Mullady, former carpenter, police officer dies at 78
June 24, 2021
Judd Mullady, a one-time policeman and a career carpenter and building contractor who became known in Haines as a carver of large, stone sculptures, died in Anchorage on June 11, his birthday. He was 78.
Mullady suffered from undiagnosed prostate cancer and a heart condition, said son Pat Mullady.
But as recently as Memorial Day, though he was in failing health, Mullady was still talking about buying a truck in Anchorage and making new sculptures, his son said. "He was a classic starving artist. He did what he loved. He didn't have a fancy car or home, but at least he was doing what he liked."
Mullady was born in Iowa and served in the U.S. Army in the mid-1960s, stationed in South Korea. He later worked as a policeman in Dubuque and Cassville, Wis., then became a carpenter and contractor building homes - including ones for his family- around the Lower 48.
He moved his family to Wisconsin, then after making two trips around Florida, moved to Maine, where he built custom homes in posh Bar Harbor.
The family moved to Ketchikan in 1979, where Mullady's art career – carving wooden gnomes and whales sold at Creek Street stores – started and his marriage ended. "His time in Haines was probably the longest he ever settled down anywhere. That explained the divorce. Mom didn't want to move anymore," Pat Mullady said.
After a short time in Washington state, Mullady returned to Alaska, settling in Juneau in the 1980s. His artworks there include a stone sculpture near the cruise dock and "Living Together in Peace," a carousel-like wood carving of people and bears holding hands in a circle that spins. It's located on Star Hill.
Mullady's stone sculpture of two sea otters was displayed for years at the entrance of the capital building. He moved to Haines around 1991 to be closer to the white, pink and green local marble found in area mountainsides.
Hacking away at giant slabs of rock with diamond-edge tools was equal parts heavy construction and fine art, said Luke Marquardt, who worked as one of Mullady's assistants.
While driving around, Mullady would find rocks to carve by the side of the road, his son said. "I remember him beachcombing in Juneau. He'd find a cedar log on the beach and roll it back into the water and friends with a boat could pick it up for him," his son said.
Although known for his large stone work, it was smaller pieces, including graveyard headstones, flower planters and pocket-size Alaska souvenirs that provided much of his living. The families of Chilkat elder Ruth Kasko and City of Haines Mayor Frank Wallace were among headstone customers. A baker, Mullady also sold his bread and sandwiches at bazaars and community events.
"I feel there's a sense of opportunity here, but the catch is it has to be paid for. It isn't an easy or a free thing," Mullady said in a 2007 newspaper feature story about his life.
Though he often carved bears and marine mammals, Mullady was also interested in flowers, trees and plants, his son said. He was a frequent patron of the Haines library and would chat up residents along Main Street. "I always enjoyed talking to him, compared to some people around here. He was a thinker," former bar owner Brian Lemcke said in the 2007 story.
Mullady's stone creations include a "Santa Claus" on the museum lawn and a stone biplane in front of a barber shop.
Mark and Julie Cozzi were among Mullady's friends and most recently, caregivers. "Judd was definitely loyal to people, and generous," Mark Cozzi said.
Mullady was cremated. No service is planned but family members said donations to local arts efforts could be made in his memory. The Cozzis suggested placing flowers at Mullady's sculptures around town.
"There's a ton of flowers out here now, and more showing up every day," said longtime friend Judith McDermaid, whose hair salon displayed Mullady's work for years. The flowers are testimony to the numbers of people whose lives Mullady touched, McDermaid said.
Judd Mullady was preceded in death by his parents and two older sisters. He is survived by younger siblings Judith Hall of Iowa and brother Shanon Mullady of Maine and by sons Patrick Mullady of Cashmere, Wash., Christopher Mullady of Wenatchee, Wash. and by daughter Becky Mullady of Mitchell, S.D.