1929 – 2022

Louise M. Mulligan, 93, peacefully died at home surrounded by her family on July 18, 2022. She was born on July 1, 1929 in Lawrence, MA to the late Adam P. Kolce and Ethel Sankey.

She was predeceased by her sons, Kevin John and Terrance Adam Mulligan. Surviving, in addition to her husband of 73 years, retired Navy Captain Jim Mulligan, are sons James (Virginia), Mark (Carol), Sean (Kathy), Neil (Wesley), daughters-in-law Mary and Nina; 17 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren. On 14 October, 1948 Louise (19) married Jim (22) in the NAS Quonset Point RI Navy Chapel. During their non-standard Navy career, Louise raised her six sons while Jim made six Med deployments plus the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crises among others prior to his 7½ year deployment to Vietnam. She founded the East Coast Navy POW wives movement which later merged with the West Coast Navy POW wives to become ultimately the National League of POW/MIA Families.

The following books recount those POW/MIA experiences. The Hanoi Commitment by Jim Mulligan, published by Louise Mulligan; Defiant by Alvin Townley (on the Alcatraz Gang) and most recently The League of Wives by Heath Lee.

Louise was the outspoken leader of the League of Wives as she fought the National government and military hierarchy on behalf of the imprisoned and missing military family members. Her public efforts won her national respect from political, military and media leaders alike. Her recitation on May 1, 1970 of “Mayday, Mayday, Mayday” in Constitution Hall at the League of Wives and Family convention in Washington, D.C. won her national acclaim. For these public efforts, in 1988 she was awarded the Humanitarian Award by the Chapel of the Four Chaplains; prior recipients were Eleanor Roosevelt and Clare Boothe Luce among others.

On Monday, July 25 at 9:30AM a Mass of Christian burial was held at Star of the Sea Catholic church with a reception immediately following in the Church Hall. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to Holy Family Church (Haiti Outreach Program). Online condolences may be made to the family at

Published by The Virginian-Pilot from Jul. 21 to Jul. 24, 2022.