Robert Scott FullerAthens, AL, 1936 - 2019
Robert Scott Fuller, 83, passed away, peacefully and comfortably, on September 13, 2019. Known by family and friends as "Bobby Scott", until college, he was born February 14, 1936, in Searcy, Ark., to Lillian Faye and William Pope Fuller. He is preceded in death by his parents and infant twin siblings; survived by his wife, Anita Hart Fuller; son, Christopher Scott, wife Tina Fuller, of Athens, Ala.; Karen Harrison Fuller of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; grandchildren, Madison Fuller Turner, husband Jonathan, of Fayetteville, Ark., Kennedy Blaise Keasler of Fayetteville, Ark., Harrison Quinn Keasler of Lenexa, Kan., Zac Morgan of U.S. Army, Rheanna Morgan of Fayetteville, Ark.; brother, Bill, wife Cheryl Fuller, of Cordova, Tenn.; and sister, Ruth Ann Fuller of Searcy, Ark. Bob was a graduate of the Searcy High School class of 1954, and Hendrix College class of 1958. He received a Master's Degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and while there, attended The Julliard School of Music. At Juilliard, Bob studied under Israeli-born composer Abraham Kaplan, served as Assistant Director of The Collegiate Chorale, and often performed in the Chorale at Carnegie Hall with the The New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein, conductor. Fuller was an accomplished pianist and choral director, and chose to leave New York to return to Arkansas, to teach choral music at Jonesboro High School for 14 years. He also served as Choir Director for First United Methodist Church, and First Baptist Church. After teaching summer courses at Southern Illinois University, Fuller accepted the job of Choral Director at Oak Park and River Forest High School, in Oak Park, Illinois. He was later named the Director of the Fine Arts Department at OPRF, where he remained until his retirement. During that time, Bob founded "The Heritage Chorale", a community choir for adults, which continues today. Bob is a past president of The Arkansas Choral Director's Association and the Illinois Choral Director's Association. He and Anita also took his choirs from Jonesboro, and Oak Park, on tour to perform in Europe every two years. Each tour always included a performance in Vienna, Austria, his favorite city. He and Anita would return to Vienna on their own, as often as possible. Bob was gifted in many ways, that belied his physical handicap, walking with crutches, after contracting polio in 1951, as a 10th grade student. Throughout his life, he was an avid gardener, fisherman, and carpenter. Fuller's knowledge of music drew increasing numbers of students to his classes. But his playful sense of humor, and kindness toward students of all abilities, touched them even more. In that spirit, former students honored Bob by arranging a reunion performance in Oak Park and Jonesboro. The Oak Park reunion was called "Fuller Fest". Former students traveled from across the United States to practice all day, then perform a benefit concert for the community. No one wished to see the long weekend come to an end. Full of music, memories, and misty eyes, it was a wonderful tribute to their dearly loved teacher and mentor. A scholarship has since been established in his name. Sadly, Bob suffered from dementia in later years, but the Fuller-Fest poster remains on the wall in his home today. For anyone wishing to leave a memorial, Bob would be proud to have the scholarship considered. It is the OPRFHS Alumni Association - Robert Fuller Opus Scholarship Fund. Donations can be sent to the Oak Park and River Forest High School Alumni Association, 201 North Scoville, Oak Park, Illinois 60302. A private family celebration of life will be held at a later date. Spry Funeral Home in Athens, Ala., assisted family.
Published September 17, 2019