Doyle Halford Fulton, was born near Lena, Mississippi, on April 17, 1929, to Edna and Hal Halford. She died on Sunday, January 27, 2019, at a skilled nursing facility in Austin, Texas.
Visitation is February 6, at 11 a.m. at Wilcox Funeral Home with a memorial service following at 2 p.m.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother Hal; her sister Exa Halford Sartin; her husband, Carl H. Fulton; and her son, Carl H. Fulton, Jr.
Survivors include her son Hal Edwin Fulton, of Austin, Texas, as well as two granddaughters, Tara Fulton Butzlaff of Hattiesburg, Mississippi and Rebecca Fulton Williamson of Carthage, Mississippi; and one great-granddaughter, Alyssa Williamson of Carthage, Mississippi.
As a young child, Doyle remembered sitting on the knee of a Mississippi senator during his visits with her father. She also sang on the radio (station WJDX) and played violin at local events.
She attended Mississippi College and majored in English. During her freshman year writing a term paper on William Faulkner, she had the idea to call him from a pay phone. Much to her surprise, Faulkner’s wife answered and handed the phone to her husband who graciously gave her a phone interview. More than 20 years later, this earned her a few paragraphs in Blotner’s definitive biography of Faulkner.
One night she was sitting with a group at a basketball game. One of the boys said, “Well, I think I’ll go to a movie,” and in response she said, “Ask me to go, and I’ll go with you.” He shrugged and said, “You can go if you want to.” They never suspected at the time that they would end up celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary.
Doyle was a devoted wife, proud of her husband, Carl, who was a pilot in World War II and the Korean War. He also flew as part of a “sky parade” at Harry Truman’s inauguration. His Air Force career took them to Albany, Georgia, where Doyle had one of her favorite jobs ever: writing ad copy at radio station WGPC. Also working at the station was an office boy who later took a stage name and became country singer Ray Stevens; they renewed their friendship in the 1970s and remained friends for many years. It was also at the radio station that she wrote the slogan “You can be sure if it’s Westinghouse” for the popular appliance manufacturer. A company representative heard it on the radio and bought the rights for $100. She framed the letter, and the slogan was used nationally for more than 25 years.
Always loving to learn, Doyle returned to school in the 1960s and earned her master’s degree in library science from Mississippi State University. She taught English or served as librarian in many towns including Thomastown, Good Hope, Carthage, Forest, Kosciusko, Madden, and Columbus. She told her students, “A term paper should be like a girl’s skirt: short enough to be interesting, but long enough to cover the subject."
Doyle had an uncanny knack for being in the right place at the right time. When a congressman was speaking at her school, the principal asked her to accompany him to lunch. As a result, she and G. V. “Sonny” Montgomery became close friends and remained so until his death more than forty years later. Doyle never met a stranger and while taking her students to a play in Jackson, she recognized Eudora Welty and stopped to speak to her and introduce her students to her.
Her friends included two governors’ wives, authors Jesse Stuart and Barry Hannah, children’s author Lena de Grummond, and many others from all walks of life. Doyle loved dogs, flea markets, and collecting clocks. She and her husband logged many miles on their ’69 Harley with her in the sidecar. God, family, books and music were important to her, and she couldn’t go more than an hour without listening to the news. She never hesitated to express her opinion by writing a letter or a sarcastic poem to local newspapers, and occasionally they were brave enough to print them.
Doyle specifically requested that in lieu of flowers, friends should do something nice for someone else. She made life interesting and fun for those around her, and she will be sorely missed.