William "Gene" Eugene Fuller
November 17, 1932 – August 12, 2019
Gene passed away on August 12, 2019 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Gene was a resident of Colorado Springs since his discharge from the Air Force in 1953. He grew up in a small town in western Pa. called Elizabeth, with a population of around 1,900 surrounded by two hills along the Monongahela River Valley. He said he always wondered from the time he was a little kid what might be on the other side of those hills. He said his favorite song during that period in his life was a song called “Those Far Away Places With The Strange Sounding Names Are Calling Me”. He admitted to being a juvenile delinquent most of his younger days, which caused his mother to ship him over to his grandmother to raise when he was only eight years old. He realized, as he got older that other reasons were probably part of her decision but it really didn’t matter by that time. He never really had a father in his life either, although he saw him around several times, but he never really knew him. He said since he didn’t remember ever having a conversation with him he would just get on with his life and do the best he could without any help from anyone. So he decided when he was only fourteen to find the answers he was searching for and leave that little town and start hitch-hiking across the country and see when he might end up. He said everything he owned was in a large shopping bag which was badly damaged in a rain storm but his first destination was to see the blue grass of Kentucky which at the time he was dumb enough to believe the grass was really that color. He said that was his first disappointment, but was definitely not his last. He continued his travels for about a year and after sleeping in many weird locations, being arrested several times for vagrancy, working odd jobs for food, and many other factors too numerous to mention, he decided to return to Elizabeth where he decided to join the Air Force. He enlisted in 1949 and with a little help from a forged birth certificate served four years being stationed in various places around the country during the Korean War. One of which was in Colorado. After he received his honorable discharge in 1953 he returned to Colorado where he met and married his wife Nina and together they raised a daughter, Gina and two sons Pat and Mike. His first job offer came within weeks after his discharge from a company in Washington D.C. that received the contract to produce a map for the Air Force Academy. This lasted all that summer and he said he probably covered every square inch of the original 25,000 acres climbing mountains and placing targets for the photographs that would be taken later by aircraft. He said he always remembered a small mountain with a large valley around which he and his partner guessed would be the future home of Falcon Stadium. This turned out to be a good guess because that site is now the stadium. After completion of that job he tried several jobs he didn’t really care for and didn’t match up with any of his skills developed mostly in the Air Force so he began searching the yellow pages for something in the aircraft industry. He found a company named Aircraft Mechanics whose specialty was the design and manufacture of Cockpit Crew Seats, Attendant Seats, Ejection Seats, Passenger Seats, Hydraulic Actuators, and a long list of Specialty Tools, and Spare Parts. The original building used to be located on North Nevada Avenue so he decided to apply and was hired that day. It turned out to be a good choice because he worked there for thirty years and after receiving quite a few promotions became Vice President of Operations. This required a lot of travel to every airplane manufacturer in the country along with sub-contractors and suppliers. He attended many schools and seminars sponsored by the American Management Association and almost all the major Aircraft Companies that we had contracts with to better prepare himself for the requirements of the job. He once stated he had spent the night in almost every state in the union and in places like London, Paris and even visited an island in the Persian Gulf called Bahrain during the time of the American Hostage Crisis. He said it was hard to understand how any group of people could actually hate you simply because you didn’t share their religion. After a conversation with his interpreter he found out that as small children they were taught in schools to feel that way towards Christians and especially Americans who were considered to be infidels. He said it reminded him of something one of his teachers stated years ago that travel was an education in itself and as you grow older you also begin to realize how stupid you were when you were young. Gene was also a very hard core sports fan who had season tickets to Broncos games and stated he saw every man on the Ring of Fame actually play and was very active himself in baseball, softball, bowling and as a sponsor for high school legion A baseball, fast pitch softball, bobby-sox softball, and was considered by his team mates and also the teams he played against to be a very talented fast pitch softball catcher with a knack for hitting tape measure home turns during his playing days. He as elected into the fast pitch A.S.A. Colorado Hall of Fame in March 1998. But what he wanted most was to be remembered for was none of his accomplishments nor for any failures. He said that after he retired he spent the next fifteen years as a taxi service and baby sitter for is grandchildren. He was able to spend more time with them than his own kids because at that time he was working and traveling a lot. He always said he was not an expert in raising children but tried to teach them about what they would have to do and how hard they would have to work to achieve the goals they were trying to reach. And with a lot of help from his wife, Nina, we must have done things right because all three have turned out well. There was also a great deal of help provided by his daughter, Gina and grandson Brad. He also leaves behind four grandchildren Britnie, Bradley, Keri, Luca and six great grandchildren Tyler, James, Jorden, Jake and Jerod, Taley. But the following letter written by Tyler when he was in seventh grade as part of a class assignment is the way he would like to be remembered:
It is titled, “The Person Who Inspired Me The Most --- My Grandpa” The inspiration for writing his poem is because I have a great grandpa that is the nicest person in the world to me. I have had many experiences with him that have been fun and a few that were bad, but we managed to get through them. He taught me just about everything from simple math lessons like 2+2=4 when I was only three years old to things like riding bikes, motorcycles, dune buggies, cars and how to safely handle and fire all types of guns. The things that I have learned from him are things that are not taught in school. He has taken me high up into the mountains and taught me how to hunt and fish and if I ever got lost how to survive and find my way back home. He is also very joyous and fun to be with because he will do things to keep you entertained despite his age, which by the way is over eighty years old. Even though he is eighty, he looks fifty and acts like he is pretty great and why his is my inspiration. ~Tyler M. Trapp (7th grade)
- Nina Fuller, Wife
- Gina Fuller, Daughter
- Pat Fuller, Son
- Mike Fuller, Son
- He also leaves behind four grandchildren Britnie, Bradley, Keri, Luca and six great grandchildren Tyler, James, Jorden, Jake, Jerod, Taley.
- Private family services have been held.