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Charles L. Fulton

1927 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Charles L. Fulton Obituary
Charles L. Fulton

December 11, 1927 - November 29, 2018


Charles "Charlie" L. Fulton peacefully died November 29, 2018, surrounded by the love of his family, colleagues, and numerous friends who so enriched Charlie's life—and to whom Charlie offered so much. Charlie was born in Franklin, NC, on December 11, 1927, to Marian and Mac Fulton. Life was hard in the mountains of Appalachia and became even more difficult when Charlie's father abandoned his young family. Charlie and his two brothers moved in with their grandparents, and although resources were scarce, education was emphasized, which launched Charlie on a lifelong love of learning.

From a young age, Charlie demonstrated a great aptitude for academic achievement. He enrolled in his beloved University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill at age 15 in 1943. After graduation with a BS in math and political science, Charlie continued his education in the law school at UNC, where he graduated second in his class in 1950.

Following law school, military service called. Charlie served as a Lieutenant in the US Navy from 1950–54, where he mentored many a young sailor. After his Navy career, Charlie moved to Raleigh, and together with Howard Manning, founded Manning & Fulton law firm, later to become Manning, Fulton & Skinner.

During his Navy career, Charlie befriended another officer, Tom Oates, and his wife Marilyn. After Tom was tragically killed in a military plane crash, Charlie fell in love with Marilyn, married her on June 29, 1958, and inherited an instant family, including four children and a dog. Four years later, Charlie and Marilyn lovingly welcomed their fifth child, David Charles.

Charlie was an influential leader in the legal community and was regarded as one of the state's leading authorities on real estate law until his retirement at age 80 in 2007. He was honored to serve as president of the North Carolina Bar Association from 1983-1984. Among his many accomplishments, he was particularly proud of his work to help create the North Carolina State Bar's Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts program in 1984, which generates income from lawyers' trust accounts to fund programs for the public's benefit. He was also a strong advocate for mediation over litigation and pushed for a certification program for legal specialization in North Carolina. Charlie also rewrote the state's foreclosure law, which was enacted in 1974.

Despite his consuming law practice, Charlie still found time for hobbies, including racquetball, tennis, cribbage, and duplicate bridge. He served as a tennis umpire at the US Open, first at Forest Hills and then at Flushing Meadows, and was thrilled to accumulate 2,500 bridge masterpoints during his lifetime.

Charlie was preceded in death by his loving wife, Marilyn Fulton. He is survived by his children: Tommy H. Oates (Barbara), Stephen H. Oates (Pam), Karen (Anna) O. Menzies (Phil), Robert W. Oates (Laurie), and David C. Fulton; eight grandchildren: Jason Oates (Laura), Kate Fuqua (Mark), Adam Oates (Claire), Justin Oates (Hilary), Jesse Vest (Kevin), Austin Oates (Casey), and Holt and Peter Menzies; and six great-grandchildren (Kylee, Luke, Rachel, James, Sam, and Dawson).

The family invites friends to remember Charlie in whatever way feels appropriate. If you wish to make a memorial donation, Charlie's favorite charities were the American Red Cross and the Raleigh Rescue Mission. A celebration of Charlie's life will be held at Grace Lutheran Church in Raleigh, NC, on December 15, 2:00 pm. Arrangements by Cremation Society of the Carolinas.
Published in The News & Observer on Dec. 9, 2018
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