Charles R. “Bob” Mullauer, a gifted teacher who had a talent for making historical events and wars come alive for his students and who enjoyed walking and studying battlefields as well as military tactics, died in his sleep May 18 at his home in Bel Air. The former Cockeysville resident was 70.
“He didn’t just teach history — he made it come alive for his students, and he endeared himself to them through his personality,” said the Rev. Donald Grzymski, president of Archbishop Curley High School, where Mr. Mullauer was a faculty member. “He was very popular with the faculty and students, had a calm demeanor, and liked to keep in touch with the alumni.”
Joseph M. Balkoski, a close friend of many years, shared teaching duties at various local venues such as Roland Park Country School’s Kaleidoscope program, Community College of Baltimore County and Towson University’s Osher program.
“He was one of the finest human beings I’ve ever known and that’s the God’s honest truth,” Mr. Balkoski said. “He was kind and compassionate and would drop everything to do for a friend. He was just a wonderfully kind person.”
Charles Robert Mullauer, son of Charles F. Mullauer, a Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. employee, and his wife, Doris V. Mullauer, a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised in Fullerton.
He attended St. Michael the Archangel parochial school in Overlea and graduated in 1969 from Archbishop Curley High School. He served in the Marine Corps from 1970 to 1975 and attained the rank of corporal.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from what is now Towson University and a master’s degree in military history from American Military University in Charles Town, West Virginia.
He met his future wife, the former Marion Leona Peterson, whom he married in 1975, in a college history class.
Mr. Mullauer began working as a BGE customer service representative and after several years joined the faculty of Archbishop Curley High School in 1986 as a history teacher, remaining on its faculty until 1996.
In addition to his classroom duties, he moderated history-related clubs and served as an assistant coach for many of the school’s sports teams.
He left Curley to pursue further studies and history, then returned to the school in 2013.
Mr. Mullauer had a talent for bringing a certain kinetic energy to the study of history.
“In the classroom he commanded attention, and his knowledge was unsurpassed. No one knew more than he did, and he never gave the impression of being a snob when it came to history,” Mr. Balkoski said. “He was not a snob about what he knew and just the opposite of that and equal to you. There were never any dumb questions, and he didn’t talk down to people or make it complicated. That’s a gift.”
He added: “For a person who never published a book, he knew more military history than anyone I’ve ever known. Bob was simply remarkable.”
Mr. Mullauer taught a wide variety of subjects, from the life of Napoleon to the military campaigns of Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur, with a particular interest in the Civil War.
He also taught in the continuing education program at Anne Arundel Community College.
He was a longtime member and frequent lecturer for the Baltimore Civil War Roundtable, of which he served as president. He was a member of the board of the Maryland Military Historical Society and a member of the support staff at the Maryland Museum of Military History at the Fifth Regiment Armory in Baltimore.
Mr. Mullauer frequently led training exercises for U.S. Army troops and active-duty National Guard members on what was known as “staff rides” that brought them to such battlefields as Gettysburg, Antietam, Chickamauga and Chattanooga to discuss what had transpired there and the historical significance.
Mike Powell, a friend since both were history students at Curley, spent decades with him visiting battlefields, and had planned to go to France this fall on another battlefield excursion.
“We have gone to battlefields here, Revolutionary War and Civil War, and battlefields in both Europe and the Pacific,” Mr. Powell said. “We have been from Moscow to Iwo Jima together, and have been to every major Civil War battlefield and a hundred of the smaller ones.”
Other battlefields included those from the Napoleonic wars, as well as World War I and World War II.
Mr. Powell said they both did in-depth preparation before making their visits.
“He had a wealth of battlefield knowledge, and when we went to one, he’d take one side and I’d do the other,” he said. “We would spend two or three days, and we had all of the maps that took us to the various sites. He had a steel-trap mind and was wicked smart. He was just a very special person.”
Mr. Mullauer was so enraptured with history and the sheer joy and pleasure he derived from it that he was able to go before students or to a senior citizens home or center to illuminate historical events.
“Bob was one of the most underrated historians I’ve ever known because he didn’t publish, never sought any recognition, or took a check,” said Mr. Powell, who is head of the South Brunswick Civil War Roundtable in Brunswick, North Carolina.
One of his local popular rides for members of the Maryland National Guard and ROTC students was the 1814 tour of Baltimore, culminating in Francis Scott Key writing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” family members said.
Mr. Mullauer had assembled a working library of more than 9,000 books, his wife said.
“We had been to Gettysburg the week before he died,” Mr. Balkoski said, “And he was the picture of health.”
Mr. Mullauer was a communicant of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church at 8420 Belair Road in Fullerton, where a Mass of the Resurrection will be offered at noon June 10.
In addition to his wife of 46 years, Mr. Mullauer is survived by his son, Mark J. Mullauer of College Park, and many cousins.