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Former longtime Carolina Theatre employee Peggy Mullen, 79, passed away at her home in Durham last Sunday. From her tireless work as one of the dedicated volunteers who helped save our Theatre in the 1980s to her decades of distinguished service in our box office through 2013, Peggy was a cherished member of our community who will be deeply missed.
“Peggy Mullen’s smile at the Carolina Theatre box office was so much a part of everything good that building has exemplified for so long,” Stephen Barefoot, the Theatre’s managing director from 1985 to 1988, said of Peggy. “She was a cheerful, dedicated and supportive volunteer and employee for more than 30 years — all the way back to the days when Connie Moses would ignite the bucket brigade, telling us the time had come to spray paint the carpet.”
“She was just always so pleasant, so sweet” Theatre Office Manager Cora Bryant said of Peggy, whom she worked with for 20 years. “My daughter is in all kinds of pageants and things, and Peggy always encouraged her in her competitions; she sent her nice messages. She was like that with everyone.”
Even though Peggy left the Theatre more than a year-and-a-half ago, she always wanted to return to work in the building she cherished and with the people whom she had a positive impact on every day, Bryant said.
“Peggy had a very genuine way about her. We had fans who would plan their movie trips around her work schedule,” Theatre Chief Operating Officer Aaron Bare said of Peggy. “When she stopped working a couple of years ago, they would ask about her.”
All recalled Peggy as thoroughly committed to helping guests enjoy their experience at the Carolina.
“She never got ruffled. In 20 years, I can never – I mean never – ever say I saw her mad or upset,” Bryant said.
Even in her 70s, Peggy was fearless. She was the first part-time box office staffer to work with the theatre’s new Ticketmaster system in 2010, and she strongly believed in the theatre’s important role as Durham’s historic downtown showplace.
“She loved this Theatre. She just loved it. It closed down (for renovations) and she came back,” Bryant said.
Always positive and accepting of change, Peggy saw much of it in her decades of helping ensure the Carolina Theatre survived for future generations, including her newborn great-grandson Parker Hartman.
“Peggy saw a lot of changes during her years at the theatre — and she loved the place dearly. Over all these years, the day would always brighten when I’d walk up to the box office and find Peggy there. It felt so ‘right’ for it to be her face,” Barefoot said. “She will be missed.”
A loving wife, mother, grandmother and sister, Peggy is survived by her husband, George Thomas “Tommie” Mullen; daughter, Lisa Mullen Hartman and husband Jeff; son, Lowell Mullen and wife April; grandchildren, Blake Hartman, Eric Hartman and fiancé, Erin Donnell, Brooklyn Mullen; great grandson, Parker Hartman; step-grandchildren, Michael, Deanna and Nikki Christiansen; brothers, Earl Garrett and wife Debbie of Roxboro, Harry Lee Garrett and wife Patsy of Greenwood, SC; sister-in-law, Celia Payne of Memphis, TN and brother-in-law, Luther Randolph Mullen of Durham and nieces and nephews.
Per the News & Observer, the family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m., Thursday, April 2 at Clements Funeral Home in Durham.