Vestal Gray Fulp, age 92, slipped the surly bonds of this earth to soar up to the carefree skies and dance among the silvered-line clouds high above these earthly bonds. Once again, he’ll weave amid the dappled sun-drenched sky. Now he is free to dance on the winds to be one with the splendor of the aviator’s dream: peace and oneness with the sanctity of space. He made his final flight on March 23, 2019, at 9:50 AM. Today, he is ascending on his ultimate journey home, barrel rolling through the Gates of Heavento shake the hand of God. A graveside service will be at 1 PM, Wednesday, March 27 at Crews Methodist Church, 4150 Reidsville Road, Winston-Salem, NC.
Ves was born at home in Winston-Salem, NC on February 10, 1927, the 7th of 8 children born to Samuel Otto (a recorded, direct descendent of the American Revolutionary War: Patriot Side) and Viola Turner Fulp. He graduated from Walkertown High School in 1944. After graduation, he volunteered for the Navy to serve his country during WWII where he served in the Pacific front. After the war, he attended and graduated from NC State in 1951, with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. In his last year at NC State he earned his tuition as a photographer for the Raleigh Herald. In his last semester in college, he married Ruth Ann Edwards. He then joined Western Electric/AT&T. He worked as a field missile engineer during the Cold War on Nike Missile Systems, the Safe Guard Missile System, and NATO projects until his retirement in 1988. Ves’ career took him and his family all over the world. His first lifelong love was flying. He thrived on challenges, risk and learning. He enjoyed photography, scuba diving, boating, travel, family reunions, computers, genealogy, and tinkering in his very well-equipped garage. Vestal enjoyed and shared his very long, exciting and spirited life with his family and friends.
In the late 1980’s, Dad’s dream began to take shape. He ordered and built one of Burt Rutan’s homebuilt aircraft with his closest friend & pilot: Model 54 Quickieairplane. It was a single-seater, low-powered, highly efficient kit-plane. It was a tail-dragger aircraft of composite construction, configured with tandem wings, the forward wing has full-span control surfaces and is similar to a canard wing, but is considerably larger. The aircraft has unusual landing gear, with the main wheels located at the tips of the forward wing. Its original 4-stroke engine was able to procure a 70 lb (32 kg) engine that delivered 18 hp (14 kW) at 3,600 rpm. The Quickie is constructed of fiberglass and resin over a foam core. The wings were foam blanks cut to shape with a hot wire before covering, and the fuselage was made of 1 inch-thick (25.4 mm) foam slabs. The absence of separate landing gear helped to reduce both weight and drag, which allowed a smaller engine and a smaller fuel tank. Even though the propeller is of small diameter, propeller clearance remains limited and the Quickie is rather vulnerable to ground strikes. The plane’s specs were: length = 17′ 4″; wingspan = 16′ 8″; height = 4’5″; with a maximum speed of: 126 mph.
Dad’s dream was fulfilled when their plane received FAA approval. They took turns flying it everywhere the 1 gallon of fuel permitted. Later, they redesigned and modified the engine, propeller & body design to add more horsepower. Again, the plane passed FAA inspection. He loved his plane. They spent more hours honing & modifying it, than actually flying the plane. These were some of the happiest years of Ves’ life. He was an outstanding pilot.
He was an extraordinarily generous man who loved to share with his family and the numerous people who adopted him as their father and grandfather. He led a wonderful and remarkable life jam-packed with adventure, exploration, pushing limits, joy, and love. Vestal loved all the wonderments he found in life. Dad loved to subtly share his experience and knowledge with those who shared his interest. He sprinkled his stories with humor and a few sea stories; his eyes twinkled. Everything he gave to others will forever live on in those he shared his wisdom with. We cannot imagine a better husband, father or friend than Vestal Fulp. He was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend.
He is survived by his wife, Ruth, of 68 years; daughters, Tara and Chanteyl, sons-in-law, Joel Covey and David Woleslagle; and grandchildren, Jason and Justin. He is preceded in death by all his siblings, Wilson Fulp, Wallace Fulp, Virginia Fulp Reid, Minerva Fulp Shutt, Bill Fulp, Edna Fulp Pike, and his youngest sister, Betty Fulp Brooks.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials be made to the charity of one’s choice.
On line condolences may be offered at www.haneslineberryfuneralhomes.com. Hanes-Lineberry N. Elm chapel is assisting the Fulp Family.