Frank H. Fuller,Sr.
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Frank Hudson Fuller, Sr., a pioneering environmental engineer with the DuPont Company, died Saturday, June 15th at Riddle Memorial Hospital in Media, Pennsylvania. He was 88. He and Mary Lou, his adored wife of 58 years, made their home in Wilmington, Delaware for most of their married life.
Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on October 15, 1924, he led a life fulfilled by hard work, service to country and love of family. A paperboy who rose at 4am to deliver 200 newspapers every morning, an Eagle Scout, an All-State center-fielder and salutatorian of his class of 400 at Chattanooga High School, he attended the University of Virginia before transferring to the United States Coast Guard Academy where he graduated in 1946. Mr. Fuller served as an officer on ships in both the Atlantic and the Pacific during the post-war rebuilding period. He was retired for physical disability in 1949.
Unable to continue in the military, he returned to school, earned an MSME from the University of Tennessee and then joined the Engineering Services Division of the DuPont Company. Although a mechanical engineer, he became an expert in environmental engineering matters before that field became a recognized discipline, developing new techniques that overturned received wisdom about the control of fume and thermal environments, thus improving employee safety while saving the company millions of dollars. For his new ideas and persistence in getting changes made company-wide, he received the DuPont Company's highest honor and monetary award for an engineer. In 1989, he retired and entered private consulting practice.
He held memberships in the Delaware Association of Professional Engineers, the American Academy of Industrial Hygiene and technical societies in the United States and Europe, where he was a member of various committees in those organizations. While with DuPont he authored numerous technical papers, many published in the open literature. He was a section editor and contributor to Perry's Chemical Engineers Handbook and a contributor to the handbook series of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers.
Even though he hailed from land-locked Tennessee, Mr. Fuller had a hankering for the open sea. While at the Coast Guard Academy, during World War II, he trained on the Danmark, a 250-foot square-rigged sailing ship, seemingly an anachronism in an era of battleships, where his position aloft was the topmost yard of the 150-foot mainmast. There, at a time before safety harnesses, he raised and lowered sails in fair and foul weather, frequently as the ship pitched beneath him, the mast tilted over heavy water. On patrol and rescue ships he saved men thrown overboard and once, etched in sad memory, lost a friend and fellow sailor whose hand slipped from his grasp. Later in life, his sails could find wind in a dead calm. And he loved to swim farther out from shore than everyone else and float on his back riding up and down the peaks of high waves.
Mr. Fuller was a long-time member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church where he served as a deacon and Sunday school teacher. He was a member of the Greenville Country Club, the Lincoln Club of Delaware, and the Military Officers Association of America. He was also a knowledgeable and opinionated baseball fan, an astute assessor of the Philadelphia Phillies strengths and weaknesses.
He is survived by his wife Mary Louise, son, Frank, Jr., wife, Meredeth, and grandson, Gage of Wayland, MA; daughter, Mary, husband Martin Bond, and granddaughters, Louise and Anne of Radnor, PA; son, Stuart of San Francisco, and brother, William and wife, Blanche of Madison, AL.
A memorial service will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Pennsylvania Avenue in Wilmington, Delaware at 2pm, June 22nd. Reception to follow in the chapel. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation be made in memory of Frank to Westminster Presbyterian Church (1502 W. 13th Street, Wilmington, DE 19806) or the Arthritis National Research Foundation (www.curearthritis.org , 200 Oceangate, Suite 830, Long Beach, CA 90802).
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Published in The News Journal on June 19, 2013