March 31, 1923 - April 9, 2010
Richard A. Fulgham, age 87, passed away peacefully at Saint Mary's Medical Center in Walla Walla on Friday, April 9th following a sudden, disabling stroke. He had just celebrated his birthday with family and friends and was joyously grateful for his good health and active lifestyle right up to the moment of this devastating illness.
Richard was born and raised in Touchet, Washington where his great grandfather homesteaded and established the family farm.
He attended grammar school in Touchet, and then went to Walla Walla to graduate from Walla Walla High School in 1941. He began college at Washington State University but his college education was interrupted by World War II when he enlisted in the army in the spring of 1943. His service included active duty in the Solomon Islands and the Southern Philippines. Richard was very proud of his service and in his later years thoughtfully recalled the people, places, and life altering events of his army experience.
Upon discharge from the military in 1945 Richard returned to the Walla Walla area and began farming with his father near the regional airport. In 1948 he met and married Phyllis Marjorie Rose, his life companion until her death in 2006. After the birth of their four children, Richard and Phyllis moved to a farm above Dixie in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. They raised their family and worked this land for 40 years before retiring in 1993. The family has many wonderful memories of Richards work, cultivating and harvesting and caring for his
crops as well as the many young men that joined him, assisting with the fieldwork, and growing into life long family friends.
Upon retirement Richard and Phyllis moved to Walla Walla and built a new home on family property. Richard resided there until his death, taking immense pleasure in cultivating his yard and garden and reminiscing
over coffee and cookies with caring friends who stopped in for a visit. His retirement also included a continued partnership with his brother, Robert, in the family farm in Touchet. He remained active in the agricultural community, participating in the Grain Growers Association events and workshops.
Richard was very social and enjoyed the company of others. For many years he looked forward to weekly bowling league competitions and frequent meetings and special events with the Elks Club organization. As a young man, Richard enjoyed playing baseball. Now he looked forward to following every game of the Seattle Mariners on TV or the radio. He also was a man of great faith and was devoted to his church community and the fellowship he had at the First Congregational Church. He was a humble veteran and a member of the Veterans of Foreign War. He not only felt pride in his service, but showed great honor and respect to those that served him. He felt fortunate to receive medical care and support from the Veteran's Memorial Medical Center.
A life long Walla Walla valley resident, Richard was preceded in death by his wife, Phyllis and sons, John and Tom. Also preceding him in death was his brother George, his sister, Shirley Burnham, and his dear cousin Ernie Hesser.
He is survived by his brother and sister in-law, Robert and Naomi, and his brother in-law Charles Burnham, all of Touchet. His daughter Mary Lou of Walla Walla; and his daughter and son in-law, Peggy and Jeff Estes, and his grandsons Brian and Aaron, all of Richland, as well as many other extended family relatives and cherished friends, all whom will forever miss Richard's kind, gentle heart and generous spirit.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 17th at 3:00 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Walla Walla with a reception following the service in the Church Fellowship Hall. Graveside service and interment will be Sunday, April 18th at 11:00 a.m. at the Touchet Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made through Herring Groseclose Funeral Home to the Lillie Rice Center and Blue Mountain Industries or to charity of your choice.
For friends and family attending Saturday's memorial service, due to street closures on Alder Palouse, entrance to the Congregational Church parking lot will be behind the church off Park Street.