COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Businessman and community leader James McMullen passed away Sunday, July 26 at 75 years old.
McMullen, a Columbus native, was diagnosed with an uncommon form of skin cancer in 2012 called metastatic melanoma. His wife Cecille tells us although he was only given three to six months, he beat the odds and lived for three years after his diagnosis.
His family said he lived a full life and was able to live his dreams of owning a family owned funeral home. Cecille also said traveling with his family was one of the things on his bucket list.
"He wanted to take both children to Europe," Cecille said. "So he took 'em and took me."
Cecille says that she was married to James McMullen for 52 years. They spent their honeymoon in New Orleans where they were attending mortuary school. Owning a funeral home is what they always dreamed of.
His son James Allen McMullen Jr. said they spent many holidays at the mortuary consoling grieving families but this is by far the hardest funeral that they've ever had to plan. He's honored to carry on the family legacy and is confident that he'll continue his father's success of being one of Columbus' most trusted funeral homes.
"To go and achieve that and build it from ground up. I know he's proud of us. And we are going to continue to do exactly what he wanted us to do," he said.
James McMullen is survived by his wife, two children and four grandchildren.
McMullen Funeral home first opened in Columbus in 1987 on 13th Street until 1997 when they moved to Gentian Boulevard where they had a new building built from the ground up.
McMullen Funeral home has always specialized in "pre-arranged funerals", encouraging individuals to plan their funerals now so that it takes off some of the pressure on the families at the time of death.
"We preach each day for families to come in and do pre-arrangements to make sure their wishes are done in advance," said James McMullen Jr. "So it takes the burden off at the time of death. Well Dad did that."