When employees of his company had trouble providing Christmas for their kids, Jimmy Mulholland bought extra toys for them. When teenagers showed up at his business in need of a second chance, he gave them one.
This is Mulholland’s legacy and how Dean Brown will remember him.
Mulholland died on Jan. 4 at age 76 after battling Parkinson’s disease for years. The 70-year-old Brown is vice president of operations at Mulholland Co. and knew Mulholland since he was 17. He worked with Mulholland on and off since 1970 and said he was always fair to his employees and was a hard worker.
He was born in Fort Worth and graduated from Arlington Heights High School and attended the University of Texas at Arlington. He also was a reserve for the U.S. Marines. Mulholland was a deacon at Connell Baptist Church.
Mulholland Co. is a printing business established in 1909 and has remained in Fort Worth the entire time. Mulholland was the fourth generation to run the company. Now, his nephew, Scott Kirk, 56, is the president.
The company started printing labels for meatpackers in the stockyards, Kirk said. Then in the 1970s and 80s, the shop mostly made rubber stamps. In the early 90s, it ventured into plastic engraving. In the early 2000s, the business started screen printing on apparel.
Now, the company is primarily banners, plastic signs, and screen printing, Kirk said. Jimmy took over in the mid-70’s, he said.
“He had a giant heart,” Kirk said. “He was always offering people jobs. It didn’t matter their skillset, he was ready to give them a job and teach them to do something.”
Brown said Mulholland believed in giving people second chances. He did not care about the mistakes someone made, and he was willing to give them a job.
He also helped young people through Happy Hill Farm, a nonprofit religious organization that helps children “from low opportunity situations” get an education, job and learn leadership skills. Through Happy Hill Farm, Mulholland helped teenagers who were homeless, troubled or had issues at home, Brown said.
Kirk started learning skills for the print shop when he was 11 and would visit his uncle over the summer.
“I’m not saying never get excited or fired up about when you made a mistake,” Kirk said. “But he was always willing to still give you another chance and teach you to do stuff that really seemed to matter, not just babysit.”
As he takes over the company, Kirk said, he hopes to carry on how well his uncle treated his employees and how open he was in his Christian faith.
But Mulholland was more than a boss or businessman to his family. Kirk said he expected Mulholland to live longer than his 76 years.
Marty McCutchen, 49, is Mulholland’s son-in-law and is a CPA in Fort Worth who never worked for him. McCutchen had a relationship with him his friends were jealous of.
McCutchen married Mulholland’s daughter, Chrissie, when they were 23, and said he was able to talk with Mulholland about anything. They especially bonded over sports.
Mulholland was a fan of the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers, and he had an impressive baseball card collection, McCutchen said. One day, McCutchen mentioned an Atlanta Braves player he liked in passing, and then Mulholland found cards for the players he told him he liked.
But the greatest legacy he leaves behind is his faith, McCutchen said.
“He spread the word and the love of Jesus,” he said. “When things were going well, he knew where the credit came from and where the credit was due. And when things didn’t go so well, he was like, ‘The Lord’s going to take care of it.’ A lot of people say that. You don’t see many people that act it out. And he acted that out all the time.”
Kristen Barton is an enterprise reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at email@example.com. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.