Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Smokebrush remembers the real 'Uncle Wilber'

Posted By on Wed, Jul 6, 2011 at 9:09 AM

Wilber Hamilton Fulker, a local teacher, arts enthusiast and activist, died peacefully July 2 at the age of 93. A memorial service was held yesterday.

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  • Smokebrush Foundation

An announcement sent out by Marmalade at Smokebrush detailed Fulker's life as a native of Monument who was a photographer, an instructor and principal at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind (known for his effective learning aids for blind students) and in retirement, an active birder.

Kat and Bob Tudor, who designed the Uncle Wilber fountain, were inspired first by a man playing a tuba, and then found a connection between the fountain subject and Bob Tudor's uncle, Fulker, who was an avid player himself.

For more on the fountain, visit unclewilberfountain.org. Read more of the Smokebrush Foundation's write-up on Fulker below.

Wilber Fulker's rich life as a Colorado native and active volunteer throughout the Colorado Springs area drew to a close peacefully on July 2nd, 2011, with nearly all of his family at hand. Wilber, fondly known to many as "Uncle Wilber" from the Acacia Park fountain that bears his name, applied his creative and innovative nature to a wide array of endeavors. From years of service at First Congregational Church, to sharing his well-equipped workshop with those who wished to build birdhouses, construct signs or fabricate unusual mechanical solutions, Wilber touched many Springs residents.

With his wife, Mary Boatright Fulker (deceased 1982), Wilber raised 5 children: David (Boulder, CO), Thomas (Cerillos, NM), Sylvia Jones (deceased 1990), Douglas (Prescott, AZ) and Hedi Lauffer (Madison, WI). In turn they brought him the joy of 12 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren, many of whom were able to visit him in Boulder during his final days and months. Wilber was the eldest of three children born to Wilber Forrest and Helen Bennet Fulker, the youngest of whom, Mabel Korbitz, lives in Colorado Springs. Wilber loved his connections with numerous nieces and nephews, many of whom also live in the Springs.

Born April 17th, 1918, in Monument, Colorado, where he later took his own young family for a 10-year period, Wilber spent nearly his whole life in Colorado Springs. Wilber's knowledge of the area and early passion for photography led to a collaboration with the producers of the Palmer Divide historical video series. His connection to the Monument area continues still through the family property east of Palmer Lake that originally was purchased from General Palmer.

When he moved his family from Monument back to the Springs in 1958, Wilber was an innovative teacher of the blind, instructing and eventually becoming principal at the Blind School within the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind. He invented learning aids for the blind and co-authored a book on the topic with his wife, Mary. Long after retirement, Wilber enjoyed many friendships and continued to meet regularly with colleagues from his teaching years.

Later in life, Wilber re-discovered his passion for birding with the help of his dear friend Nancy Taggart. His bird book filled with notes about sitings, Wilber avidly shared his interest in birds wherever he went, including his final 8-month residence in Boulder.

A memorial service celebrating Wilber's life is planned for 2pm on Tuesday, July 5th at the First Congregational Church of Colorado Springs. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in his memory to the non-profit Friends of the Fountain (www.unclewilberfountain.org).

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