9-R board member died of rare heart complication

Mulkey Enlarge photo


A member of the Durango School District 9-R board who died unexpectedly earlier this week suffered a rare heart complication that caused her death, La Plata County Coroner Dr. Carol Huser said Friday.

Carla Ann Mulkey, 61, died from a coronary artery dissection, which is a tear in a coronary artery, Huser said.

It is a rare heart condition that Huser has seen only about twice in her 30-plus-year career, she said.

“I’ve seen more people die of lightning strikes than I have coronary dissection,” she said.

It was not immediately known whether Mulkey was aware of any heart conditions.

Mulkey worked as a counselor for 27 years at Needham Elementary School before retiring last May. She was elected to the 9-R school board in November.

She died Tuesday at her home.

Mulkey received numerous awards throughout her career, and in 2009, she was named Colorado Elementary School Counselor of the Year.

The school board plans to accept letters of interest to fill Mulkey’s board position after its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

Services are planned for 3 p.m. Tuesday at First United Methodist Church, 2917 Aspen Drive, in Durango.