11 August 1933 - 28 October 2022
On 11 August 1933, Helen Doreen Stalmach was born on a farm in Brewer, Saskatchewan surrounded by a large extended family of Austrian and Polish immigrants. At the age of 14, she moved with her parents to Nanaimo, BC, where she met her neighbour, Patrick Howard Mullen. In her diary entry that day, she confided that she found him "tall, not dark, but handsome". Seven years later, she married him. They lived in Chase River near their families until, in 1964, they bought a beach cottage, and later a houseboat, in Sechelt, BC, where they made their life and their living from the woods and the ocean that they both adored.
Doreen was determined and kind, pragmatic and cheeky, sharp and loving, generous and resourceful. She knew her own mind and spoke it, with either a glint or a sparkle in her eye. She loved the beach and the water in all its moods, the sunshine and the flowers she could coax from it. She played Scrabble - to win - whether you were a cherubic grandchild or a less seasoned foe. She held the family fishing record with a 47.5lb Tyee. She volunteered with the Girl Guides, believing firmly in the development of strength and independence in young women. Together, she and Pat filled our lives with mushroom-picking in the woods, hunting in the mountains, fishing and crabbing in the inlets, bonfires on the beach, stories by the hearth, and hundreds upon hundreds of wild blackberry pies.
After Pat's passing, Doreen continued to be the heart of our family, providing an unwavering love and support for which we will be forever grateful. She left us quickly and peacefully on 28 October 2022, at home with her grandchildren by her side. Please consider donations to Diabetes Canada or the BC Cancer Agency in her memory. In lieu of a memorial gathering, Doreen asked to be privately and quietly reunited with the ocean and the man that she loved.