TARPON SPRINGS, Benjamin Mulea, 84, passed away unexpectedly on August 12, 2021. Ben was born to the late Anthony Mulea and the late Rose Messina Mulea on April 4, 1937, in Brooklyn, New York.
In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his loving wife, Mary Mulea; sisters, Mildred (Millie) Graziano, Marie Frisina, baby Rose Mulea, Betty Wolfe, and brother, Robert (Bobby) Mulea.
Surviving is his son, Anthony Mulea and his wife, Carmen, of Maryland; daughters, Lynze Ritrievi, of Tarpon Springs, Kerry Chalk and her husband, Dean, of North Carolina, and Lisa Genco of Tampa; seven grandchildren, Kyle Simpson, Haley Huitt, Taylor Huitt, Greg Mulea, Nicole Mulea, Angelina Huitt, and Sofia Genco; sisters, Jean Fiorentino, of New Jersey, Kathleen (Kathy) Kifer, of Indiana, and Jo Ann McHugh, of North Carolina; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and extended family.
Ben proudly served our country in the United States Navy during the Korean War. As a Machinist’s Mate (MM3) on the USS Coral Sea, he was initiated in the traditional Shellbacks ceremony for his first of two crossings of the Equator. Ben earned a Navy Occupation Service Medal. While on leave in New York, he met and instantly fell in love with, Mary O’Rourke. A true ‘love at first sight’ story, he asked her to marry him after only two days. After a short engagement, they married four months before his honorable discharge from the Navy. The couple started their family in Medford, Long Island, where Ben opened a successful plumbing, heating, and well-drilling business.
Seeking warmer weather, the family moved to Louisiana where Ben owned a Mobile gas station and later Florida where he continued his plumbing career. After 16 years of dedicated service, he retired from MacDill Air Force Base.
As a child, Ben and his brother helped his father build the family’s home. That experience sparked his love for building and creating. Ben was known for tinkering in his garage and always having a project in the works. Many joked that once he ran out of house projects, it was time for the family to move to the next house.
Ben was a life-long fan of baseball and enjoyed reminiscing about his early days playing stick ball on the streets of Brooklyn. Though his love of baseball was strong, it did not compete with his love for his wife and family. After Mary was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer, Ben spent the next two years constantly by her side and was devastated by her loss in January 2020.
His love for his wife, children, and grandchildren could be heard in his voice and seen in the twinkle of his eyes. He is dearly missed by so many and will be remembered fondly in the years to come.
Date: Friday, August 20, 2021
Time: 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Date: Saturday, August 21, 2021
Time: 11:00 am
St. Ignatius of Antioch Catholic Church
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