Monday, September 22, 2008

Grandpa Tink

Today marks 43 years since my Grandfather, Walton "Tink" Fulford died in the Manatee Memorial Hospital in Bradenton, Florida. He was one of the most respected men in the community and certainly made a big impact on his grand kids.

All the boys who were old enough got the thrill of going fishing with him. We would go out at sunset and get home just before dawn.

It seemed we would only get to sleep about 15 minutes before we had the pleasure of being awakened by his gentle fingers on your arm, neck or anything he could find under the covers. He could grab hold with those big knuckles and bring you to tears in less than a second. "You goin sleep all day?" He always had a long list of things for us to do.

He was also the one who would send us to the store with a handful of money to buy candy like it was an emergency. He never ate any of it but would check out the bag to see what we bought. After supper he would sit on the living room couch with a half gallon of strawberry ice cream and a hand full of spoons for everyone to dig in. I don't think my grandmother appreciated that very much.

The grand kids didn't understand how sick he was so his death was a big shock. I can remember the blank expressions on many young faces. During the funeral they sang O Come Angel Band. It was probably the first time I had heard it. Even today, years later if I hear that song I remember his funeral.

Warning: You can DL the song with the above link but it will stay with you too.

After the service we were in the procession heading out to the Skyway Memorial Gardens cemetery and I looked back and the line of cars went across the Manatee River bridge and into Bradenton, as far as you could see.

I asked some family for their memories and will share them below:

Annie: How could you ever forget that song? I remember it so clear, of course I was older than you. I even remember the dress I wore to the funeral.

Carol: I remember that the flower arrangements filled the front wall top to bottom, and there were so many they stacked them in the back also. Although we were sitting in the family section I could see people standing in the back and out the door of the chapel because the seats were full.

Mary: When we were all in the family Room I looked up to see that Mac had come in the back door of the building. I told Buster Griffith to have him come into the Family Room as he was family too. The flowers were from the front to the back and around the wall. Buster said that they would be sending some to Nursing Homes.
When we were going to France, "Sug" Raymond on AMI cut a Cedar tree so that we could have Christmas in November before your Dad left. What a thrill when Buster sent the list of who got the flowers to learn that Mrs. Sug Raymond in a nursing home had received some. The grave marker was donated and is marked "From Friends of Tink."


Bradenton Herald September 24, 1965

'Tink' Fulford, Pioneer's Son, Dies At 62

Walton "Tink" Fulford, 62, of Cortez died Wednesday (Sept 22,1965) at Memorial Hospital. Mr. Fulford was born and lived all his life in Cortez and was the son of the late Captain William T. "Billy" Fulford who was a pioneer settler in Cortez.

Captain Fulford came to Perico Island in the 1880s from the eastern coast of North Carolina, near Moorehead. He met and married Miss Sallie Adams of Moorehead, N. C. in Florida and their first daughter, Mrs. Dora Adams, now 75, was born on Perico Island. With his brothers, sisters and family Captain Fulford moved to Cortez in the early 1890s, which was then named Hunter's Point, later changed to Cortez.

Mr. Walton Fulford owned and operated one of the largest fishing fleets on the west coast of Florida and shipped fish all over the eastern part of the country. In 1940 he opened the Fulford Fish Company in Cortez. He was a member of the Cortez Church of Christ.

Survivors include his widow, Mrs. Edith Wilson Fulford; four daughters, Mrs. Mary Green of Tallahassee, Mrs. Belinda Porterfield of Montgomery, Ala., Mrs. Irene Taylor of St. Petersburg, Mrs. Anna Dean Riddick of Hollywood, Fla.; three sons, Ralph M., Wayne W. and Gary D. Fulford all of Cortez; four sisters, Mrs. Dora Adams, Mrs. Grace Guthrie, Mrs. Sallie Moore, all of Cortez, Mrs. Bessie Henning of St. Petersburg and 13 grandchildren.

Funeral services will be Saturday at 10 A.M. at Griffith - Cline Funeral Home with Olin Hastings, of Oneco Church of Christ and Charles Geer, of Cortez Church of Christ, officiating. Burial will be in Skyway Memorial Gardens. Pallbearers will be J. O. Guthrie Jr., Thomas Fulford, Woodrow Green, O. K. Drymond, Paul Taylor and Manley Bell.

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