LeRoy “Lee” William Fultz entered the world on October 9, 1931, the seventh of eight children born to Eleanor Wright and Lehman Riley Fultz in Evergreen, Wisconsin. Lehman found work as a logger in Washington and moved the family to the Seattle area when LeRoy was young. Tragically, Lehman was killed in an industrial accident when LeRoy was a teenager, falling from a smokestack while cleaning the scrubber.
LeRoy felt fortunate to be next to youngest in the family because the order for bath night went youngest to oldest and there was no changing of the water between bathers! He has fond memories of lazy summer afternoons at the swimming hole near Kent with his siblings: Doris Marie Persinger, David Leslie, Violet “Vi” Elizabeth Kirk, Charles “Chuck” Edward, Kathleen “Kay” Pearl O’Keefe, Verna Pauline Kartak, and Virgil Allen, all of whom have pre-deceased him. LeRoy graduated from Renton High School where he earned the nickname “Slick” because of his greased-back hair. He pitched left-handed (despite being right-handed in everything else) on the Redhawks baseball team, and was also the team’s manager.
At the age of 19, LeRoy joined the U.S. Navy, serving tours of duty in the Korean War, Cuban Bay of Pigs Invasion, and Vietnam War. He visited every continent during his service to our nation, and said his favorite ship was the icebreaker, U.S.S. Glacier, which he helped keep in operation during two Antarctic tours. Ironically, LeRoy was a sailor who didn’t much care for water. He learned to swim when forced into the pool at boot camp.
When he was 26 years old, through the influence of his sister, Verna, and her husband, Dick, LeRoy joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If it hadn’t been for his membership in the Church, he never would have met Rebecca Marjorie Sperry of Salt Lake City. After a year of daily letter writing, they were married June 29, 1962, in the Salt Lake Temple. Anxious to begin their family, and apparently unable to conceive on their own, LeRoy and Rebecca adopted Kenneth David in 1964. Miraculously, the floodgates opened after Ken made the couple a family, and five more children followed: Steven Richard, Melanie Kathrine, Mark William, Alison Marie, and Rebecca Suzanne, each born in a different city – or car (in Ali’s case!).
LeRoy was a devoted father and leaves especially precious memories of bedtimes. Before beginning his tour of duty in Vietnam, he made a recording of lullabies for Melanie to listen to as she drifted off to sleep, including “Edelweiss,” “In Switzerland,” and “Froggy Went a Courtin’.” LeRoy’s family often teased him for his seemingly ever-growing ears. But their abundant size allowed Becky to soothe herself by rubbing one of his earlobes while they sat together on the couch. Though he detested camping, LeRoy splurged on a camper trailer so he could suffer through the family’s numerous excursions with the Sperry clan. Rebecca was famous for bestowing pet names on family members, and her favorite for LeRoy was “Tinks.”
The family settled in Bountiful, Utah, shortly before LeRoy retired from his military service as a Chief Petty Officer in 1971. He took night classes at the University of Utah, earning his degree in sociology with a specialization in gerontology in 1981. During the day, LeRoy supported his large family by working in plant operations at St. Mark’s Hospital, retiring in 1998. To economize, he rode the bus to work every day, his boys joining him in the summers of their teenage years. He paid for a trip to Hawaii for him and Rebecca by collecting aluminum cans during his morning walks. The family made monthly trips to the commissary at Hill AFB and his telephone battles over insurance claims with Champus were legendary! He could also get a bit intense when balancing the checkbook, but other than yelling at the television while watching the Seattle Seahawks or Utah Ute’s football teams, LeRoy was a man of few words. However, his children never doubted his love for them. He kept his family together despite their numerous challenges – the greatest of which was losing Rebecca to breast cancer in 1995 – because of his unwavering faith and determination. LeRoy lived close to the Spirit and was directed by God his entire life.
LeRoy married Jeanette Hammer Peterson on June 6, 1998, and they were sealed in the Ogden Temple on August 21, 1999. He lost her to a stroke just a year later on August 13, 2000. LeRoy then met YaVone Saunders and they married August 24, 2002, settling in Centerville, Utah. YaVone has been by his side during the past two decades, taking special enjoyment in their eleven years together as ordinance workers at the Bountiful Temple. LeRoy loved YaVone and her children. Together they traveled uncounted miles supporting family members in marking significant milestones of graduations, dance recitals, baby blessings, weddings, and baptisms. We treasure the memories of you being present in our lives.
For the past four years, LeRoy has received exceptional care as a resident of the William E. Christoffersen Veterans Home in Salt Lake City. His family expresses their appreciation to the dedicated staff there, especially those working in the Hall of Heroes. At the age of 91 and surrounded by loved ones, LeRoy Fultz concluded his mortal life of service and crossed the veil into true freedom the evening of Friday, January 27, 2023. LeRoy dedicated himself fully to everything he did, including obeying the wishes of his sister, Kay, born four years to the day before him: “Lee, don’t you dare die first and leave me here alone!” Kay departed this life four weeks before her brother. LeRoy was also preceded in death by numerous immediate and extended family members, including son-in-law Brad Johansen, who eagerly welcomed him back to his heavenly home.
LeRoy delighted in every addition to his family, which includes the spouses of his children: Darlene Talbot (Ken), Jami Foote (Steve), Brad Johansen (Melanie), Kay Palmer (Mark), Robert Kohutek (Ali), and Andy Browning (Becky); as well as 33 grandchildren and their spouses: Jordan (Katie), Taylor (Rob), Hayden, Makenzie, Reilly, and Emory Fultz; Walker (Chloey) and Morgan Fultz; Jason (Jennifer) Johansen, Mariah (Martín) Tinoco, Alex (Brooke), and Abby Johansen, Shaleece (Skyler) Farley, Kolton, and Kyley Thompson; Carly and Kaleb Fultz; Chandler, Cameron, and Macey Kohutek; Ashton (Hollis), Gracie, and Emma Browning, Jayden, and Cambree LeBaron; but most especially his ten cherished great-grandchildren: Lincoln and Elliot Fultz; Serena, Jericho, and Jasper Tinoco; Easton and Lane Farley; and Brookie, Annie, and Beckham Thompson. LeRoy will also be mourned by his extended family which include step-children, in-laws, nieces, nephews, and mostly-tolerated fur-babies.
A special memory we will cherish is Santa asking LeRoy what he wanted for Christmas and LeRoy responding, “I have everything my heart desires.” Thank you, Dad, for the Fultz legacy we will continue to honor throughout our lives.
Please join us in a celebration of LeRoy’s life and legacy at any or all of the following events:
• An evening viewing will be held from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Thursday, February 2, 2023, at Russon Mortuary, 295 North Main Street, Bountiful, Utah.
• A short morning viewing will be held from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Friday, February 3, 2023, at the Brookhurst Ward, 1298 North 400 West, Centerville, Utah, prior to funeral services.
• Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, February 3, 2023, at the Brookhurst Ward.
• Dedication of the grave will take place at the Salt Lake City Cemetery, located at approximately 370 North 1040 East, immediately following the funeral services. Please ask a mortuary official for a map of the cemetery, if you are not familiar with the layout.