Tommy Gene Fulton
May 5, 1936 – June 29, 2019
Tommy Gene Fulton (b. May 5, 1936), artist, art teacher, activist, public servant, bridge player, and traveler, died at the age of 83 on June 29, 2019. Born to Thomas Gene (Gene) Fulton and Josephine (Jo) Goode Fulton, Tom was a native of Oklahoma City. The family lived in Texas a short while. Tom graduated high school in Grand Falls, TX in 1954. He was drafted and served a short while in the United States Army. He earned his education degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1957, then continued to receive a Master of Fine Arts from OU. While at OU, Tom was a member of Delta Phi Delta, National Honorary Vocation Art Fraternity, Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education, Omicron Delta Kappa, National Honor Society, and the Student Senate. He also served as an assistant to OU President, Dr. George Lynn Cross. Tom was a long-time teacher of the Mid-Del Public Schools, earning the honor of Teacher of the Year by the Oklahoma State Fair in 1976. He was an integral leader in the Oklahoma Chapter and South Central Region of the Association of Classroom Teachers (ACT), the Oklahoma Art Education Association (OAEA), and Oklahoma Education Association (OEA). He received citations from ACT for his work in the organization. He served on the Board of Directors of OEA and as President of the organization in 1974. Former OEA Executive Director David DuVall, who worked with Tommy for many years, said, “He was a loyal association leader, a talented artist, and a truly nice man.” Tom continued a life of public service upon retirement. He sat on the Teachers' Retirement System of Oklahoma Board of Trustees. He was also involved in the Democratic Party. He was a Legislative Contact for Oklahoma County Retired Educators, known by colleagues to communicate with former Rep. Scott Inman (D) and current Rep. Andy Fugate (D) about issues that impact retired teachers. Many art teachers have difficulty finding time to create their own art. Even amidst his work in the community, Tom did not. Tom was most known for his oil and watercolor paintings and Old World Santa and Santa Around the World sculptures. However, he was also accomplished in pencil drawings, cut paper collage, and even worked with jewelry making in his later years. He was truly a life-long student, himself. When he was not in his home studio or working in the community, he could be found traveling. He enjoyed traveling with friends and family, and was even known to be spotted by family in popular destinations (What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay there!). He was a fan of musicals, traveling to Branson and New York frequently to see their shows and holding season tickets here in Oklahoma City. He was involved in several bridge clubs. He enjoyed the fellowship of friends in the Mid-Del area and at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. Tom, a cousin to many, enjoyed visiting with family in Texas and Oklahoma. He rarely missed a reunion, a birthday, any excuse to see each other, and hosted family at his home for holiday dinners. He was a bit of a comedian and didn’t mind laughing at himself while telling stories with relatives. He leaves behind a legacy of service, empowering the skills of his students, and memories with treasured family, friends and colleagues.
- James Davis
- Don Fleming
- Glen Janecek
- Darrin Simmons
- Don Skinner Noble
- Charles Miller
- Janice Badgett, Honorary Pallbearer
- Brian Fulton, Honorary Pallbearer
- Bud Fulton, Honorary Pallbearer
- Paula Davis, Honorary Pallbearer
- Kathy Hill, Honorary Pallbearer
- Faye Norton, Honorary Pallbearer
- Sue Skinner, Honorary Pallbearer
- Visitation Tuesday, July 2, 2019
- Funeral Service Wednesday, July 3, 2019
Tommy Gene Fulton
July 14, 2019
When I was asked by one of my former students who is now an art teacher, who was the most pivotal art teacher I had, my answer was a resounding “Tommy Fulton, my junior high one!” Yes, no other teacher had such an impact on me, as mentor and good friend. Fortunately, I got to tell him that many a time.
As an only child, I count him as part of my family. I will sorely miss him, his humor, and continuous new adventures. I deeply believe that he was continuously embraced the whole of his life by a Loving, truly loving, creating God, who was with him till the end and surrounds him now with unending Grace.
May you all find those moments when you sense that as well.
What a legacy! What a privilege to know him!
Upstate New York since 1978, but the red clay still runs in my veins.
PS: Please give me a call at 607.435.3653. There was a project that he and I had talked about that I think wasn’t completed and I’m convinced he would have liked to see it through.
July 14, 2019
Tommy was my Junior High art teacher at Jarmon and had the greatest impact on me professionally and personally as I eventually became a college professor of art for 38 years, retiring 6 years ago. I took private lessons with him from 9th grade till I graduated from Midwest City HS in 1965, went on a trip to Taos, and kept in touch ever since. Each time I was in Oklahoma we got together and spent many a great time together, talking about the wide range of his and my interests, commitments, artistically, politically, family, etc. We exchanged Christmas cards, each time with one of his signature designs accompanied by his yearly update, often with pictures and tidbits of very special stories, usually sprinkled with humor, sometime self-directed. Last time we saw each other was around the funeral of my Mom in 2013, followed by another visit to his home, a kind of outdoor installation of his newly acquired flowers and inside full of a rich conglomerate of old and new art work, his Santas, works of former students and newly acquired objects from his wide range of interests.
As you know, he loved his family and friends so very much, and I always felt part of it. This indelible cord between us was so special that the phone, more than email, was our primary conduit. The last we spoke was about a month ago and about now was time to reconnect again. He always asked about my family, all of whom knew him, and visited him with me. My wife, Honey, knew how so very much he meant to me, and as I shared his death with my children, they said things that carry my own thoughts: “Sorry to hear about Tommy.”, “Thankful for the impact and friendship he had with you and will never forget going to his place to visit” and “Such a cool connection you both had…A reminder that art and creativity is a lifelong journey.”
(I need to complete the rest of my statement on a second file.)
July 7, 2019
He was always nice and when I created a horrible (?) looking piece he encouraged me and even had it put in the front case for a while. I still have it. Only thing I ever created like that. I believe I was in his class when news came that President Kennedy had been shot.
July 6, 2019
Tommy was my second cousin (my mother's cousin) and truly an amazing man just like the write-up says. He seemed to have unlimited energy for life and stayed active and involved and interested in so many things -- only taking up gardening fairly recently. I loved his letters and hearing from him by phone and our occasional in-person visits. He had a great sense of humor and loved to tell stories -- always funny! He would update me on all the relatives even though I'd never met most of them and always wanted pictures of the kids and grandkids. I can't begin to do him justice, but he will be missed to say the least!
July 3, 2019
Tommy was one of a kind! Artist, bon vivant, leader, historian, master teacher! I always knew when I called Tommy I would be regaled with stories and memories! I'll truly miss knowing that he's not here!
July 3, 2019
Mr. Fulton as I would always know him was a wonderful contributor to the confusion I have worked through all of my life regarding left brain / right brain issues. He was such a fine teacher. I will miss him but will always hold dear his memories.
July 2, 2019
Tommy has been a lifelong family friend for many, many years. The family has been so close to Tommy that we consider him family. Many fond memories of Tommy from our NEA adventures to visiting his home since I was a small child. His artwork is a part of each of our family members homes and have always been treasured. Our condolences to his family for the loss of such a special man. He will truly be missed.
July 2, 2019
The Fultons moved to a gas plant across the Pecos River from my home town when I was in junior high and Tommy and I have remained friends since, went thru high school together and then I went to OU for a while. Spent a couple of Thanksgivings with him and his parents north of Dallas where they lived at the time. My brother is Tommy's age and married a woman whose father worked with Tommy's father. So our whole family has good memories of the family. Saw him last fall at Grandfalls Royalty High School reunion and then he came over and we visited my brother and his wife. Had hoped to see him again this fall and he will be missed. He was a close friend of my uncle Frank Lucas who coached football at the same school in Midwest City .
July 2, 2019
As a classroom teacher in the Mustang Public Schools, I met Tommy for the first time in 1975, during his term as President of the Oklahoma Education Association. I did not know it at the time, but I would have the good fortune to have him as a friend and colleague for more than 40 years. Early on, I learned that Tommy was a true advocate for public schools and the employees who work in them. Even more, he showed after his working years that his commitment to the profession was genuine and life long through his service on the Board of Trustees of the Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System and his continued advocacy as a leader of the Oklahoma Retired Educators Association. In particular, I will always value his wise counsel and support during my service as OREA Executive Director. Tommy Fulton made a positive difference in so many ways throughout his long life, and he will be missed.