Joan Mullan, literature professor, dies at 86

January 17, 2014

Joan Mullan, a literature professor who taught at Montgomery College in Rockville for more than two decades, died Dec. 23 at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. She was 86.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said her son Gib Mullan.

Mrs. Mullan taught American and world literature and worked in the college’s writing center. She retired in the early 1990s as a full professor.

Joan Marguerite Woodworth was born in Washington, where she graduated from the old Notre Dame Academy in 1945. She received a bachelor’s degree in English literature from what is now Trinity Washington University in 1949 and a master’s degree in American studies from George Washington University in 1969.

She was a longtime member of the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Washington, where she served on the parish council and participated in a Bible study group. She was a Eucharistic minister at the church and to parishioners unable to leave their homes.

Mrs. Mullan also volunteered through the Christ Child Society of Washington, a nonprofit organization benefiting children, as well as with the Girls Scouts when her daughters were growing up. She was a longtime District resident.

In 2009, she privately published an autobiography, “A Mullan Memoir.”

Her twin sons, Mark Mullan and Patrick Mullan, died at birth in 1956.

Survivors include her husband of 63 years, William E. Mullan Jr. of Washington; six children, Gib Mullan of Hyattsville, Gerry Sweet of Baltimore, Maureen Scance of Golden, Colo., Ann Mullan and William Evans Mullan III, both of Bethesda, and Martin Mullan of Silver Spring; a sister, Geraldine Woodworth of University Park; 18 grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

— Emily Langer

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