Members of the Ceres High School class of 1953 are among those mourning the loss of former classmate Donald E. Fultz who went on to become a worldwide humanitarian. He died unexpectedly on Oct. 17 at his home in Nevada City, 10 days after his 78th birthday.
Among those who attended his Oct. 25 funeral at Twin Cities Church in Grass Valley was former classmate Kenny Leuenhagen of Ceres.
"He was one of two smartest men that I know who came out of Ceres High School," said Leuenhagen.
Don, he recalls, worked as a cook at the celebrated Hendy's Drive-In in Ceres, and would study a book and write essays for others at the same time to make extra cash.
After graduating from Ceres High School in 1953, Donald served in the Army during the Korean War, then returned to graduate from Fresno State College with a bachelor's degree in Journalism/Public Relations. Although he was a real estate developer, Donald loved aviation and became a private pilot and trained in aerobatics. His lifelong mission was to help others. A Rotarian since 1964, Donald became involved in the first of many relief projects for Mercy Ships, Youth With A Mission, United Way, Kellermann Foundation and Assist International. From 1985 to 1996, he made over 13 trips to various and remote parts of Mexico, many times landing his small plane on remote dirt runways as he delivered teams of dentists, doctors and volunteers to places that would otherwise never get care.
Since retiring to Nevada City in 1985, Mr. Fultz became an active member of the community and developed commercial and residential real estate properties, while continuing his humanitarian efforts with Habit for Humanity and other local organizations.
In 2004, fellow Rotarian Dr. Scott Kellermann inspired him to enthusiastically spread the word among Rotarians to procure matching grants and organize trips to deliver critically needed medical equipment to Uganda, leading to the establishment of what has become the top-rated hospital in that African country. Don was dedicated to Scott and Carol Kellermann's vision and later was co-founder of the Kellermann Foundation.
"He was a giving person," said Leuenhagen.
Mr. Fultz was born Oct. 27, 1935 in Woodlake as the first of seven sons of Loyce and Charles Fultz.
Survivors include Georgann Fultz; five children, Gregory, Douglas, Stephanie, Jennifer, Dawn; five brothers, Robert Fultz, Richard Fultz, Bruce Fultz, John Fultz and Michael Fultz; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother William.
He was a long-time member of Twin Cities Church, active in the community and political affairs.