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George J. Fulkerson

October 22, 1926 May 3, 2020
George J. Fulkerson
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Obituary for George J. Fulkerson

Beloved husband of the late Ruth Jean Fulkerson. Son of George and Octavia Fulkerson. Dear father of Tavi Fulkerson-Hampton and Derek Joseph Fulkerson. Loving grandfather of Jeffrey Allen Fulkerson and Georgia Ruth Hampton. Devoted brother of six brothers and four sisters. George is also survived by many other family members and friends.

Born in Harrisburg, Illinois, George grew up in the hill country, an impoverished area where work was often traded for food, an orange was a delicious Christmas gift and working the coal mines and the land was the only way to survive. There was an outhouse in the back. Unlike his older siblings, George loved living on the farm, enjoying the open air, playing stick ball, farming the land. He enjoyed school even more and was known to walk miles to the one-room school house every day, learning all he could and helping to teach those younger than him. He was often without shoes and was an avid harmonica player.

When the land became depleted, the family migrated north to Pontiac to work in the factories. George, as the youngest, was doted on by his sisters Opal, Ruby and Verda. He was the only one who finished high school.

His dream of becoming a lawyer was ignited by his Father, a country preacher, who often told tales of Clarence Darrow, an attorney known for his ethics, oratory skills and willingness to help the common man. George began selling peanuts and newspapers on a corner in Pontiac to save the money to go to law school.

World War II intervened and he served in the Air Force in Japan during the Occupation. After the war and with his GI bill, he attended the University of Chicago. In college he met his future wife Ruth. She asked him to dance. He was smitten ever since. The two settled in Michigan as George attended U of D law school.

An idealist and ardent Democrat, George practiced law with a vengeance, often doing work for those who could not afford it, always holding his work to the highest standards. He believed in the law and justice for every man. Entering politics in 1960, George was a natural leader, running for Oakland County prosecutor, U.S. Congress and Circuit Court Judge. Although he was not successful in these bids, George was well recognized as a “lawyers-lawyer” and served as the President of the Oakland County Bar from 1978 to 1979. He was appointed to the Board of Water Commissioners by Detroit’s Mayor Jerome Cavanagh. The firm he co-founded “Dean & Fulkerson” still bears his name and is located in Troy, Michigan. He mentored many and was beloved by all who knew him.

An avid story-teller, a lover of Mark Twain and Pogo, a devoted family man and champion of the down-trodden, George was a larger-than-life, yet humble man who was non-judgmental and made an impression on everyone he met. His devotion to his wife Ruth was legendary. They were married 68 years. As her health was fading, he was often heard saying to her “I love you Ru” so much so that caretakers would greet him saying “I love you Ru” as he walked by. It is no surprise to any who know him that he would want to be quickly reunited with her. She passed away last November. Although those who love him are full of sorrow, they know George and Ruth are now back together again.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family suggests a contribution to Jewish Hospice, jewishhospice.org. or Hospice of Michigan at https://www.hom.org/donations. A family funeral has been conducted.

To view the live funeral for George, click the link below.

https://webcasts.lifetributes.com/1066118

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