Lt. Col., USAF Retired Jimmy W. Mullins, 92, of Tullahoma, went home to be with our Lord on Sunday, November 14th, 2021, at Vanderbilt-Harton Hospital after a brief illness. He was born in Jenkins, KY to the late Ivan B. Mullins and Lois Mullins. After graduating high school and desiring a career in the military, Jimmy enrolled at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in the ROTC program. Upon graduation from VPI, he joined the U. S. Air Force with the goal of becoming a jet pilot. After flight training in Greenville Mississippi and Waco Texas, he received his wings in 1953. He received orders to serve in the Korean conflict, but the conflict ended before his transfer overseas.
As with all Air Force pilots, he had stops both stateside and overseas. It was while he was home on leave from assignment in France that he met his future wife, Mary Lou on a blind date. After a brief courtship, they were married at Chaumont Air Base on Feb. 14th, 1956.
Some of his achievements include overseeing the installation of ballistic missile silos in Oklahoma, and as a pilot, becoming an early member of the Mach Busters Club for breaking the sound barrier in an F-86D Sabre, being named an instructor in the F-100 Sabre in Africa, and earning the Air Medal and The Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions while serving in the Vietnam War from 1966 – 1967. After his return from Vietnam, he was stationed at Edwards Air Force Base, sharing the duties of test pilot, and serving in the rocket lab, testing rocket engines for use in the Apollo space program. With his Air Force career coming to a close, he chose Arnold Air Force Base in Tullahoma as his last assignment. One of his highlights while at Arnold was receiving The Fickle Finger of Fate Award from Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In while overseeing “The Chicken Gun.” His last duties were in VKF and the A&E building.
Upon retirement, he and Mary Lou owned and operated The Carousel Ice Cream Shoppe and Toys, Etc. in Northgate Mall. In the Carousel, he was known as “Joe Popcorn” for his affinity for popping popcorn to drive in hungry customers. Later, he served as office manager for H & R Block in Tullahoma. He was a long-time member of The Tullahoma Kiwanis Club, earning Distinguished Secretary and Distinguished Club President honors. He also served on the board of the Multi County Cancer Support Network.
He was preceded in death by a son, Mark Rodney, wife Mary Lou, and parents Ivan and Lois. He is survived by his brother, Bill (Chris), daughter Durinda (Gerry), son Kevin (Robbin), and grandchildren Elliott and Claire.
Visitation will be held Monday, November 29, 2021 from 2:00 to 4:00 at Tullahoma Funeral Home, with a brief memorial service to follow at 4:00 pm.
The family would like to thank the wonderful staff at Brookdale Senior Living, and the nurses and staff of the second floor at Vanderbilt-Harton for their care and professionalism during his illness.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to The Alzheimer’s Association.
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