Ask anyone about Robert Fulton and inevitably the conversation steers towards integrity. A hard characteristic to describe in an individual, it seems people just knew he possessed it when they interacted with him.
A businessman, friend to many and devoted father and husband, Bob Fulton, as he was referred to by most, passed away at the age of 92 on Friday, August 15. Many in the Charlotte community came together to celebrate the life of “Mr. Charlotte” on Wednesday, Aug. 20 and remember a remarkable individual.
“I called him ‘Mr. Charlotte’ because he was so knowledgeable and so highly respected in this community,” said Doug Lowe, one of Fulton’s many friends. “I always found it fascinating that he could remember the location of every business in town, the owners names and even where they lived. He could usually tell you something complimentary about each business owner or some interesting bit of information about him.”
A businessman himself, Fulton went to work with his father, Clyde A. Fulton at Fulton Lumber Co. following his service in the United States Army during World War II. It was at the family business that he cultivated relationships and built the reputation as an honest, hard working and active member of his community.
“He was the definition of community service,” said Charles Grundstrom, who grew to know Fulton as a friend and mentor. “He was a true leader in the community … a man principled to a fault and dedicated to this community.”
His devotion to Charlotte could be seen in his involvement in the Charlotte Rotary Club, where he served as a member for more than 67 years and recently received a pin for 58 years of perfect attendance.
Rotary Club was a perfect example of the kind of commitment Fulton made to that in which he truly believed said Matt Rush, president and CEO of Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital. Rush worked alongside Fulton since joining HGB in 2000.
“Whenever Bob did something, it was all the way,” Rush said. “He believed in self responsibility.”
His commitment to Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital was also evident over the course of 35 years on the hospital’s Board of Directors, 20 of which were served as chairman of the board.
“He loved HGB and what it stands for,” Rush said. “There are several times in (HGB’s) history where we should not be here if it were not for the courage of people like Bob, Stu Bearup, Frank Bowles and those individuals on the board. One of his most courageous decisions as board chair was to lead the hospital through what was a very difficult time in the hospital’s history and to build project 2000.”
Rush credits Fulton’s vision and leadership in guiding the hospital to where it is today.
“He was a quiet leader, who possessed a lot of integrity and a lot of humility,” Rush said.
Like his father before him, Fulton and his wife Evelo, whom he married in 1948, passed many of those same traits on to their four children, Christi, Barbara, Kathie and Mike. Each of their children has gone on to possess the same passion for their community their parents displayed.
He led by example, but also had a way of teaching. Lowe said Fulton had a casual way of weaving small life lessons into the conversation.
“You wouldn’t even realize it until later, just how helpful he was,” Lowe said.
“He built a legacy that continues with his wonderful family,” Grundstrom said. “He was just a great guy and a great, great friend.”