Col. William James Cullen Jr., USAF (retired), 85, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla. died peacefully this past Wednesday, July 30, 2014. He will always be remembered for his warm smile, positive attitude and wonderful sense of humor. He had a quick wit and a clever response for anything you could throw his way. Bill was admired, respected and loved by all who knew him and he will be greatly missed.
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Bill was born July 1, 1929, in Wilkinsburg, Pa. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1951, and retired in 1974, as a full Colonel. He received his Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) degree from the University of Miami and his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Arizona State University.
His Air Force flying career included piloting B-47's, flying as a forward air control spotter in Vietnam in an O-1, and Commander of the 548th Special Operations Squadron at England Air Force Base, Louisiana. Col. Cullen then served as assistant chief of staff for the Military Advisory and Assistance Group in Taiwan, and as base comptroller at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. His military awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Metal with 14 clusters and awards from the government of Taiwan and the Republic of Vietnam.
After returning to Fort Walton Beach, Bill joined the Florida region of Troy State University and instructed accounting and finance courses. He and his wife, Ruth McCann Cullen, opened Cullen Accounting and Tax Services. In addition to world travel, Bill and Ruth were involved in many local organizations, including Kiwanis, NW Florida Military Officers Association, Daedalians, ""Bud"" Day Flight #61, Air Commando Association and the Krewe of Columbus.
Bill was previously married to Babs Cullen (deceased) for 30 years before marrying Ruth Ward McCann in 1981. He is survived by his wife, Ruth; his aunt, Dottie Sloan of Ebensburg, Pa.; his three children, Christine Cullen of Shalimar, Fla., William Cullen (Elaine) of Tampa, Fla. and Kelly Potter of Destin, Fla.; three step-sons, Brad McCann (Ida)of Destin, Greg McCann (Michelle) of Shalimar and Mark McCann (Michelle), of Key West, Fla.; seven grandchildren, Chad Cullen of Karatsu, Japan, Laura Cullen McClernon (Patrick) of Norfolk, Va., Max McCann of Fremantle, Australia, Mia McCann of Portland, Ore., Danielle Potter of Fort Walton Beach and George and Brady McCann of Destin.
Visitation will be on Tuesday, Aug. 5 at 10 a.m. followed by a funeral service at 11 a.m. at Emerald Coast Funeral Home, located at 113 Racetrack Road NE in Fort Walton Beach. Dr. Jeff Spicer, pastor of M.E. United Methodist Church, will conduct the services. Bill will be laid to rest the following morning at 10 a.m. in Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, Fla.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Fisher House of Emerald Coast, P.O. Box 2007, Eglin AFB, FL 32542 or NWFMOA Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 310, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32549-0310 or the
Expressions of love and sympathy may be viewed online at www.emeraldcoastfuneralhome.com.
Emerald Coast Funeral Home
113 Racetrack Rd NE
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
Published Online in Northwest Florida Daily News from Aug. 2 to Aug. 3, 2014