John W. McMullan, 80, of Selbyville, Del., and Salisbury, Conn., passed away in the loving care of his wife, Barbara, and Seasons Hospice, at his Selbyville home on Jan. 3, 2021. He fought a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer, with integrity and grit. He was born Dec. 4, 1940, to the late Frank A. McMullan and Elizabeth McMullan in New Haven, Conn.

He was a very unique and versatile man, with many diverse accomplishments. McMullan was a retired Spanish instructor at The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn., and Millbrook (N.Y.) School in Millbrook, and was also a textbook author. He coached wrestling and field hockey at Hotchkiss. He served on the Board of Recording for the Blind and worked in a leadership position for Educational Testing Service for the grading of the Spanish Advanced Placement Examinations.

McMullan loved ’60s tunes, doo-wop music, fishing and travel. He was greatly influenced by his father, who taught directing at the Yale School of Drama, and developed his longtime passion for the Spanish language and culture when living with his family in Santiago, Chile, where his father directed and taught theater.

McMullan was a demanding teacher and was considered a master teacher by his colleagues and students. Most recently in Delaware, McMullan was involved with a men’s singing group and a weekly writing group. His Delaware friends shared, “Our community is bereft of a man with dignity, humor and intelligence in a time when we need more like him rather than less.”

McMullan is survived by his wife and companion of 31 years, Barbara S. Gatski; his children, Elizabeth McMullan, Daniel McMullan, Jenna Gatski Einstein and her husband, Matthew, and Megan Gatski and her husband, Nathan Ivey; grandchildren, Arthur “A.J.” Conrad, Andrew Ivey and Stella Ivey; brother, David McMullan and his wife, Eileen Wheeler, of Cambridge, N.Y.; his nephews, Sean McMullan and his wife, Alice, Kirk McMullan, and Matthew Interis and his wife, Alba Collart; four great-nieces, Sarah, Kaelyn, Emily and Lillian McMullan; and his beloved, beautiful canine companion, Millie, who was at his side when he passed away, and is an important part of the family.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggested memorial contributions to Scholarship Assistance at Hamilton College; 198 College Hill Rd.; Clinton, NY 12223, or at Due to the coronavirus restrictions, a memorial service will be planned at a later date. Condolences may be sent online at