Ridge. Dr. Mulholland spent his entire 31-year career as a research scientist in the Environmental Sciences Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Dr. Mulholland was active as a youth sports coach for Oak Ridge Girls Inc., the Oak Ridge Boys Club, the American Youth Soccer Organization and the Soccer Club of Oak Ridge. He was supportive and appreciative of teachers everywhere, particularly the educational system in Oak Ridge, and enjoyed participating in the school activities of all three of his children. He enjoyed athletics, and could be found on many evenings and weekends over the years playing on the soccer fields and basketball and tennis courts in the Oak Ridge/Knoxville area.

He was politically active his entire adult life, from marching in Washington, D.C., in 1971 in support of ending the Vietnam War, to campaigning door-to-door for Barack Obama in the critical swing state of North Carolina during the 2008 presidential election. He was active in environmental issues, especially efforts to achieve and perpetuate protection of natural lands and waters. He volunteered for Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning.

Dr. Mulholland was a Distinguished Scientist. He was named a Fellow of both the American Geophysical Union and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received a Scientific Achievement Award from Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Environmental Sciences Division in 1991, was given the Distinguished Alumni Award by the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the University of North Carolina in 1995, and was cited as one of the many scientists contributing to the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He published over 140 papers in scientific journals including a 2008 publication in the prestigious international journal Nature. Recently, he led the development of the National Ecological Observatory Network's aquatic experiment, which will be conducted at 10 sites across the United States over the next decade. He received the North American Benthological Society's Award of Excellence in 2011, the highest honor the society bestows. Also in 2011 Oak Ridge National Laboratory named him Distinguished Scientist of the Year. He will posthumously receive the 2012 Elyria Catholic High School Distinguished Alumni Award next month. Of his many honors and awards, Dr. Mulholland was most pleased to be named Volunteer Basketball Coach of the Year by the Oak Ridge Boys Club in 2002.

In addition to his wife, Cathey, Dr. Mulholland is survived by his daughter, Anna Taubenheim, his son-in-law, Ty Taubenheim, and his grandson, Charles Robert Taubenheim, all of Milton, W.Va.; his sons, Rick Daniels-Mulholland and Joe Daniels-Mulholland, both of Knoxville; his parents, Bernard and Mary Mulholland of Charlotte, N.C.; his brother, Jim Mulholland and his wife, Paige Tolbert, of Atlanta, Ga.; six sisters, Kathy Parrinello and her husband, Richard, and Beth Schuber and her husband, Mike, all of Rochester, N.Y.; Monica Erb and her husband, John, of Charlotte, N.C., Margie Mulholland and her husband, Skip Stiles, of Norfolk, Va., Ann Mulholland and her husband, Steve Cerkvenik, of St. Paul, Minn., and Susan Mulholland and her husband, Martin Schmidt, of Williamsburg, Va.; his mother-in-law, Rachel Daniels, of Brevard, N.C.; two brothers-in-law, Robin Daniels and his wife, Connie, of Brevard, N.C., Rick Daniels and his wife, Peggy, of Asheville, N.C.; and a sister-in-law, Mary Daniels and her partner, Laurie Davison, of Lexington, Ky.; and by many nephews and nieces.

Memorial contributions in his honor may be made to the ALS Association of East TN or to any local Planned Parenthood organization.

A celebration of Dr. Mulholland's life will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 28, 2012, at the United Church, Chapel on the Hill in Oak Ridge. The Rev. Dr. Randy Hammer will officiate. Weatherford Mortuary is handling arrangements.

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