James L. McMullin of Raytown, Missouri died Tuesday, August 29, 2023 at the age of 96. A graveside service will be held on Friday, September 8, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. at Green Lawn Cemetery in Kansas City.
Jim was born January 21, 1927 in Parma, Missouri near the Missouri Bootheel, the only son of James Charles McMullin and Annis E. (Jones) McMullin, and brother to Carma Louise McMullin, where he was raised as a Presbyterian. When speaking of his childhood, Jim would declare he never knew he was poor. He was born and lived in a house with no electricity nor running water, which was the norm at the time. His family had a cow, Bessie, for milk, a goat named Billy, two hunting dogs, Old Pete and Frank, and a county full of family and friends. Childhood pranks consisted of soaping store windows on Halloween, once enticing all the mules to sing at Uncle Frank's mule farm (for which he received a spanking) and pushing over an outhouse. Jim began hunting rabbits, squirrels and quail with his dad in the nearby woods. His family's first car was a 1927 model T Ford with a crank start, and he saw his first motion picture in 1938 on an outdoor screen in Parma. He was 14 years-old when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.
In 1944, Jim and family moved to Kansas City where Jim attended Center High School and met and fell in love with the love of his life, Helen Campbell. After graduation, Jim enlisted in the Navy and served for a year before transferring to the Marine Corps. When World War II ended in September, 1945, Jim returned home and attended the University of Kansas City (now UMKC) on the GI bill and then entered law school. Jim married his high school sweetheart, Helen Campbell, on November 24, 1948 over Thanksgiving break from his law studies. Their first apartment was a one-room apartment at 47th and Harrison, with a Murphy bed.
During his 17-month tour of duty in the Korean War, he was sent to Masan, Korea as a legal officer trying cases as both prosecutor or defense counsel in general court martials both in Korea and Japan. Jim was in three major campaigns against the Chinese and North Koreans and received three battle stars. He left the Marines as a major and, upon his return after the Korean War, he served in the Marine Corps Reserve until 1960.
Jim returned to Kansas City in June of 1952 where he began his law practice in Kansas City, Missouri. He practiced law for over 60 years and defended well over 100 murder cases. He was a warrior in the courtroom and loved practicing law. He often said that he wished he could try cases without having to charge anyone. He especially loved to try murder cases because he was fighting to save someone’s life.
Jim lived an amazingly full life. He grew up wanting to be a lawyer as he and his father wished, and he fulfilled that dream. He loved the military, always faithful to the Marine Corps. He enjoyed participating with his family in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade; he was an avid CBer during the era; an avid hunter throughout his life, especially duck and goose hunting with his son; loved sailing locally and in the Bahamas; loved fishing, camping, canoeing and everything outdoors. He was a prolific reader with a keen interest in the Civil War.
Jim’s wife, Helen, preceded him in death in 2007. He leaves a daughter, Jana McMullin and three grand-fur babies; a son, Jeff McMullin, his wife, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Jim was a loving husband, father and friend. His smile, sense of humor and willingness to help others will be missed.