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Coral Ridge Funeral Home & Coral Ridge Cemetery

950 Chiquita Blvd. S, Cape Coral, FL

OBITUARY

George Frederick Fuller

July 27, 1932July 27, 2020
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Crusty and crotchety, Fred Fuller was a hard-livin’, tough-talkin’, good-lovin’ kind of man – comprised of one-third printers’ ink, one-third saltwater and one-third Scotch (actual percentages may vary). A physical presence who already filled a room, he took over any remaining space with his too-weird-not-to-be true stories, his encyclopedic joke inventory and his waterfalling bark of a laugh. His best stories can’t be repeated even in impolitic company, so you won’t get those here. But he did once take his boat to Havana from Tampa after the embargo, pleading ignorance to the Cubans and returning with nothing but a few questions and a slap on the wrist from the U.S. government. And maybe some Cuban cigars and Havana Club rum. “Only Fred,” his friend and colleague Tony DiSalvo would say frequently. “Only Fred.” Tony, as the Trib ad director, was frequently the butt of Fred’s jokes. “Little Tony” stood about stomach-high to Fred. “Go get a stepladder so you can kiss my butt,” Fred said hundreds of times. But he didn’t say butt. He strived mightily to hide it, but Fred sometimes had a gentle manner and a soft side. In certain circumstances he was a crying sentimentalist, but it’s doubtful that many who worked for him would believe that. He was a very tough boss, an exacting department head who worked hard but played even harder. He was so old school it wasn’t a school yet, just a profession with a code and a way of life increasingly out of step with modern newspaper attitudes and political correctness and, Lord knows, HR departments. “I made some noise,” Fred said recently as he looked back on those times and chuckled. Um, yes. Yes, he did. The times were changing; he wasn’t. He had unwavering opinions about sports, politics, Don Imus and “pencil-neck geeks.” Still, for all of that, there was something about Fred. Beyond the Production Department bluster, beyond the cringe-worthy language and jokes, he had a good heart. And in that secret heart, even surrounded by friends and family, he feared dying alone. Fred had lived surrounded by death. So much death around him in his family. It took a visceral toll on him. When he returned to Tampa from his son’s funeral, he repeatedly played the soundtrack to “Buddy,” the Broadway musical. That’s the last show he saw with his son Charles before he died. Fred loved Nancy, his boats and kids – his kids and everybody else’s, especially those Mexican kids (more about that later) who tracked his daily comings and goings like he was Gringo Claus. One of Fred’s greatest professional achievements was to drag the Tribune into high-quality color reproduction. Long laughed at for its 3D color reproduction (and not in a good way), the Tribune’s corporate parent ponied up $40 million for TKS Japanese presses. As the Tribune’s Production Director, Fred parlayed that purchase into two trips to Japan. Fred had large appetites – for life, for spirits, for food. He, his assistant, two vendors and a usually a couple of Trib executives went every Friday for a two-hour lunch at Kasey’s Cove in north Tampa where the crew inevitably debated the freshness of the shrimp, but they always ate it. “If you gotta ask …” Fred left Tampa and the Tribune for a seemingly perfect production job in San Francisco, but a sudden change in management there left him briefly marooned after only a few months. “Michael,” he said ruefully at the time, “I wasn’t there long enough to screw up.” But, somehow, the newspaper group that had recently moved him 3,000 miles – with his boat – also coughed up a nice severance, signed over his new company car, cashed out to move his boat again and probably even more. He came up smelling like tequila because he ended up in Puerto Vallarta. When asked why there, he said he had put in en route to Costa Rica to wait out the hurricane season. “That was two years ago,” he was told. “How long does hurricane season last?” Fred just laughed that braying laugh of his. He finally moved a little farther south to Manzanillo, and built a home. And there he stayed with Nancy until earthquakes and health concerns brought him back to the States. “You know what upsets me,” he asked me once, except he didn’t say “upsets me” – preferring a phrase closer to “kisses me off.” “Just about everything,” I responded immediately, and was rewarded with that unmistakable laugh. I can hear it now. Love you, Captain. Here’s hoping for smooth seas on your journey.

Services

  • Visitation

    Friday, July 31, 2020

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  • Burial with Military Honors

    Monday, August 3, 2020

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Memories

George Frederick Fuller

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Joe and Lenora Guidry

July 31, 2020

A great man, a great friend who made great memories for everyone.

Robyn Moak

July 31, 2020

We were so blessed to be part of Fred’s life. We will surely miss him! Much love, Robyn & William

Sharon Burkholder

July 28, 2020

Dear Nancy & family,
I first met George (Fred) when I was asked to fill in as caregiver for a week and then once or twice.

My impression of Fred as he wanted to be called was a thoughtful, caring and one who spoke freely and honestly. I heard much about his job as an editor at a newspaper and loved his job. He loved life as much as you could tell from the adventures and stories Nancy shared.

A tough persona but a sweet man. He appeared to be a very family oriented man and loved Nancy very much. I can just say that knowing Fred and Nancy has added to the happiness in my life.

May he RIP.

RAKESH Joshi

July 28, 2020

Our heartfelt condolences. Our prayers are with the family. May his soul rest in heavenly eternal peace . Joshi Family

Carol Tolson

July 28, 2020

I had the privilege of being Fred's secretary (that's what they were called back then) for 10 wonderful years. I highly respected him in his management style. He always included me in dinners out with vendors. I loved him dearly and will truly miss him. RIP my friend!!

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