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ALBERT CHARLES ULMER

ALBERT CHARLES ULMER

This Guest Book will remain online until 5/14/2015 courtesy of Julian Martin and Norman Gary.
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July 28, 2014
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July 28, 2014
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May 13, 2014
Robin: Before I met Al I knew him through his writings. I could tell his heart had great depths in his compassion for the oppressed peoples of this world. I also, heard stories from Teresa and Ann of his love of nature. Human rights issues and the preservation of natural resources are at the forefront of my thoughts. Reading his letters were like reading a favorite author as you couldn't wait to read the next volume. When I was a kid I used to see his name on the gymnasium wall at Clearwater High School acknowledging the records he set in athletics. I loved sports and he was a Clearwater legend. When I met Teresa I couldn't believe she was Al Ulmer's niece. The paths of his life intrigue me: from athlete to the peace corps to anti-war/civil rights activism. I am so glad I got to meet you and Al. I will always treasure and never forget walking down the path from your house that leads to the old oak tree. He had all of us hold our hands together and make a circle around the trunk of the tree and then directed us to lean forward and touch the tree with our foreheads and asked us to "think good thoughts". And that is what I will think when I think about you and Albert. All my loving, Alan
May 13, 2014
Dear Robin and Spring,

My heart aches over Al's passing. He was my special Uncle. As a child I remember spending the weekends at my Grandparents house. I always slept in his room when he was away and used to play his 45 records over and over. I always looked forward to him coming home because he spent a lot of time with us and it was always a fun. He would organize football games and I would always be on his team. He threw me a long pass that I caught and I still remember the look of amazement on his face. We had memorable walks to the beach and we played follow the leader. Some times he made us cross the street waddling like ducks. He was a real prankster. He was also a great story teller and entertained us with tales of fictional characters like the book he wrote about George and Hilda Snigglefritz (which I still have). As I got older he introduced us to a game called spoons which never brought out the best in us, especially in our beloved mother. Spoons brought out a side of our mother we never saw before. We will continue playing this game in Uncle Al's honor. I always enjoyed his letters which I will miss greatly. In his letters he shared his views of the world and always ended on a humorous note. The life he led always amazed and fascinated me - he was passionate in his convictions and lived life to the fullest. It is evident in reading this guestbook that he touched many people and enriched many lives. Seeing him in October is a memory that I will always cherish and hold close to me heart. My thoughts and love are with you both. Love, Teresa
May 13, 2014
DEAR Robin & SPRING, albert my dear uncle, was a wonderful man . I Looked up to him my whole life. the soul mate robin that he found in his life that was a perfect match. and spring, your dad was so proud of you. HIS LOVE, HIS SMILE, I WILL NEVER FORGET. love Maria
May 13, 2014
Al Dear,

It is almost a month since you have been gone and sadness fills my heart and tears fill from my eyes. I am struggling with the awareness of never receiving another of your inspiring, thought provoking humorous letters or sharing phone visits together. My younger brother, our lives are forever intertwined: childhood days in Binghamton, cottage weekends and summers at Stearns Lake and moving to Clearwater in middle school. You were my childhood playmate, my protector, my tormenter and teaser, my ping pong adversary, my forever friend. We share stories known to us alone and jokes humorous just to us.

Albee, as you were called in early childhood, then Albert, later Al - what an amazing, unique, gifted, kind, multitalented man you became. I read your accomplishments with awe and wonder.

I am blessed with my relationship with Robin, your wife and Spring, your daughter who emulate your values so beautifully. My children and grandchildren will remember and relive our times together. The stories you read them while the fire burned, the games and competeitions played with great gusto, the plays reproduced, the berries picked, the horses fed apples, the wagon rides - these will live forever with you in their midst.

And I will try to live my remaining years in ways to make you proud...

Love,
Ann, your sister
May 09, 2014
I wrote this about eight years ago when I first learned that Al had terminal cancer. There is some tongue in cheek and gentle kidding meant. Al was the most amazing, talented, searching, brilliant, dedicated, humorous person, I have ever met.

Al Ulmer

Although it has been even longer than twenty years since we last played, my most formidable opponent in one-on-one basketball is down with incurable cancer. Lord we had some amazing games, slightly bloody at times. He was an all-American football player at Florida State and I barely made the starting lineup on the St. Albans High School football team my senior year. There was a big difference in our muscularity too. He was naturally muscled, broad at the shoulders, narrow at the hips and quick. I was about average.
I was better than Al at basketball but he fouled, pushed, butted and simply wore me down most of the time. He will deny that I am better than him at anything and will also deny that he fouled me to win, but it is true.
I never knew a person who hated to lose like Al. After one of the few times I ever beat him in one-on-one he kicked the ball clear over the large oak tree that the backboard was nailed to. The only time I ever saw him quit was when I poked him in the eye, I was happy to agree to a draw.
He made a competition out of about anything. One time a bunch of us were skipping rocks on a lake in east Tennessee and he proceeded to force the situation into a contest and of course he won with fifteen skips. He would cheat a little to win. I've seen him do it in our basketball games and at cards.
Whether it was fighting against racism in the South, opposing the Vietnam War or playing scrabble with his family, he saw no reason to ever be satisfied with second place. And with this damned cancer he is going for defeating it, enduring the radiation, chemotherapy and killing off of his bone marrow and starting all over again. He told me that there are people who have been walking around for ten years with the cancer in remission.
The doctors and technicians at the hospital told him they had to get him well because they all had a wall or a fireplace they wanted him to build. His skill as a stonemason speaks for itself in what he has built. How improbable is it that a man who grew up in Florida becomes an artist at New England stonework?
But probability wasn't something Al ever considered. He went from football to the Peace Corps where he built basketball and tennis courts, coached the track team and taught just about everything and even filled in for the principal at his school. I called him “super volunteer.” After the Peace Corps he got involved in the civil rights movement. He had the sad distinction of driving the Unitarian Rev. Reeb to Selma from Atlanta the day before Reeb was hit in the back of the head with a deadly baseball bat.
Al worked for southern farm cooperatives. He showed me a picture of an apparatus for distilling ethanol that he made and fitted on a trailer and pulled it to Georgia from Vermont as a proto-type for farmers in the cooperative he had worked for. Will Campbell told me he tried to get him to take the job of director of the human rights commission in Tennessee.
Al is a renaissance man. He is well read, he writes well, sails, plays soccer, basketball and tennis and loves to drink beer with his friends after a good knock-down drag-out competition of some sort, any sort. I admire him and often made him feel good by coming in second.

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