Anita “Nita” Bernice Mullikin, 85, died on February 18, 2023, in Phoenix, Arizona. She was born on August 2, 1937, in Newcastle, Delaware, to Norman Beadenkolph and Edna May Mullikin. She was raised in Newcastle for eleven years prior to moving to Mesa, Arizona and later to Phoenix, Arizona with her parents and three siblings in 1948. She initially attended Mesa High School prior to graduating from Phoenix Union High School in 1955.
Nita was proud to be in the first graduating class of Arizona State University, earning her Bachelor of Science degree in 1959.
For over 43 years Nita enjoyed a successful teaching career at Paradise Valley High School where she taught business courses, retiring in 2004 as a VIP employee. Ms. Mullikin’s students will fondly remember her love for Garfield comics and how she decorated her classroom with Garfield memorabilia and posters featuring humorous Garfield quotes. Her students undoubtedly heard many a story about her pet cats whom she adored.
Her passion to inspire the younger generations continued into her retirement years. Each holiday she colorfully decorated the exterior of her house and yard specifically for the kids in the neighborhood. Her efforts did not go unnoticed. Neighborhood children and their parents often commented how this simple act of kindness put a huge smile on the children’s faces as they boarded their bus for school. Although Nita did not have children of her own, she showered motherly love and charitable joy on so many, even those she did not know. In fact, she often delighted in picking up the restaurant tab for strangers.
Family was the cornerstone of Nita’s life, and she loved each and every one of them beyond measure. In fact, her primary hobby was mailing out birthday, anniversary, and holiday cards throughout the year to over 128 people, a list which spanned over 4 generations. Without a doubt, those she touched certainly knew how much they were loved. One of her other delights in life was ice cream, often treating her nieces, nephews and their children to a scoop or two! Aunt Nita convinced them from an early age that she could “smell ice cream” while driving down the road, following the sweet scent to an ice cream parlor.
Nita was preceded in death by her father Norman B. Mullikin, Sr., mother Edna May Mullikin, brother Norman B. Mullikin, Jr., sister Shirley Lee Ebert, sister Margaret May Cipolla, several aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers-in-law, nieces, and nephews.
Nita is survived by 4 nieces, 2 nephews, and many grandnieces and grandnephews who will greatly miss her love, kindness, sense of humor and ability to “smell ice cream”. We could not have asked for a better gift from God than our precious Aunt Nita.
A private memorial service will be held on Friday, May 12, 2023 at Phoenix Memorial Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to the National Parkinson’s Foundation, American Heart Association or the American Kidney Fund.