Pastors' Memoirs

Floyd L. Fulk, 1911-1988

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Born at Cootes Store in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, November 15, 1911, Floyd L. Fulk would become one of the most influential leaders of the former United Brethren in Christ Church, the Evangelical United Brethren Church, and the United Methodist Church. After receiving his early education in Broadway, Virginia, Floyd attended Shenandoah College and Conservatory, Madison College (now James Madison University), receiving his B.A. degree from Bridgewater College and his B.D. degree from Bonebrake Seminary (United Theological Seminary) in Dayton, Ohio. Later, he would receive a Doctorate of Divinity degree from Lebanon Valley College, Annville, Pennsylvania.

Ordained an elder in 1937, Floyd Fulk served pastorates in Dayton and Elkton, was elected to the office of superintendent in 1946 serving the Evangelical United Brethren Church in this capacity until 1970, and continuing under appointment as district superintendent in the United Methodist Church until 1973. Records indicate that his 27 years of service in the church as a district superintendent are the longest for any servant in the church. It was during these years as a district superintendent that he led the church through two mergers: the merger of the United Brethren in Christ and the Evangelical into the Evangelical United Brethren Church in 1948; followed by the merger of the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church into the United Methodist Church in 1968, although the final steps of this merger did not take place until 1969. The integrity and smoothness with which these mergers took place were in no small way due to the quality of Floyd's leadership for the Virginia conference. Records also indicate that during the 23 years of his leadership as district superintendent in the Evangelical United Brethren Church of the Virginia conference, more growth in physical plants, parsonages, and membership occurred than any other period of history, while salaries for ministers serving with him reached new heights. It was during these years of Floyd's leadership that Camp Overlook was developed and the move of Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music from Day- ton, Virginia to Winchester, Virginia was realized.

Recognized as a man of keen wit and deep intellect, Dr. Fulk was in demand as a guest speaker throughout the churches of the conference as well as many civic organizations. His energy and leadership quality were not only evident in the church he loved both in civic organizations where he served as a District Governor for the Lions International and as a member of the Elkton Masonic Lodge.

Memorial services for Dr. Floyd L. Fulk were conducted in the Sunset Drive United Methodist Church of Broadway, August 18, 1988. He is survived by his wife, Marie Olinger Fulk, whom he married May 14, 1938; two sons, George N. Fulk and Robert G. Fulk, a daughter, Joyce F. Bedell; and four grandchildren.

It would be impossible to fully determine the influence of this servant of God upon the church and countless numbers of lives scattered throughout the world. For, through his ministry in the churches of the conference, his membership on many of the major boards and agencies of the conference and denomination, Floyd's contribution was a determining factor in the progress achieved. Those who knew him, clergy and laity alike, and had the privilege of serving with him, knew that there was a man who, from humble beginnings, became one of Christ's most devoted servants.

Undoubtedly, this devotion came from places Floyd could look to the beauty and grandeur of the mountains that cast their shadows over the Valley of the Shenandoah where he could attune himself to the feelings of the Psalmist: "I will look unto the hills. From whence cometh my help? My help cometh from the Lord who made the heavens and the earth."

-Thomas L Coffman



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Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

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