Roice R. Fulleton, 101, of Heppner, died on Thursday, December 6, 2018 at his home. A memorial gathering with military honors will be held on Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at the Heppner Elks Club.
Roice Roland Fulleton was born on December 3, 1917, to Edith (Roberts) and Frank Fulleton of McGrew, Nebraska. Roice attended primary grades and high school in McGrew, but as with all farm families of the time, spent many hours of his youth, training horses, caring for animals, and cultivating crops. The Fulleton family raised sugar beets, corn, cattle and hogs until the impact of the Dust Bowl prompted their relocation to Oregon.
In 1936, at the age of 18 years, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served at several different naval air stations and on the U.S.S. Overton destroyer on neutrality patrol near Panama, and later on the U.S.S. Pennsylvania. While stationed at Long Beach, California, he was introduced to and began courting his shipmate Woody’s sister, Betty Jean Predmore. Roice and Betty married in Chadron, Nebraska in 1941.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the U.S. entry into World War II, Roice re-enlisted in the Navy in 1942, as an aircraft mechanic and supervisor. He was assigned to the Pasco Air Station for one year and then was Seattle-based, serving at Attu, Alaska from 1943-45. During this time, Roice prepared and installed weapons on bombers and also repaired the damaged bombers upon their return. Roice recalled many details of his time spent on the Aleutian Islands during the war and had many, many stories of his over-seven years of military service prior to and during World War II.
After Roice was honorably discharged, he and Betty moved to Vale, Oregon near Roice’s parents where he became a partner in an auto repair and Chevrolet business. During this time, a daughter Diana was born in 1946, with Ruby following in 1950.
In 1952, Roice and Betty purchased the Chevrolet dealership and the family moved to Heppner. Their daughter Rebecca was born in 1953. With Roice selling cars and Betty managing the business accounting, Fulleton Chevrolet earned national sales awards that took them to the Bahamas and Singapore for recognition.
The Fulletons later purchased acreage in Shobe Canyon to farm, raise registered quarter horses and where roping continued into a life-long hobby. In 1956, Roice won on the Morrow County rodeo amateur calf roping saddle. He spent countless hours roping with friends and taught many youth in the area to ride horses and rope cattle. In retirement, he continued to participate in team roping competing in the western states and Canada, and later in life traveled to Arizona during winter seasons to live and rope steers until he was over 80 years of age, winning a National Senior Pro Rodeo team roping award in 1988. Roice was a member of the Wranglers Riding Club, Fraternal Order of Eagles member and lifetime member of Heppner B.P.O.E. #358.
Roice was preceded in death by Betty Fulleton and his daughter Ruby Veatch. He is survived by daughters Diana Ball (Archie) and Rebecca Cannon (Dave) of Heppner, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. The family would like to request in lieu of flowers you consider a remembrance to Willow Creek Terrace Assisted Living, 400 Frank Gilliam Drive, Heppner, Oregon 97836, which provided very compassionate and loving care to Roice.
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Willow Creek Terrace Assisted Living
400 Frank Gilliam Drive, Heppner ON 97836