Sixta Tulia Gomez Mullin
Sixta Tulia Gomez Mullin, beloved wife, mother and grandmother, died on September 7, 2016, in Santa Barbara, California, due to complications from a stroke. Born in Panama City, Republic of Panama, she was the last survivor of 10 siblings, most of whom lived well into their 80’s and 90’s. Sixta used to credit her father’s daily dose of a raw egg and cod liver oil delivered to each child standing in a line for helping them to achieve such longevity. She was 95 years old.
Sixta attended the St. Francis Academy in Panama, and she enjoyed a happy childhood, full of pranks and laughter. While at a party hosted by the President of Panama, Sixta danced with an American, Wallace Key Mullin (“Key”). She didn’t know how to dance, but something caught his attention. She recounted that for weeks after the dance, he would drive his car during lunchtime around and around the block where she lived. Key finally got up the courage to knock on the door and ask permission from Sixta’s father to be able to date her. Permission granted, the happy couple always went out with one of Sixta’s sisters in tow as a chaperone. Years later they admitted that they’d drop the sister off at the movies with popcorn so that they could have some time alone!
Sixta and Key got married on July 1, 1944 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in the Canal Zone. They honeymooned throughout Central America. They settled in the Canal Zone until 1946 when the war ended. At that time they took a ship, the “Cristobal,” up to New York and traveled across the United States by train. Key had formerly worked at the Biltmore Hotel in Montecito for 11 years and he remembered the beauty of Santa Barbara. They eventually settled in Carpinteria and operated the Valley Cleaners for a number of years. Sixta had a lovely soprano voice and she enjoyed singing in the choir at St. Joseph’s Church.
In 1978 Sixta and Key moved to the San Vicente Mobile Home Park in Santa Barbara where they made many friends and enjoyed countless happy moments. After her husband, Key, passed away in 1987, Sixta remained especially proud of her home, and she spent many hours keeping her garden and house to perfection. Her yard filled with beautiful cymbidiums in full bloom was truly a sight to see! She especially enjoyed decorating her house for Christmas, and with the aid of her friend, Julien Peche, she would proudly put on a grand display every year.
When maintaining her mobile home became too much of a challenge for her, Sixta eventually moved in 2015 to the Californian skilled nursing facility in Santa Barbara. While at the Californian, Sixta rediscovered the joy of living and especially enjoyed her bingo and domino games. Everything was put to the side when it was time to go play bingo! She took to wearing a lovely flower in her hair every day, and her “spitfire” ways were endearing to staff and other residents. The stroke she suffered unexpectedly cut short her happy and healthy existence at the Californian.
Sixta is predeceased by: Wallace Key Mullin, her husband; Angel Maria Gomez de San Miguel y Paris, her father; Antonia Elena Vallega, her mother; her sisters, Josefina, Maria Elena, Rosa Elvira, Aura, Matilde and Rebeca; her brothers, Julio, Jose Alfonso and Luis; and by her daughter, Sandra.
Sixta is survived by her son Ronald Key Mullin (and Cathie Mullin); her daughter Deborah Ann Kay Mullin (and Glenn Reinhart); her grandchildren Scott Mullin (and Kelly Mullin), Timothy Mullin (and Shannon Mullin), and Davis Reinhart; and her great-grandchildren, Marcella, Jameson, Danielle and McKenna.
Sixta’s family would like to thank her many friends at the San Vicente Park and at the Californian for the joy and laughter they brought to Sixta’s life. Her family is especially grateful to the Sansum Clinic, Cottage Hospital and Isabel Isaac for their excellent care of Sixta over her later years. And finally, words cannot describe the gratitude the family feels towards Serenity House. The loving staff there helped to bring peace to us all.
Sixta has been cremated and her ashes will be scattered in the ocean off Santa Barbara to join her husband. A celebration of life reception will be announced at a later date.