On the evening of June 14, 2019, John Wilbur Fulbright, our beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin, and friend, joined Our Lord and made heaven a better place, at the age of 95.
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John Fulbright was born in Waco, Texas on July 25, 1923, to Henry Grady and Anne Beaty Fulbright. He was the second of six children. He attended Sacred Heart Academy and Waco High School, where he made lifelong friends.
In 1940, John began attending Texas A & M University, where he studied engineering. His brothers Lloyd and Ed would later follow his lead by also enrolling in engineering at A & M. John was so very proud to be a Fightin' Texas Aggie.
On June 11, 1942, John and his entire class enlisted in the U.S. Army. John recounted, "I don't remember anyone asking whether we wanted to join up, but we all did."
John continued his education until 1943, when he was ordered to report for basic training. He went to officer's candidate school at Camp Davis, N.C., before joining the allied forces in Italy. During WWII, John served with the 34th “Red Bull” Infantry Division, 109th Engineering Battalion, building bridges to move supplies in support of our troops.
After the war, John returned home to Texas and received his law degree from a "little trade school in Austin" called The University of Texas. (John's words) It was during his time at UT that John met the love of his life, Anna Loreace Janicek. They married on October 22, 1949.
After two years of peace, they decided to grow their family, but finding the off switch proved challenging. In 1951, they rejoiced in the birth of their first child, a girl! (Kathy's words) Over the next fourteen years, they expanded their family. Five boys in succession were born, and finally, in 1965, they again rejoiced at the arrival of their second girl! (Carole's words)
In 1953, to support his growing family, John and Charles Koehne formed a law firm. They were soon joined by Sherm Winniford. John became one of the most respected attorneys in Waco, and his law firm grew and is held in the highest esteem. John practiced law till he was 75 years old. Today, the firm operates under the name Fulbright Winniford.
John loved and cherished his family and he showed it. One of his greatest joys was to take his beautiful wife and children to the beach in Port Aransas. This was a yearly summer expedition and usually had attendance of 40 to 45 children, spouses, grandchildren and great grandchildren. And Sunday Mass was part of the package, just like at home. Memories from these magical trips will remain with all of us forever.
If you ever had any one-on-one time with John, you knew he had a sincere interest in what was happening in your life. He asked questions. He wanted to know. Being with John felt like sitting next to a warm fire; his love radiated and warmed each of us as he listened and considered. His entire being expressed unconditional love. He made you feel right at home. And he taught us that unwavering strength could be as gentle as a whisper.
John loved God and his church, and his life reflected that. In his UT Law days, he initiated a fundraiser for the construction of the Catholic Student Center at the University of Texas at Austin. In later years, he participated in Monsignor Mark Deering's Building Committee for the construction of St. Louis Church.
Additionally, he assisted the Bishop of Austin in locating and purchasing the land for the Catholic Student Center at Baylor University. He was a long time member of the Serra Club which promoted vocations to the priesthood.
John participated in and supported the Knights of Columbus, Friends for Life, Habitat for Humanity, and the Reicher High School Booster Club. He served as the president of the school board at Reicher. He was a member of the Providence Hospital Advisory Board and the City of Waco Aviation Committee, which promoted increased commercial airline flights to Waco.
For those of us lucky enough to know John, he always had one more story. And those stories consistently reflected the humor, humanity and goodness that John unfailingly found in his fellow man.
The family wishes to express the deepest gratitude to John Fulbright Jr. who has been a constant presence in John's and Anna's lives and did what was needed on a daily basis to assist John in his final years.
John was preceded in death by his father Henry, his mother Anne, and his three brothers Buddy, Lloyd, and Ed.
John is survived by his wife Anna, his seven children and their spouses: Kathy and David Hradecky, John Fulbright Jr., Tom and Suzie Fulbright, David and Sandy Fulbright, Paul and Mary Fulbright, Mike and Desiree Fulbright, and Carole and John Blythe. Additionally, he is survived by his sisters, Sr. Mary Fulbright and Martha Verme, his brother-in-law, Jim Verme and sisters-in-law Jo Ellen Fulbright and Marilyn Fulbright. John's family includes 17 grandchildren, six great grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. Other living family members include Dena Fulbright and Rita Cotterly.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in John's name to the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur, 909 West Shaw St., Fort Worth, TX 76110, or Reicher Catholic High School, 2102 North 23rd St., Waco, TX 76708.
Visitation will start at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 19, at St. Louis Catholic Church, 2001 North 25th St., Waco, TX 76708. Rosary will be recited at 7:00 p.m., immediately following the visitation. Mass of Christian
Burial will be celebrated at 12 noon on Thursday, June 20, at St. Louis Catholic Church. The burial will follow at Rosemound Cemetery, 3201 South 12th St., Waco, TX 76706. After the burial, a light lunch will be served at a reception at Reicher Catholic High School, Deering Center, St. Joseph Hall, 2102 North 23rd St., Waco, TX 76708.