Robert (Bob) Edward Fulton, aged 86, died on July 29, 2018, at Perryville, Missouri, within weeks of a stomach and liver cancer diagnosis. Bob was born on September 8, 1931 in St. Louis, the oldest son of Hadley James Fulton and Gleta (Miinch) Fulton. Bob grew up on a farm near Patton, graduating from high school there in 1948. Bob taught for four years in one-room schools in the Patton area.
On May 10, 1952 Bob married Norma Maxine Heitman, and joined the US Army, serving until his honorable discharge in 1954. Bob received a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in education from Southeast Missouri University in 1956. He was accepted into the Navy Department's management intern program in Washington DC, where he served as a management analyst. In 1959 he went to work at the US Atomic Energy Commission, again as a management analyst, where Bob provided support for AEC’s field system which produced and tested nuclear weapons.
While working full time, Bob attended law school and received a law degree in 1964 at American University, and went on to pass the Maryland bar. In 1964 Bob attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Two years later at the State Department he worked on matters including the entry of US nuclear submarines into foreign ports. Around this time, Bob obtained his Masters in Business Administration from George Washington University.
In 1968, following the assassination of Martin Luther King, and after viewing the street riots in Washington from his window at the State Department, Bob felt a call to work on poverty issues. Thereafter he was appointed Community Action Director in the Chicago office of the US Office of Economic Opportunity. In 1970, Bob was appointed OEO’s Regional Director for New England. In 1973 Bob became Regional Director for New England for the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
In 1976 President Gerald Ford appointed Bob, with US Senate confirmation, as Administrator of the Social and Rehabilitation Service, the welfare part of the Department of Health Education and Welfare. After the 1976 election, Bob served on the staff for the US Senate Budget Committee, working with then Oklahoma Senator Henry Bellmon. In 1981, Bob became Chief Counsel for the Budget Committee.
In 1983, Bob was appointed Director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services; he served there until 1987. In 1987, Bob was appointed Cabinet Secretary of Social Services by then Governor Bellmon. Bob retired from state government in 1991, and he and Maxine returned to the log home they had built a few years earlier near Patton.
Thereafter, Bob did consulting work with the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University, later serving on the Center’s governing board. He also did consultation work for the National Institute of Public Affairs in Washington DC.
From 1995 to 1999, Bob served as Executive Director of the East Missouri Action Agency. After that, Bob confined his activities to family and community work, including the Patton Lions Club, and at two United Methodist Churches near Patton (Reagan’s Chapel and Pine Hill). Shortly before his death, Bob was awarded the Lion Club’s most prestigious award, The Melvin Jones Fellowship. Bob was also active with the Will Mayfield Heritage Foundation in Marble Hill where he served on its Board of Directors, including 8 years as board chairman.
Bob is survived by his wife of 66 years, Norma Maxine (Heitman) Fulton of Patton. Three sons survive: Robin Fulton (Karen) of Fredericktown; Scott Fulton (Sasha) of Baltimore, Maryland; and Kenton Fulton (Jenny) of Edmond, Oklahoma. Robin is Associate Circuit Court Judge for Madison County. Scott retired after service as the General Counsel of the Environmental Protection Agency; earlier he served as a judge on EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board. Kenton is an Administrative Law Judge with the Social Security Administration, and formerly served on the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court.
Bob had 6 surviving grandchildren. One grandson, Jacob Hadley Fulton, pre-deceased Bob. Seven great-grandchildren survive Bob's passing. Three brothers also survive Bob's passing: Bill Fulton and Jim Fulton (Mary Jane), both of Patton, and Gerry Fulton (Shelbia) of Farmington.
Bob’s passions included bluegrass music and he was a life-long history buff. Bob was a larger than life patriarch of his family, a man of endless optimism and energy. He was a two time cancer survivor (ultimately succumbing the third time), who was always hopeful, inquisitive and full of endless energy. Most of all, he was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend, who devoted his life to the service of others. Our loss is great, but God is greater. Into your hands, Lord Jesus, we commend him to you!
Visitation will be on Friday, August 3, 2018 from 4 PM to 8 PM at the Liley Funeral Home in Patton, Missouri. The funeral will be held at 10:00 AM on August 4, 2018 at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Will Mayfield Heritage Foundation in Marble Hill.