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Published: Friday, 6/11/2004

Phone worker built computers as hobby

PAULDING, Ohio - Sammie "Sam" Mullins, a telephone operations supervisor for Alltel Corp. in four western Ohio communities who built personal computers in his spare time, died Tuesday of an apparent heart attack in Boston Heights, Ohio, while traveling on company business. He was 55.

Mr. Mullins managed Alltel facilities in Paulding, Kenton, Delta, and Covington for nearly 25 years, Shawn Mullins, his son, said. He began working as a lineman 30 years ago.

"He was self-taught and he had an interest in electronics, and that is what led him to phone work," he said.

In recent years, Mr. Mullins took up the hobby of computers in earnest, learning how to assemble them from scratch.

"He started from the ground up and installed the operating system and, depending on who it was for, he would install the programs," his son said.

Mr. Mullins built more than a dozen such computers. Most of them he gave away for the cost of the parts.

"A lot of what he learned he got from books," his son said. "He had a lot of interests."

Mr. Mullins was a member of the Paulding County Carnegie Library Board for 18 years, serving about 12 years as president. While on the board, he helped raise funds to pay for an elevator to make the two-story library more accessible to patrons.

A graduate of Kenton High School, he was an Army mechanic who served two tours of duty in Vietnam.

Mr. Mullins was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 587 and a former member of the Kenton Masonic Lodge, the Paulding Lions Club, and the Paulding Kiwanis Club.

Surviving are his wife, Wilma; daughter, Sonja Proxmire; son, Shawn; sister, Penny Seabright; brothers, Denver, Charlie, and Danny, and three grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. today at the Den Herder Funeral Home.

The family suggests tributes to the Paulding County Carnegie Library or the American Cancer Society.

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