Eulogy for a Friend
By Tessa Hebert
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In loving memory of:

William John Fulkerson

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah on November 22, 1950
Died in Houston, Texas on January 3, 2003

Bill's Picture
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While struggling with grief over the loss of my friend, I found these words comforting and reminiscent of Bill:
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Grieve not,
Nor speak of me with tears
But laugh and talk of me
As if I were beside you.

 -- From To Those I love, a poem by Isla Paschal Richardson

“I guess it's our fault,” Call said.  “We should have shot sooner.”

“I don't want to start thinking about all the things we should have done for this man,” Augustus said.  “If you've got the strength to ride, let's get out of here."

-- Words spoken over the body of Josh Deets, their hired hand, friend, and companion of many years.  From Lonesome Dove, a novel by Larry McMurtry

And though I have the gift of prophecy,
and understand all mysteries,
and all knowledge;
and though I have all faith,
so that I could remove mountains,
and have not love,
I am nothing.

-- The Bible:  1 Corinthians 13:2

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;
and there shall be no more death,
neither sorrow, nor crying,
neither shall there be any more pain; 
for the former things are passed away.

--The Bible:  Revelation 21:4

We were born before the wind,
Also younger than the sun;
Everybody thought as one,
As we sailed into the mystic.

-- From Into the Mystic, a song on the album Moondance, by Van Morrison.
Third line was changed by Bill in the 1980s, when he typed the words on a paper and gave the paper to me for my birthday.

TO THOSE I LOVE AND THOSE WHO LOVE ME
When I am gone, release me, let me go,
I have so many things to say and do.
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears,
be happy that we had these years.

I give you my love.
You can only guess
How much you gave me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you have shown,
But now it’s time I travel on alone.

So grieve a while, if grieve you must
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It’s only for a while that we must part
So bless the memories within your heart.

I won’t be far away,
For life goes on.
So if you need me, call and I will come.

Though you can’t see or touch me, I’ll be near,
And if you listen with your heart you’ll hear,
All my love around you soft and clear.

And then, when you must come this way alone,
I’ll greet you with a smile and “Welcome Home.”
 

-- Author Unknown

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About Bill and His Life

Bill shared the last 22 years of his life with me.  I was his best friend, companion, and associate in book selling.  He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and lived as a child in Denver, Colorado and in San Antonio, Texas.  As an adult, he lived in Houston, Texas for many years, where he worked as a bartender.  He was also a co-owner and operator of a nursery business for a short time in Houston.  Initially, he attended college intending to major in chemistry, a subject he loved to study.   In 1991, he began his career as a book seller, after returning to college to study computer science, while he lived in Gulfport, Mississippi.  In 1992, he moved to Louisiana, and he earned a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in animal science, from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette, Louisiana, in 1994.  He sold books with me on the Internet under the business name of Book Dealers (http://bookdealers.home.mindspring.com/).  He and I returned to Texas in October of 2002 and were living in Hitchcock when he died.

Bill is survived by his mother, Mary Virginia Smith Fulkerson and his sister, Patricia Fulkerson Modenbach, both of Gulfport, Mississippi; and his two brothers, James Fulkerson of Cypress, Texas and Gerald Fulkerson of Spring, Texas.  His father Elmer James Fulkerson died in 1978.

Bill will be remembered best for his love.  He loved good food, and he was an excellent cook. His favorite food was beef sirloin steak.  He made an awesome cheese cake, occasionally baked a tasty peach cobbler, and was well known for his delicious chocolate-chip cookies.  He loved animals and never missed an opportunity to pet one.  He loved coffee, cigarettes, and friendly conversations.  He loved chemistry.  He knew and told many jokes; he often quoted Thoreau, Steinbeck, and other famous authors; and he made his friends laugh with his humorous one-liners.  He spoke a little Spanish, knew a little French, and was educated in Latin.  He could identify various plants by their Latin names, pronouncing the Latin words with a smile on his face. He neither sang nor danced, but he loved music.  He loved to travel, and he and I visited Mexico and Nevada several times, as well as New Orleans, and we made one memorable trip driving from Denver, Colorado through South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming.  He loved books and had an innate good sense of the book-selling business, which served him well.  He was the editor of my self-published book Sell Books on the Internet!, originally published in 1999 and revised and updated in 2002.  He loved to book hunt, and he and I spent many pleasant hours together while treasure hunting for books.

Pictures of Bill with Words He Might Have Said
6 months old
Cute?  Yeah, okay, I'm cute -- maybe. 
But cute isn't everything.
I want to be so much more.
Getting born was the hard part, and I'm sure it's all going to be a lot easier now that I've mastered the art of sitting up.
1 year old

I am so excited!  I think I've got it all figured out.
I am going to be a cowboy when I grow up
and I'm going to live in Texas
just as soon as I can get there.

4 years old
"You see this, Santa?  It says right here in my
Rope 'Em, Cowboy book
that all cowboys have to have a pistol."
Grammar School

I made it to Texas, but I don't like that school I go to.
Those nuns think it's okay to rap my knuckles with a ruler.
I guess I'll have to go along with this Catholic school idea for now, until I get old enough to do what I really want to do.

bartender

Okay, maybe I didn't grow up to be a cowboy,
but I like this bartending job in Houston.
And it pays the rent while I go to college and study chemistry.

Cowboy Bartender
And I can dress up like a cowboy for Halloween.
Toga Party
Dressing up as a cowboy sure beats
wearing a sheet for a toga party at work.
Cowboy Bartender Again
And then there's this Country & Western bar where I get to dress up like a cowboy every night for work.
Me and Tessa
This Cajun woman thinks she's a good cook,
but wait 'til she tastes my gumbo.
Tessa and I in New Orleans

Tessa and I like to travel.

Here we are at Jackson Square in New Orleans.
We also went to Mexico and Nevada several times.
Petting at the Zoo

I like to go to the zoo and pet the animals,

Talking to the Camels
and talk to the camels.
Riding a Motorcycle
Of course, riding a motorcycle is great fun!
Petting a Brahma Bull

But petting a Brahma bull at the
Houston Livestock & Rodeo Show
is even more fun.

Steak, Dewars, Roses, Cigarette & Coffee
There's not much better in life than:
1.  a good steak dinner at a table with roses
2.  a drink of Dewars scotch
3.  and a cigarette with coffee afterwards.

I don't have any photos for the rest of it,
but that's okay because I didn't get any cuter as I got older,
I had less hair on top and I eventually shaved off the beard but I kept the mustache.
I moved to Louisiana with Tessa,
and I finally graduated from college after changing my major
first to computer science and then to animal science.
And of course, then I became a book dealer.

Adios
What else can I say?
I finally got back to Texas
after a long sojourn in Cajun country.
I am sure Tessa thinks I left too soon,
but it was a great life!

Adios y vaya con Dios, amigos!

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Adios, Guillermo, y vaya con Dios, mi amigo.
The memory of you will be cherished by those who loved you.
--
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