|Maurice D. Fulkerson was born on the 29th of May 1911, on a farm outside the town of Trenton, MO. He grew up on the farm and attended a one-room schoolhouse near the farm. His parents were ardent Methodists. At the age of twelve, “Maury” felt the call to the ministry of Jesus Christ and thereafter pursued that vocation with persistence and dedication. When he was seventeen, he enrolled in Central Methodist College, Fayette, MO., from which he graduated in 1934. He entered Perkins School of Theology at SMU. He graduated in 1937. He was received into the Louisiana Annual Conference. He served as Director of the Wesley Foundation at LSU. At the university he met a beautiful young woman, Wessie Lou Dunnam. They were married on June 9. 1939. They served churches in Newellton, Clinton and Oak Grove in the Louisiana Coderaue.
Rev. Fulkerson entered military service on February 3, 1942. He served as military chaplain for the next twenty-two and a half years with the U.S. Air Force. During World War II he was assigned to bases in England, where he was attached to bomber air wings. Being the person centered man that he was, Maury refused to live in officers’ quarters but lived in a Quonset hut near the runway. In that Quonset hut he met flight after flight of airmen and officers coming back from their sorties in Europe, having coffee and snacks there for them, a word of encouragement and a prayer for the wounded. While he preached the gospel as a chaplain, he also put Jesus into the coffee cups for those brave men. For his services he received the bronze star.
He had two tours of duty in Japan. While there he and Wessie hosted American missionaries of various denominations.
He was a devoted father. He and Wessie were the proud parents of three children; Dale, Harold and Grace. Wessie, his wife of fifty years, preceded him in death in 1989.
In 1960, the Fulkersons moved to Southern California. His last assignment with the Air Force was the Los Angeles Air Force Base. He retired in 1964 from active duty at a Colonel. In his retirement he became Executive Secretary of the Santa Monica Council of Churches, serving for nine years. He helped establish a drug and counseling referral service, and opened a house for teens with problems.
He will be missed, his ready smile, his contagion of faith, his uncanny ability to make you stand taller, and to feel better about yourself, his immensely high principles, his love of his country, and his love of his family.
He was one of Christ’s resurrected people. As Clarence Jordan one time declared: “Christ did not come to get us into heaven but to get heaven into us.” Maurice Fulkerson knew that because that miracle had happened in him.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference 1996, p. 265, By Donald Shelby|