On the morning of Jan. 22, 1919, a kind, gentle yet spirited soul entered this world, Ferne Jacqueline Berrian-Mullen. Late in the evening of March 23, 2010 her loving spirit left this world to be with her sons Robert, Michael and John, her granddaughter Kelly and the love of her life, husband John Raymond. They were all on a sandy beach of the Grand Canyon waiting for her with a dry martini, a deck of cards, an exciting novel, a crossword puzzle, and a raft ready to carry them down her beloved Colorado River.
Ferne loved care-giving. She graduated from Colorado Nursing School in 1938. She worked as an emergency nurse in small mining towns in Colorado and Montana. At times, she would enter a mine and administer care to a trapped miner as the rescue crew worked to free him. She loved nursing and worked on the hospital floor, assisted in surgery and delivered babies. She also served as director of nursing in Leadville, Colo. and Moab.
After retirement she took many river trips down the New River in West Virginia, Cataract Canyon, Westwater Canyon, Desolation/Gray Canyon, the San Juan, the Snake and Salmon Rivers of Idaho, and her most beloved Grand Canyon. Her calm, fun-loving energy was adored by all her many river running friends.
Against all odds, in 1987, Ferne, a female Democrat, was elected to the Grand County Council. Her motivation to run was to keep a toxic incinerator from being built in Grand County. She believed in democracy and knew it was not a spectator sport. She would study issues and candidates and make informed decisions on whom to vote for and what issues to support and which ones to fight.
Ferne taught her children to question yourself, your church and your government. Not agreeing does not mean lacking respect. When asked if she was a liberal or a conservative her response was, “I’m neither, I’m rational.”
Her many accomplishments included being a licensed pilot, Southeastern District Business and Professional Woman of Achievement in 1990 and Catholic Woman of the Year.
She was an avid outdoor person who loved camping and hunting. During her lifetime, she participated in many sports, including softball, bowling, golf, and skiing. She was a master bridge player.
Ferne was a spiritual person who attended both daily and Sunday Masses at her beloved Catholic Church, St. Pius X. She thought of her church community as being part of her extended family.
Above all else Ferne loved her family and friends; this was especially evident during the last days of her life. She left this world surrounded by special longtime friends: Annie, Stephanie, Lisa Jones and Serena, as well as her daughters and many grandchildren.
She is survived by her daughters and their families: Mary and Jim McGann, Patricia Mullen and Holly Mullen, her daughter-in-law; her grandchildren and their families: Kate Sutherland and Shayne Williams, George Mullen and Rachel LaCasse, John and LaVoye Huff, Andrea and Jeff Swanson, Melissa and Elizabeth Bronson, John Mullen and Sara Hansell, Paul and Amanda Mullen, Brenden McGann, Kirsten and Todd Darrington, Jessie Knowlton, Jenet and Josh Faulkner; and also by many great-grandchildren: Alyssa and Annalyse Huff, Chaz and Bella Swanson, Emma Faulkner, Kiley and Keegan Mullen, Hannah and Max Williams.