Mark Paige Cullen of Pleasanton passed away Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at the age of 67 after a short but severe illness. He was born January 16, 1951 in Eku, Nigeria to Paul and Ida (Wright) Cullen at the Eku Baptist Hospital where his parents served as Southern Baptist missionaries from 1950 through 1957.
Mark spent his early years in Nigeria, where he and the other missionary children had the hospital compound as their playground, chasing all the lizards they wanted to chase, playing board games inside for days during the rainy season (or playing in the mud puddles). Sometimes, they jumped the fence to explore the neighboring rubber-tree plantation. The families would often swim in the crystal clear local river, where they could see many varieties of tropical fish and watch monkeys in the trees. His family would occasionally visit other mission facilities and native churches around Nigeria.
The Cullen family returned to the States in 1957, where they lived in the Houston area. Mark and his brother John were in Boy Scouts with the enthusiastic participation of their father. He enjoyed activities with his friends like swimming and roller-skating. Mark briefly delivered the Bellaire newspaper from his bicycle. After he graduated from Bellaire High School, he got his BA in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin, where at Campus Crusade meetings he met his future wife Djenadi Mills. They were married in 1974 and settled in Pleasanton.
Mark enjoyed life with his family, caring for animals and for wild birds in his back yard, taking art lessons, going on camping and ski trips, and even parachuting. While their children were growing up, Mark supported their interests in art, music, and Scouts. He found varied employment opportunities, including insurance agent, science teacher, oil well maintenance, and San Antonio City Parks employee. While working full-time as Health Inspector for the city of San Antonio, he also took nursing classes full-time at San Antonio College, earning his RN in 1994. He was a hospital nurse for 23 years, traveling around the country, frequently working 16-hour shifts to help fill nursing shortages, including participating in hurricane relief. He was the caregiver for his father Paul for several years, which influenced Mark to become a Hospice Nurse after he retired from SAMMC (San Antonio Military Medical Center).
Mark is survived by his beloved wife, Marilyn Djenadi (Mills) Cullen, sons Benjamin Curtis Cullen and wife Lorna, Luke Harrison Cullen, Andrew Paul Cullen and wife Estrella; daughter, Ruth Ann Cullen Henager and husband Alan; brother, John Marshall Cullen and wife Sharon; sister, Paulette Cullen Brown and husband Leo. He is also survived by twelve grandchildren: Isabella, Djenadi, Rand, Angelina, Alan, Lillie, Ruby, Aubriana, Penelope, Mark Alan, Lucille, and Mindy Jane. Mark was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Jeanine Cullen Alexander.
Visitation was held at Hurley Funeral Home in Pleasanton on Friday June 8, 2018 from 2 – 8 p.m. The funeral service was also at Hurley Funeral Home on Saturday June 9, 2018 at 2 p.m.; interment followed at the Brite Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Purple Martin Conservation Association or Campus Crusade for Christ. Anyone wishing to leave condolences for the family, share memories, or sign the online guestbook may do so at www.hurleyfuneralhome.com.