Bart Mulhern was about 20 when he was hired as a messenger at the Globe, and over a 45-year career he worked his way up to become head of home delivery.
He was the kind of hands-on boss who threw newspapers into the back of his car and took them to their destinations when a truck broke down. If employees called with a problem, his was the voice they hoped would answer the phone.
Family and friends say Mr. Mulhern was so dedicated to the newspaper that he thought of himself as a Globe man until his death of pneumonia Nov. 15 in an assisted-living facility in Newton. He was 99 and formerly lived in Randolph.
“He was very proud of the paper,” said Peter O’Kane, who knew Mr. Mulhern for almost 60 years. “All you ever heard was what a great place it was to work there. A lot of times people get through and say they enjoyed it, but he always talked about how much it meant to him.”
Mr. Mulhern was the head of home delivery when he hired Andy Burke of Winthrop in 1964 and gave him a job in circulation sales. They worked together for years and stayed in touch after Mr. Mulhern retired in 1978.
“He had a calm demeanor; he was good to everybody,” said Burke, now 71. “If I made a mistake, and I made many because I thought I was smarter than everyone else, he would stand up for me.”
O’Kane said the Globe continued to be a big part of Mr. Mulhern’s life in retirement. Every day he would go to the distributor on Main Street in Randolph to get the day’s paper, talk about what was going on, and lend a hand when needed.
Even after he retired, “if someone called up and for some reason didn’t get their paper, he would go bring it to you,” said O’Kane, who added that Mr. Mulhern did “things other people wouldn’t do.”
Mr. Mulhern’s son, Robert of Belmont, said his father “cared deeply about the Globe,” and in particular about the people who worked for the newspaper.
“He was very conscientious about helping the people he worked with or [who] worked for him,” his son said.
It wasn’t as if Mr. Mulhern was only putting in his time to collect a pension, his son said.
“The newspaper, in part, was his life,” Robert said.
Bartholomew Mulhern Jr. was born in Boston on Oct. 23, 1913, his son said.
Mr. Mulhern had two younger brothers and a sister. While growing up, he planned to go to college and become an accountant, but when he was a teenager, his father died. That forced Mr. Mulhern to drop out of school and start working to provide for his siblings and mother. Soon afterward, he was hired by the Globe.
While in his early 20s, Mr. Mulhern met Myrtle Wills at an ice cream store. They married in 1939. Although he worked long hours, his son said, Mr. Mulhern made it home in time for dinner at 6:30 p.m.
For several years until he was about 40, Mr. Mulhern was a referee for a basketball league in the city. He also was deeply involved in Randolph’s Little League baseball program.
A devout Catholic, Mr. Mulhern was involved in Saint Mary Parish in Randolph for many years, his son said. He never missed Mass, was an usher, and also belonged to the Knights of Columbus.
Other than sending Robert to Catholic school, Mr. Mulhern saved much of his money and had planned to travel with his wife when he retired. But around 1960, his son said, Mrs. Mulhern started showing signs of Parkinson’s disease.
When that happened, Mr. Mulhern “basically took over running the household,” his son said. After a few years, she needed more care and was admitted to a nursing home, where Mr. Mulhern met her for dinner nearly every day at 4 p.m. until her death.
Robert said that when he and his father went to see Notre Dame football games, Mr. Mulhern “would almost have to fly in, see the game, and fly out,” in order to make it back in time to see his wife.
“My dad was an incredibly loyal person,” his son said.
Mr. Mulhern also outlived two of his children: a daughter, Joan Keane, and a son, Kevin.
A service has been held for Mr. Mulhern, who, in addition to his son leaves a daughter, Judith Quirico of Melbourne, Fla., and 10 grandchildren.
Burke said that Mr. Mulhern “didn’t bring his personal life into his job, but if you knew him, you knew what he was dealing with.’’
“He was a good person,” Burke said. “He was an honest man. What he did was what he had to do.”