Barbara Fulton's good works will continue to bless community

June 25, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail will run "A Life Remembered." This continuing series will take a look back - through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others - at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Barbara Jean Fulton, who died June 16 at the age of 63. Her obituary appeared in the June 18 edition of The Herald-Mail.

Summing up someone's life seems to imply an ending - that something is over.

But as the late Barbara Fulton's family tells it, their beloved wife, mother and sister lives on, not only in their hearts and minds, but even more so in the tangible evidence of her good works in the community.

Barbara died June 16 at the age of 63.

"Barbara Fulton loved Saint James School and we were her great cause," said the Rev. D. Stuart Dunnan, headmaster of the school, who spoke at her June 20 funeral at the school south of Hagerstown.


Just last month, the John Ross Fulton House was dedicated on campus in memory of her grandson, who died 10 years ago. Despite her illness, Barbara was able to attend that ceremony.

Built by her husband, Adna, and donated to the school for use as faculty quarters, the house was a dream of Barbara's for many years, her family said.

Serving on the board of trustees from 2000-06, Barbara also will be remembered with the upcoming construction of the Barbara Fulton Academic Building - an addition to Powell Hall, which will add classrooms and lab space for students.

The connection with Saint James School began when Adna and Barbara decided to send their middle son, Steve, there to improve his academic performance.

"We chose Saint James, and Barbara said it wouldn't be fair just to send Steve, so we sent Brad, too," Adna said, referring to their oldest son.

Mark, the youngest of their three boys, said "when I got to the age, I knew where I was going."

Throughout those years, Mark said his mother spent a lot of time at Saint James - baking cakes, coordinating dinners and taking beverages for games, as well as championing causes to improve the campus.

"She could transform the field house into a banquet hall and the chapel and refectory into spaces worth of Versailles," Dunnan said.

Adna said he met Barbara Shaw when he was getting started in the home heating oil business. Barbara was 15 when they saw each other at a South End Fire Co. carnival, where Adna was selling chances on a boat.

"I was about 19 or 20. I saw Barbara walking on the carnival grounds," he said. "She was with someone else, and so was I."

The relationship developed slowly, as Adna continued selling home heating oil and was beginning his association with the AC&T Co.

Adna then went into the military service and after basic training, he went to Michigan, where he found he couldn't get Barbara out of his mind.

"I called her from Michigan and told her I loved her," Adna said. "She doubted me, but I proved it."

They were married in 1961.

Two years earlier, Adna had gone in as an equal partner at AC&T, which stood for the last names of the three founders, Don Ardinger, Phil Castle and Richard Tedrick.

Within a short time, Castle and Tedrick no longer were associated with the firm, and in 1986, Adna and his three sons bought out Ardinger, the last remaining founder/partner.

Although Barbara was an officer with the company for many years, Adna said his wife's strength was her devotion to family, home and community.

The family home and farm along Old National Pike near Boonsboro have been the center of activity for the Fultons for 39 years.

"We lived in Mount Tammany until I was in kindergarten, and then we moved to the farm," Brad said. He and Steve worked on the farm, first as children and later as young adults.

"Mom was a fanatic about housework, which is tough when you are a teenager," Brad recalled.

Steve had a favorite memory of his mother coming to the rescue of one of his classmates at Saint James.

"We had to wear white slacks and a blue blazer for an occasion," Steve said. His mother helped out his friend by pressing his wrinkled blazer and sewing on missing buttons at the last minute.

Many who attended the viewing and funeral were Saint James classmates of the Fulton boys from years past, Dunnan said. He estimated there were more than 1,000 at the viewing, and 500 at the funeral.

"I saw more of my classmates at her funeral than at my 25th reunion," Brad said. "They all loved her."

Barbara's last surviving sibling, Phyllis "Babe" Rohrer, said Barbara was eight years older, and as such, spent a lot of time caring for younger children in their extended family.

"She was huge in my life," Babe said. "And she taught me to cook."

Barbara's grandchildren called her Grammy, and loved to spend time with her, Babe said.

"Those grandchildren will always have memories shared with them by all the people who knew her," she said.

Dunnan said that in her final months, Barbara had been immersed in seeing the John Ross Fulton House completed. He knew she also was working on photo albums for her children.

As to her work on the Saint James board, Dunnan said she had great wisdom and determination, which she wasn't afraid to share.

"When Barbara spoke, they listened," Dunnan said.

The Herald-Mail Articles