On September 10, 2017, the mobility and rehabilitation industry lost one of its pioneers, Larry Mulholland, who passed away at age 84 from complications of a stroke.
Mulholland, founder of Mulholland Positioning Systems, designed his first chair in 1971 to seat children with severe athetosis. He continued to design and manufacture products for more than 46 years, and held more than 38 patents for positioning components and design. Many of the terms used for today’s technology came from Mulholland’s designs.
Always committed to education, Mulholland established Mulholland Positioning Systems as the first manufacturer to have a mandatory education requirement to sell its equipment. To fulfill this requirement, for 3 days, dealers were taught structural anatomy, atypical pediatric neurology, and atypical patterns of posture and movement. The last day of the programs were spent as a field day with children.
Mulholland’s commitment to children was lifelong, and it was a common occurrence for children to come with their families from across the United States to the factory in Santa Paula, to pick up new equipment or to show off new skills. As a result, one-off designs were frequent. This practice resulted in the design of a wheeled prone stander in 1976 for a child to who wanted to deliver papers, initially self-propelled and later powered. It also produced a gait trainer in 1984 that allowed a child to run the Olympic Torch. From a simple beginning, crafting one chair at a time for each individual child, to international distribution, Larry Mulholland, steno pad in hand, always felt there was one more design yet to build.
Larry was also heavily involved with the Rotary International Club. He served as president of the Oxnard, Calif, and Burley, Idaho, branches, and was chair of the educational foundation of the Ojai, Calif, branch. He was also involved with the Elks and the Presbyterian Church. The Ojai Presbyterian Church was the site of his memorial service.
He will be missed in the industry, and by friends and family.