John Edward Mullens

Cabot VT – John Edward Mullens, age 78, of Cabot and Hartford, Vermont, died at home on December 3, 2022. 

John was a teacher and mentor, an environmental steward, a dreamer yet thoughtful planner.

He was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1944, the youngest child of Victor and Bettye (Moan) Mullens. He attended Omaha Central High School and the University of Nebraska, graduating with a business degree and thoughts of a military career. In 1966, he married Susan Shannon Field, whom he first met in 7th-grade dancing class. They moved to Germany, where he was stationed with the Army for two years.

In the early 70s, John moved with his young family to rural New Hampshire to an old house with no central heating or plumbing. They were back-to-the-landers – raising animals, tending a large garden, and connecting with nature. 

John soon realized his calling for educating children. He received his Masters in Education from UNH and taught for many years in Moultonborough and Hanover, NH, inspiring young minds with his creativity, patience, and intellectual curiosity. Mid-career, he expanded his educational interests beyond the classroom and pursued a doctorate in Administration, Planning and Social Policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His dissertation on teacher preparedness in Belize offered him opportunities to visit remote villages and connect with rural teachers. Back in the US, working for firms in Washington, DC, and Portsmouth, NH, he conducted large-scale educational studies for federal agencies.

John loved the out-of-doors – hiking, biking, paddling, and working the land. He became involved in the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), not only hiking the trails but working to maintain them and to build remote campsites in the northern Maine woods. He served in several positions for the Maine AMC chapter and went on to serve on the AMC Board for three terms, bringing his wisdom and experiences to further AMC’s environmental mission.

His love for the woods also led him to Cabot, VT, where he built an off-grid, energy-efficient cabin with a view of the Vermont hills. He worked to clear the land, rehabilitate an old apple orchard and build cross-country skiing and hiking trails. He loved being there in all seasons of the year.   

John was a teacher at heart, never more important than with his children and grandchildren, building memories with them and instilling lifelong values. John is survived by his loving family: his wife, Susan; brother, Russell (Liz) Mullens; children, Shannon (Jeremy) Wallis and Brook (Molly) Mullens; and grandchildren, Avery, Isabel, Amelia and Beck.

A memorial service at the Church of Christ at Dartmouth College in Hanover will be held on January 21, 2023.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John’s memory to the Appalachian Mountain Club. Gifts, which will support AMC’s Maine Wilderness Initiative, can be mailed to 10 City Square, Boston, MA 02129 or made via its website:

The Rand-Wilson Funeral Home in Hanover is assisting the family.