John F Fuller

September 11th, 1935 to March 20th, 2013
John F. Fuller, 77, of Port Huron, succumbed to complications associated with Alzheimer’s on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.

He is survived by his son, Howard J. Fuller; daughter, Judy G. Fuller; stepchildren, Renee (Robert) Mason and Randy Galbraith; eight grandchildren, Robert, William, Thomas, Nikolas, Jessica, Randy, Joseph and Benjamin; three great grandchildren, Thomas, Madalyn and Abigail; and longtime family friends, Fran Master, Tim Haynes, Judi Novar, David Slusher, Nancy Kingman and Tom Anderle.

John was born in Port Huron on September 11, 1935 to Howard and Margaret Fuller. He attended Port Huron High School. As a youth, John was very active in sports, including tennis and baseball. He truly excelled in basketball (guard) and football (tackle). Here his stocky frame combined with his stamina, team spirit and good humor earned him the nickname of ‘Iron Man’ as well as ‘Big John’. His football teams went ‘state champions’-undefeated throughout 1951 and 1952, as commemorated in the Port Huron Sports Hall of Fame. He entered Michigan Tech in the Upper Peninsula. He was Kappa Delta Psi, but it wasn’t until he entered Air Force flight training (in 1958) and was assigned to Grand Forks AFB that he finished undergraduate work at the University of Nebraska (Omaha) in 1963. He obtained a Master’s Degree in History from the University of North Dakota in 1966.

John was a navigator co-piloting supersonic interceptor jet-aircraft: the F­ 101B ‘Voodoo’. As a member of the ‘Blue Fox’ Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Air Defense Command, he was never deployed to active combat duty though he was able to visit Europe, Japan and Hawaii (for the first time in early 1962). He was promoted to captain in 1963. He retired rather than pursue a career in the Air Force. He always felt that his seven years in the service helped define him as a ‘responsible human being’. Today one of his personally flown Voodoos from the 18th, serial number 58-0325, is now on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, outside Dayton, Ohio.

At age 31 John returned to Port Huron and taught briefly for the Port Huron Area School District. He married Barbara Brackenbury on August 7, 1967. He was uniquely successful in applying both his military experience and his college education to obtain a position as historian for Air Weather Service, part of Military Airlift Command (now Air Mobility). This necessitated a permanent move to southern Illinois, near Scott AFB. His twenty-year career there began in early October 1967.

By 1975, John was awarded the Air Force Meritorious Civilian Service Award for the superb quality of his research and writing outputs including service articles and histories. His first full-length scholarly book, America’s Weather Warriors, 1814-1985, co-authored with Charles C. Bates, was published in 1986 through Texas A&M University Press. While this was itself a groundbreaking history of the role of weather (and meteorology) in modern warfare, John was hard at work completing his own masterpiece, Thor’s Legions: Weather Support to the U.S. Air Force and Army, 1937-1987, which was finally completed and published in 1990. This remains a definitive in-depth history, with its own insights into the D-Day invasion and U.S. operations during Korea and the Vietnam War, for example. Thor’s Legions also boldly described the inner workings of the Air Force throughout the Cold War. John learned this proved to be highly sensitive material. His work was not printed without opposition from senior officials.

In 1988 he took his retirement-moving to Kailua, Hawaii, his ideal locale for the next 24 years. There he taught history classes part-time for Central Texas College and Hawaii Pacific University while completing his memoirs. He will be forever remembered by his family, friends and colleagues as a strong yet compassionate man who loved life and always helped others first; a brilliant historian; good citizen and fine airman; a faithful friend and an excellent father.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 in Pollock-Randall Funeral Home with visitation beginning at 10 a.m.

Burial will be in Rich Township Cemetery, Mayville.

Memorial contributions may be made to Blue Water Hospice or The Salvation Army.

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