How One Man Makes a Difference: The Estate Gift of Larry Fullerton
A donor of ordinary means can make an extraordinary difference through planned giving. This month, UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation is sharing the inspiring story of Mr. Larry Fullerton, a thoughtful and generous donor who has done just that.
Mr. Larry Fullerton of Big Run, PA, passed away on Thursday, March 4, 2021, at age 79. In his estate, Mr. Fullerton made a transformational gift to UPMC Children’s Child Advocacy Center, a program that provides compassionate care to children who have survived abuse and neglect. In addition to supporting our talented Child Advocacy team in this important work, Mr. Fullerton’s incredibly generous estate gift exemplifies how everyday people can have a profound impact on the lives of children and adolescents at UPMC Children’s.
Mr. Fullerton came from humble beginnings in Punxsutawney, PA. Those who knew him best knew him by his kindness, tenacity, humor, and adventurous spirit. He showed strength in the face of adversity as a child when he contracted polio — the life event that connected him with UPMC Children’s. His father was a coal miner of modest means and feared the family could not afford the necessary treatment. But young Larry was brought to our hospital, where he received the medical care and support he needed to make a full recovery. He went on to play football at Punxsutawney High School, graduating with the class of 1959.
After further education at DeVry Technical Institute, Mr. Fullerton worked at Bell Telephone, eventually leaving that position to answer an inner call to adventure. He traveled to Canada and boarded a cattle boat bound for Portugal, where he worked picking apples to save enough money to traverse Europe. He found work as a civilian contractor for the US Air Force in Germany and in England. In London, he met and married the love of his life, actress Shiranee Josephine.
Shiranee’s acting dreams brought the couple back to the United States, and Mr. Fullerton led a relatively normal life in California. He found success as a computer programmer at Worlds of Wonder Toy Company and Columbia Records, and eventually Union Bank of California, where he would retire. Mourning the loss of his wife to a fatal illness in 1978, Mr. Fullerton came home to Pennsylvania and settled in Big Run, a town full of family memories. There, he contributed wholeheartedly to the local community through his involvement with the Methodist church and the Big Run Historical Society, and he remained close friends with many of his former school mates.
A Little Planning Goes a Long Way
Mr. Fullerton’s closest relatives describe him as a man who was always thinking, always planning. At his home in Big Run, he even kept a drawer filled with greeting cards and gifts for all occasions — birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and more — so that at a moment’s notice, he could have a card and a gift ready for anyone in his life. He put this very same deliberation into his legacy planning, ensuring that even when he passed on, he would have a lasting, positive impact on the lives of others — specifically, children receiving care at the same hospital where he recovered from his childhood illness.
All of us at the Foundation extend our deepest gratitude to Mr. Fullerton, his family, and all those who helped to establish his legacy of generosity. We also extend our gratitude to all our planned giving donors, who approach their philanthropy with the same thoughtfulness and compassion as Mr. Fullerton.
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