May 9, 2019

Veteran

Norman A. Fulton

Norman Alan Fulton of Hingham died in hospital on May 9, 2019, after a brief illness.

Norman was born in Weymouth in 1933 to Lester and Marion (Bartlett) Fulton.  He attended Weymouth schools, graduating from Weymouth High in 1951. He earned a degree in agronomy from the University of Massachusetts in 1955.  He was a member of the UMass marching band and participated actively in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship while in Amherst.  After college he joined the Navy, entering the United States Naval Training Center (Bainbridge, MD) in 1956 and graduating Officer Candidate School (Newport, RI) in 1957.

While a Lieutenant JG with Naval Intelligence in Washington, DC, Norm met his wife Janet, a nurse, at a young adult’s church group canoe outing on the Potomac River.  Jan’s strong paddling made a favorable impression.  After a brief courtship, they married on July 30, 1961 and made their first home in a 10’x16’ milk house off an old barn at Hope Valley Camp in Mt. Airy, MD.  It was a bare bones start to a lifetime of frugal family life.  Heating and cooking was with a combination wood and electric stove.  They bucketed water from a spring and washed clothes and dishes on a bench just out the door.  The director’s house came later, designed and built by Norm, of course.

Norm had started building the ecumenical church camp while on leave and after completing his service, resigned his commission to serve as the camp “everyman” from director to custodian.  In the employment of the Council of Churches, Greater Washington Area, Norm completed conversion of the derelict farm into a church camp.  He planned, built, and managed the 120-acre campsite facility that typically served 50 inner city children per session.  As the camp matured through the turbulent 60’s, summer offerings were augmented and the camp became a year-round destination for Christ-centered growth and nurturing, attracting suburban youth and rural neighbors in addition to youngsters from nearby cities.  The demands were great but love and vitality abounded and the purpose was noble.

Norm and Jan moved their young family of 6 sons to Massachusetts in 1972, briefly living in Weymouth before settling in Hingham in 1973.  While Norm worked as a carpenter and foreman for Lester R. Fulton & Son, he and Jan were blessed with another son and finally a daughter.  As the 80’s dawned, they moved into their family-built Sandy Meadow homestead in north Hingham off Main Street.   Near the end of the decade, Norm started his own family carpentry business, working alongside his wife, sons, and daughter.  As a builder, he expanded the Fulton quality home building and remodeling legacy on the South Shore; begun by his father, enhanced by his brother, and continued by his son and his nephew.  Many of his customers became treasured friends.

Norm’s deep Christian faith guided his living.  From seminary studies in the early newlywed years through decades of Bible study he sought out the Lord.  He was often a lay leader, and always a stalwart in his congregation.  He read expansively and enjoyed singing in the choir, getting together with fellow alumni, and spending time helping those-in-need.  He was equally adept at finding the salvage value of downtrodden souls as he was the salvage value of used building materials.  Norm welcomed the stranger, embraced the immigrant, and loved learning from the minority.  He was a lifelong member of East Weymouth Congregational Church.

Norm gardened like an agronomist, improving the soil and expanding his garden until it became a suburban farm.  He would often work the strawberries and row crops with the Red Sox on the radio in the background.  Many have enjoyed gifts of vegetables from his garden and berries from his blueberry patch.  Giving to all and company in his labors were always his great delights.  

The loss of his wife Jan 4 years ago was a terrible blow.  Through difficult times, he gathered himself, cherished his memories, and served on.  He filled out his last years at home with his daughter, continuing to sing in the choir and to help family and friends. He loved to travel to visit family and help with building projects, doing so right up to the end.  He took great interest and pride in the endeavors of his grandchildren.  Those who know Norm will grieve his loss, yet celebrate their good fortune in being part of his broad community and having an abundance of fond memories of a master craftsman with a servant’s heart.

Norman was predeceased by his loving wife of 53 years Janet (Hollenbeck) Fulton.  He was the father of Steven (and Janet) of Davis, CA; Jonathan (and Elizabeth) of Evansville, IN; Timothy (and Amy) of Hanover, MA; Daniel (and Melinda) of Weymouth, MA; Andrew (and Wendy) of Weare, NH; Joseph (and Khiengchai) of Oronoco, MN; James (and Deirdre) of Hewitt, TX; and Lydia Fulton (and Tarris Whiting) of Hingham.  He had 30 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.  He was predeceased by his brothers Luther (of Weymouth) and Herbert (of Norwell).  He is survived by his sisters-in-law Paula (of Weymouth) and Ellen (of Norwell), siblings Robert (and Anne of Tallahassee, FL and Weymouth), Marilyn (of Dunstable), Carol (of Newton), Neil (and Adele of Norwich, VT), and Nancy (and Peter Miner of Somerville).  He is survived by many nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend the visiting hours on Friday May 24 from 3-7 PM in the Pyne Keohane Funeral Home, 21 Emerald St. (off Central St.), Hingham.  A memorial service will be celebrated on Saturday May 25 at 10:30 AM in the East Weymouth Congregational Church.

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in Norman’s memory to the East Weymouth Congregational Church, Building Fund, 1320 Commercial St., East Weymouth, MA 02189.