Monday, May 25, 2015

Boine Wilmer Fuller (1904-1983)

Portrait from the Lodi News-Sentinel, April 13, 1954.

    Popularly known by the nickname "Spud", Boine Wilmer Fuller was for over five decades a well-known businessman and public figure in the city of Lodi, California, serving as the Mayor of that city for one term in the early 1950s. A native of Tombstone, Arizona, "Spud" Fuller was born on April 17, 1904, being the son of  Henry W. and Jennie E. Fuller. His early education took place in the state of his birth and he would later graduate from the high school at Globe, Arizona in 1921. 
   In 1921 "Spud" Fuller left Arizona and removed to California, first settling in Marysville. He remained here for nearly a decade and in 1931 resettled in Lodi, where he would take work as a manager of a Western Auto Supply store. Prior to his removal to Lodi Fuller had married in Yuba City to Mattie Belle Reamy (1898-1953), later having a daughter, Joyce Elaine, in 1929. After settling in Lodi Boine and Mattie would become parents to the first set of triplets to be born in the city of Lodi (Boine Raymond, Boyd Edwards and Barrie Chalmer), their births occurring on Christmas Eve 1936. 
    In the early 1930s Fuller and E.J. Crescenzi established a sporting and auto accessories store in Lodi, operating under the name of Fuller and Crescenzi. Their partnership would continue until 1944, when it was dissolved and the company underwent a name change to Fuller and Sons, with Fuller as its "sole owner". In 1945 he was elected as President of the Central Valley Sportsman's Council and in the following year began a lengthy connection with Junior League baseball in Lodi, helping to found the Lodi Junior Baseball League. Fuller had earlier helped to establish a youth basketball club in Lodi in 1940, and his devotion to the promotion of youth sport in Lodi later led to his being inducted into the Lodi Sports Hall Fame in 1977.

A cartoon of "Spud" Fuller, printed in the Sept. 16, 1954 edition of the Lodi News Sentinel.

    Spud Fuller first entered Lodi city politics in March 1954 when he announced his candidacy for the city council. He would win election to that body on April 20, 1954 and shortly after being sworn in was "unanimously selected" as Mayor of Lodi by his fellow city council members, as the Lodi city charter provided that the mayor would "serve in that capacity as long  as a majority of the city council members vote him into office." The Lodi News-Sentinel reported in its April 21st edition that Fuller was entering the office with "mixed emotions", with Fuller stating that:
"I feel great pride, humility and fear in accepting this position.....In fact, I'm scared. Never has the Lodi City Council been faced with such problems as confronts this council."
Boine W."Spud" Fuller with outgoing Lodi Mayor Mabel Richey in 1954.

  Fuller succeeded Lodi's first female mayor, Mabel Richey (1903-1999), who had served two terms in office. Fuller's term extended into 1955 and during his year in office was a prominent booster for the Heart Fund, a health campaign started by the San Joaquin County Heart Association. Fuller would continue to serve on the city council after his term as mayor concluded, his last year of service on the council being in 1958. Widowed in 1953, Fuller would remarry in August 1963 to Lydia Herman (1911-1995), who would survive him upon his death at age 79 on May 26, 1983.  He was later interred at the Lodi Memorial Cemetery, also the resting place of both his wives as well as his infant son Boyd.

Portrait from the Lodi News Sentinel, May 27, 1983

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