Paul Edward Kennedy Mullan, a photographer who made headlines as a foundling discovered in a Towson apartment vestibule, died of a brain tumor Feb. 27 at his parents' North Baltimore home. He was 34.
The story of his first days filled news columns in January 1979. The Sun reported he was discovered near the vestibule mailboxes of a Towson garden apartment near Towson University. Days old, he was wrapped in a plaid blanket and dressed in a J.C. Penney shirt and a diaper held together with Scotch tape.
Baltimore County police officers took the infant to nearby St. Joseph Medical Center, where he was informally named Joseph Francis Towson, or Joe Towson.
"Joseph is the star attraction of the nursing station in the pediatrics ward ... where the nurses think he is beautiful," a Sun story said.
Months later, the baby was again making news stories. He became the subject of an adoption conflict, part of which was jurisdictional. Dr. Paul A. Mullan, a St. Joseph staff member and a pediatrician who cared for the infant after he was found, and his wife, Carol, a school teacher, had no children of their own and sought to adopt him.
The Mullans then lived in the 3900 block of N. Charles St. in the city, several miles from the Baltimore County line.
Judge John N. Maguire held a two-day hearing and by July 1979, the baby became the couple's legally adopted son.
The baby was diagnosed with a congenital heart ailment that required open-heart surgery later performed by Dr. Bruce Reitz, then of Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Mr. Mullan was enrolled at the Gilman School, where he graduated in 1997.
"He brought nothing but joy," said Gilman's headmaster, John E. Schmick, who had been his faculty adviser. "He was always on the sidelines, cheering. He was a real positive member of his class."
Mr. Mullan spent three years in the architecture program at the Catholic University of America, but left after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent surgeries.
On his website, Mr. Mullan discussed his decision to leave architecture. "My memory was too impacted by my surgeries and other treatments. That brought me back to my photography," he said in his essay.
"I started my photography in the 6th grade. I was the photo editor for both the yearbook and newspaper while attending high school. ... When my junior and senior years came I had to develop Independent Studies in photography," he said in the website. "Spending every summer on the Eastern Shore of Maryland I wanted to capture the sights found from the Chesapeake Bay to the Atlantic Ocean."
He also said that he devoted months to doing fine art photographic essays. "Photographs cannot have smells, tastes, texture, or sounds, but I try to involve all the senses in each photograph by capturing enough to have the viewer associate the image with the actual subject," he wrote. "By working hard to capture the image in perfection, that image can create the feeling of being there by your imagination or a quick day-dream."
He took photos of the stained glass windows in the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, where he was a member and he and his father were ushers. He also photographed the Isle of Wight, Assateague Seashore Park and the Dominican Republic.
He also spent time in Ocean City, where he assisted lifeguards patrolling the surfers' beach.
Ginny Milanicz, a family friend from Fallston, said, "He was a happy, energetic person who did a lot of work for other recovering cancer patients."
A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St.
Survivors include his parents.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun