Obituary: George Fredrick Mulligan |

Obituary: George Fredrick Mulligan

December 9, 1926 – October 27, 2021

Honoring a True American Hero, George Frederick Mulligan, WWII’s Last Surviving Crew Member aboard The USS Cod, a US Navy’s Submarine.

George Frederick Mulligan, 94 of Canton, IL, Winter Park and Grand Lake passed away at 12:35 PM on Wednesday, October 27, 2021 at Farmington Country Manor in Farmington, IL. Born on December 9, 1926 in Canton, IL he was the son of Louis and Ruth (Fordyce) Mulligan. He married his high school sweetheart, Shirley Jean Haughawout on November 25, 1945 in Canton, IL. She preceded him in death on October 9, 2015.

Also preceding him in death is one of his three daughters, Shauna Mulligan, his five brothers, Chuck, Earl Robert, Louis, Tom, Virgil, and his one sister, Mildred Simmons as well as his parents.

Fred leaves behind a large family legacy. Surviving him are his children, Kathy (Doug) Nafziger; Stephen Mulligan; Patrick (Margaret) Mulligan; Sean Mulligan; Erin (Ed) Welcome; thirteen grandchildren, sixteen great-grandchildren, and three sisters, Nelda (Lloyd) Wages; Donna (Nelson) Maxwell; Peggy (Mike) McCreight.

Fred’s life reads like a fictional novel. He grew up during the Great Depression and spent his early years in a horse drawn wagon zig zagging around the Midwest to dodge the Pinkerton’s. Fred left high school to join the Navy. At the time, he was not of age, so he lied and went on to fight in WWII. He patrolled the South Pacific while serving aboard the USS Cod submarine. Until his death, he was the last surviving crew member who served on this vessel during WWII.

After the war, Fred returned home to Canton, IL and married his high school sweet heart, Shirley. Together for over 70 years, they raised six children, including a child with special needs, whose side he never left for over 60 years. Fred lived many lives. While attending WIU they had a dance studio and donut shop, where dad befriended civil rights leader C.T. Vivian. Fred became a farmer until their house burnt down, he rebuilt the Orndorff, survived tornados and floods all while serving his community as a teacher, coach, bus driver and principal. After he moved his family to Colorado, he became an entrepreneur. He owned restaurants, real estate and a Bed & Breakfast. Eventually, he returned to his roots as a farmer back in Canton, IL where he remained until his death.

As a Christian, retired educator and coach he had a positive effect on thousands of lives. Fred was best known for his omnipresent smile, optimistic outlook on life and willingness to help others. Help us honor Fred by making a positive impact on others.

Visitation will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 PM on Monday, November 1, 2021 at Sedgwick Funeral Homes & Crematory in Canton. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 AM on Tuesday, November 2, 2021 at Evangelical Free Church in Canton, IL. Pastor Brandon Theobald will officiate. Burial will take place in Orndorff – Breeds Cemetery in rural Canton, where Military honors will be conducted by the United States Navy and the Canton VFW. Memorials can be made to the USS Cod Restoration Foundation. To leave online condolences please visit

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