In Memory

Agnes Mulhearn - Class Of 1961

Agnes Mulhearn

Agnes Sue Mulhearn, daughter of James and Agnes Mulhearn, died on October 17, 2009.  She was 65.

Born in Hollywood on October 31, 1943, she grew up in South Pasadena where she became a ranked tennis player and the South Pasadena High School Homecoming Princess in 1961.  Just before the Rose Parade, "Princess Agnes" and her lifelong friend Susan Winslow, who was driving, were involved in a traffic accident at the Huntington Library.  Agnes appeared on the float wearing bandages over her face.  She attended Occidental College for her undergraduate degree and then entered Loyola Law School.  After the first year she was the only woman left in her section.  Surviving this training at this time is a testament not only to her intellect, but to her unyielding determination.  Her fearlessness and strength were her most memorable attributes.

Agnes was always willing to give her opinion and was unwilling to back down when she was right.  In this, as in so many other things she did, she was an inspiration to all who knew her.  Shortly after graduation, she made partner at Ball, Hunt, Hart, Brown, and Baerwitz.  Living in Long Beach, she met and wed Robert Bellevue in Carmel.

A life long advocate on behalf of the poor and oppressed, Agnes returned to Long Beach to work as the Senior Judicial Research Attorney for the Second District Court of Appeals.  She loved the direct contribution her work at the Court of Appeals made protecting the underprivileged.  Her civic duties were numerous.  A very active supporter of the Long Beach Symphony, she served on the Board of Directors for over 25 years.  She spent many years on the Executive Committee and was always a vocal advocate for the music and musicians.  The first Long Beach Symphony Orchestra Crescendo was held in the dome that housed the Spruce Goose.  When rain began pouring through leaks in the roof, Agnes (in full formal dress) began moving potted plants under the leaks.  The guests arrived to a dry floor and a well-watered indoor garden.

Agness lived in South Pasadena, Los Angeles, Sydney, Colorado, Carmel Highlands, and Long Beach.  She traveled extensively around the world, but loved living on the Long Beach peninsula.  When she retired, she joined the Peninsula Garden Club.  She was also a long-time Los Angeles Dodgers fan.

Agnes fought cancer with the same persistence she employed elsewhere.  Her initially poor diagnosis was consistently redefined as Agnes' strength wrestled with the disease.  Her life was infinitely prolonged and enriched by the loving care of her husband, Robert.  Agnes is survived by her husband, Robert Bellevue; stepsons, Oliver and Ryan Bellevue; sister and brother-in-law, Ann Marie and Gene Coffman; nieces and nephews, Tom, James, Caroline, Mary Ann, Kate, and James; great nieces and nephews, Parick, Ann Marie, Walter, Phoebe, Grace, Dashiell, Josh, and Liam.  She was preceded in death by her brother, James Mulhearn.

The family would like to thank all the family, friends, and medical staff for their significant help while Aggie was sick, especially Jim Waisman, Gary Cummins, Susan Phillips, and Susan Winslow.

Long Beach Press-Telegram, October 20, 2009


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10/24/09 02:46 PM #1    

James Tomlin (1961)

Aggie's nephew spoke so well at the funeral I hope he will post his remarks here. Those of us who shared the early part of her life's journey saw only the girl that she was, and only hints of the remarkable woman she would become. My favorite memory of Aggie was when we set the school relay record. She came to the meet with my mom and Mrs. Brem, and when we got back to the stands she hugged me as well as Todd, who was her boyfriend. Aggie was always happy for the success of others and she never felt diminished when someone else was in the spotlight.

A conversation with Aggie was seldom trivial. We were sitting in the quad one late afternoon, talking about Biology. Many of you will remember quirky Miss Sowards, the quintessential biology teacher. I would have been talking about Miss Sowards two dogs, which had the run of the classroom, but Aggie was quizzing me on cell mitosis because she was really interested in understanding it. As those who know me might expect, I had few answers for Aggie on that day.

Aggie had a first class intellect and I am sure she could have been successful at any vocation she choose to embrace, for she was passionate about life and making a difference. We are sad when some people pass away because we love them, but the passing of others truly diminishes those who know them well. After June of 1961, I rarely saw Aggie except at the reunions, but as her nephew said so well, someone very special has been taken, too soon, and everyone who knew her is the less for her passing.

12/05/09 04:03 PM #2    

James Tomlin (1961)

For Aggie from her nephew, Jim Harmes

My aunt and my grandmother at the dinner table, the back and forth of words, the reverence for the weight and taste of ideas, the certainty that something is always at stake.

My grandmother was relatively understated, even quiet in her assertiveness. My aunt, Aggie, didn't suffer fools, though her patience could be bottomless, one of the many contradictions that made tier something special. What did Whitman say, "Do I
Contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes." That's a complicated statement, something I'm not sure Aggie completely knew about herself early in her life. I think she fought those warring impulses, found it hard to know so much and sit quietly by while silly people yammered on. I think she found it hard at times to accept how anyone could want anything less than a fully examined, fully experienced life.

We all know how fully she lived these last few years, how bravely she faced her illness, how patient she must have been with the most frustrating of conditions: the randomness of suffering.

We know so little when it comes right down to it, and I felt, the last few times I was with her, that Aggie had found a rare equilibrium: here was a person of extraordinary learning, a person whose intellect was exceeded only by her curiosity (and of course, curiosity is perhaps the most necessary skill, a talent that must be nurtured and practiced, cultivated and wooed: Aggie could sit with you for hours and listen, taking it all in, answering your life with hers in ways that deepened understanding; she truly made me feel at times as though I was living a valuable life. I'm not sure there's a greater gift). But here was person who knew so much and was faced with the unknowable. However strong our faith, silence is a difficult answer to any question.

So most of all I'd like to honor her particular bravery, and her obvious generosity, and her toughness. I think she'd like the no-nonsense wistfulness of this poem by W.H. Auden, the greatest elegist of the 20th century, which offers no answer but the desire to provide one. Aggie was like that: she wanted to tell you something that would help. So often, she did.

But I Can't

Time will say nothing but I told you so,
Time only knows the price we have to pay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.
If we should weep when clowns put on their show,
If we should stumble when musicians play,
Time will say nothing but I told you so.
There are no fortunes to be told, although,
Because I love you more than I can say,
If I could tell you I would let you know.
The winds must come from somewhere when they blow,
There must be reasons why the leaves decay;
Time will say nothing but I told you so.
Perhaps the roses really want to grow,
The vision seriously intends to stay;
If I could tell you I would let you know.
Suppose the lions all get up and go.
And all the brooks and soldiers run away;
Will Time say nothing but I told you so?
If I could tell you I would let you know.

05/05/10 03:37 PM #3    

Martin Allen Price (1961)

Aggie, was truly a great gal and one that we all will remember as one of our best.

Rest in peace Aggie your with the Lord now.


Marty Price


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