Robert Scott Fuller, 83, died peacefully and comfortably on Sept. 13, 2019. Known by family and friends as "Bobby Scott" until college, he was born on Feb. 14, 1936 in Searcy, Arkansas to Lillian Faye and William Pope Fuller. A graduate of the Searcy High School class of 1954 and Hendrix College class of 1958, he earned an M.A. degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City and, while there, attended the Julliard School of Music. At Juilliard, he 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 New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein, conductor.
An accomplished pianist and choral director, he chose to leave New York and 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. He was later named director of the Fine Arts Department at OPRF, where he remained until his retirement. During that time, he founded the Heritage Chorale, a community choir for adults, which continues today.
A past-president of the Arkansas Choral Directors Association and the Illinois Choral Directors Association, Bob and his wife took his choirs from Jonesboro and OPRF on tour to perform in Europe every two years. Each tour always included a performance in Vienna, Austria, his favorite city. The couple would return to Vienna on their own, as often as possible.
He 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. His 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 a loved teacher and mentor. A scholarship has since been established in his name.
Bob Fuller is survived by his wife, Anita Hart Fuller; his children, Christopher Scott (Tina Fuller) and Karen Harrison Fuller; his grandchildren, Madison Fuller Turner (Jonathan), Kennedy Blaise Keasler, Harrison Quinn Keasler, Zac Morgan, and Rheanna Morgan; and his brother, Bill (Cheryl) Fuller and sister, Ruth Ann Fuller. He was preceded in death by his parents and infant twin siblings.
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, please send it to the OPRFHS Alumni Association - Robert Fuller Opus Scholarship Fund. Donations may be sent to the Oak Park and River Forest High School Alumni Association, 201 N. Scoville, Oak Park, Illinois 60302.
A private family celebration of life will be held later.
Answer Book 2019
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.
Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.
|Submit Letter To The Editor|
|Place a Classified Ad|