Obituary: George Clyde Fulton

<p>George Clyde Fulton</p>

George Clyde Fulton, a local attorney and banker, died March 4, 2014 in his home.

George, a member of an Oregon pioneer family, was born in Astoria, Oregon, on March 14, 1919 to A.C. Fulton and Alice Fox. He and sister Nancy Lowe resided on Harrison Street where they observed the great Astoria Fire of 1922. As a child, he also witnessed his father signing the legal documents to transfer various Boeing flying boats to Pan American World Airways at the Tongue Point anchorage. Living in Astoria the majority of his life, he experienced and participated in the transformation of our community.

George was the starting guard on the Astoria High School basketball team; graduated from Astoria High School and attended the University of Oregon.

In 1942, after his junior year at the U of O, he joined the U.S. Navy. Upon completion of basic training, he was assigned to the USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) a Bagley-class destroyer in the Pacific Theater. The vessel saw action in the battles of Midway, Guadalcanal, Savo Island in the Solomon Islands and various night engagements culminating in the capture of Munda and Kollombarga.

During this time, the USS Ralph Talbot was severely damaged. With many lives lost, the vessel was forced to return to Mare Island, California, for repairs.

George served as a naval gunnery fire control man, a skill which he learned at Murray State Teachers College in Kentucky. At the end of World War II, he was stationed at St. Mary’s College in Morage, California, where he was training to become a pilot. George was extremely proud of his service to his country and he continued to maintain contact with his shipmates until their age made in impossible to travel to reunions.

Upon his honorable discharge from the Navy, George returned to Astoria and entered into the seafood industry, starting a business to procure shark livers to be used to produce vitamins. He also was a partner in a metal plating business.

In 1950, at this father’s insistence, he enrolled at Northwestern College of Law (Lewis and Clark Law School). In 1953, he was admitted to the Oregon State Bar. Directly upon receiving his law license, he returned to Astoria and joined his father’s law practice, which would later become a member of the “Oregon 100-Year Club,” honoring the firm’s continuous family operation since 1876.

In the legal profession, he would also serve as a Clatsop County Assistant District Attorney, an Astoria Municipal Judge and acted as the attorney for the Port of Astoria (27 years). He also helped to form and continued to advise the Board of the Lewis and Clark Water District and other special districts in Clatsop County. He retired from practicing law in 1996.

He was involved in the formation of the Bank of Astoria, where he later served as Chairman of the Board of Directors. In 2004, when the Bank of Astoria was sold to Columbia Bank, he retired from the Board.

George married Louise “Sus” Dahl and her large Norwegian family in 1951. They had two children, Stephen C. Fulton of Astoria and Sara Fulton Orr of Seattle, Washington. Sara is married to William Orr and they have two sons, Wilson and Ryan. George is survived by his fiancée, June Spence of Hammond, Oregon.

George served on many local committees and service organizations, including the Clatsop County March of Dimes, Clatsop County Historical Advisory Committee, Republican Central Committee, Clatsop Pioneer Cemetery Board, Astoria Rotary Club, and he was a founding member of the Astoria Flatte (sailboat) fleet.

He was a founder or “plank owner” of the Board of Directors of the Columbia River Maritime Museum. One of the highlights of his involvement in the museum was the 1963 adventure of sailing with his friends on the crew that returned Lightship #88 to Astoria from storage in Puget Sound. This vessel became the first of the Museum’s floating exhibits.

George served on the Clatsop County Home Rule Charter Review Committee, Astoria Parks Guide Plan and the Astor Column Advisory Committee. He was a member of the Astoria Regatta Association, Astoria Elks, American Legion Post #12, Astoria Golf and Country Club, Clatsop County Bar Association, Clatsop County Duck Hunters Association, Trails End Gem and Mineral Club, Pacific Rim Counselors Association and the Guadalcanal Campaign Survivors.

George was an avid reader of World War II history and he also enjoyed hunting and fishing. In his younger days, he was the owner of a duck shack on Warren Slough near Knappa. Upon finally retiring at 84, he spent time camping and traveling in the state of Oregon; notably camping at every trailer site operated by the Oregon State Parks.

In honor of George, memorial contributions may be made to one of the charities that were special to him: the USO and the American Cancer Society, or to a local charity of one’s choice.

A gathering in George’s honor will be held Saturday, March 15th, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Elks Club in Astoria.

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