Paul Mauldin Sr. embraced the idea of teamwork. He played minor league baseball for nine years and he was a metro Atlanta firefighter for nearly three decades.
He shared this approach with Forsyth County Fire Chief Danny Bowman, who was a rookie Atlanta firefighter when he worked alongside Mr. Mauldin.
"He taught this 18-year-old to be bold, aggressive and that not only are you a team, but you are a family," Bowman said. "He was well known as a fireman's fireman."
Capt. Paul William Mauldin Sr., a bedridden stroke patient for nearly 30 years, died of natural causes Friday at his Alpharetta home. He was 87. A firefighter's funeral will be held at 1 p.m. Monday in the Spring Hill chapel of H.M. Patterson & Son Funeral Home.
A graduate of Atlanta's Commercial High, Mr. Mauldin entered the Navy and served as a World War II gunner's mate on the USS Ranger and USS Bennington aircraft carriers.
He went from the military to baseball, playing in the outfield for the Chattanooga Lookouts, Hopkinsville Hoppers, Macon Peaches, Nashville Volunteers and Ottawa Giants, among other teams.
"I remember my uncles talking about how fast daddy was," said Mickey Mauldin, a son from Dacula. "He was real good about stealing bases, [and] was a left-handed batter who had a pretty good bat and who threw right-handed."
In the mid-1950s, Mr. Mauldin left baseball and returned to Atlanta. He told his wife, the late Wyndolin Gauntt Mauldin, he wanted to be a firefighter. He rose to the rank of captain for the Atlanta Fire Department.
"He had lots of job offers to stay in Nashville, but he wanted to come home and join the fire department," said Chris Mauldin, a son from Alpharetta.
In 1978, Mr. Mauldin retired and joined the late James I. Gibson, his former Atlanta chief, at the Fulton County Fire Department. Four years later, Mr. Mauldin retired from public safety for good after suffering a severe stroke.
While Mr. Mauldin didn't talk much about his outfield or firefighting days, relatives said he still left a sense for what he enjoyed most.
"I would lean toward baseball because he was an awesome athlete," said Paula Childrey, a daughter from Suwanee. "When he coached Little League for my brothers, he always had a fine team and a lot of the players wanted to be on it."
Other survivors include three brothers, Jim Mauldin of Franklin, and Marshall Mauldin and David Mauldin of Douglasville; a sister, Laura Sue Cabe of College Park; and eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
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