• Joan M. Mulhern
    January 03,2013

    Joan M. Mulhern

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Joan M. Mulhern, 51, of Washington, D.C., formerly of Moretown and Waitsfield, Vt., and Sherborn, Mass., died Dec. 18, 2012, after complications from a long-term illness.

    The devoted daughter of the late Marie L. (Henry) and John F. Mulhern, she was the beloved sister of Marie C., Martha L. and John C. Mulhern, of Boston, and the late Robert A. Mulhern. Dearly remembered niece and cousin, she will be missed by her many friends and colleagues.

    Ms. Mulhern graduated from The University of Vermont in 1985. After graduation she was employed by the Vermont Public Interest Research Group as associate director, where she was a tenacious advocate for, among many things, the statewide regulation of mercury and other toxins in consumer products and the waste stream, the bottle bill and other recycling efforts, prohibiting low-level nuclear waste in Vermont landfills, and water withdrawal issues. She received recognition from the Tufts University Institute for the Environment and the Coalition of Northeastern Governors.

    Joan then attended Georgetown Law School and graduated magna cum laude in 1997. As a student at Georgetown, Joan served along with law students from around the world as a citizen witness on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa.

    Upon returning to Washington, D.C., Joan worked with Ralph Nader at Public Citizen where she fought the tobacco industry.

    Joan was senior legislative counsel at EarthJustice at the time of her death where she was remarkably dedicated to her work to save Appalachian waters and communities from the devastating effects of mountaintop removal mining, and protect Florida waters from toxic algae slime.

    In the high-powered halls of Congress, Joan was a tireless advocate for the underdog. Even in the face of bleak politics and serious illness, Joan never lost her notorious wit and humor. She received national recognition in 2007 when Vanity Fair featured her in a photo essay called “Eco Heroes,” where she appeared alongside luminaries like Robert Kennedy Jr. and EPA chief Carol Browner.

    Throughout Joan’s life and career, the Green Mountains of Vermont held a special place in her heart.

    She was a lifelong Red Sox fan.

    A memorial service will be held in the Eaton and Mackay Funeral Home, 465 Centre St., Newton Corner, Mass., on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at 11 a.m. Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend. Visiting hours will be held on Friday, Jan. 4, from 4 to 7 p.m.

    In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests donations to The Joan Mulhern Justice Fund, c/o EarthJustice, 50 California St., Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94111, or online at http://earthjustice.org/joan.

    For directions to services, please visit www.eatonandmackay.com or call 617-244-2034.

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