Ken Pullen, 91, loved nothing more than his family, his garden, a bushel of crabs, a great Padron cigar and a bottle of Beck’s beer. And he enjoyed them up until his final days, luxuriating in the company of family and friends in his garden. Ken died of kidney cancer on Monday, October 9,2017 surrounded by those he loved and who loved him.
Kenneth Richard Pullen, a native of Downers Grove, Illinois, moved to Ferry Farm subdivision across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg in 1955, his home for the rest of his life. His career and life in Fredericksburg during the past half century were the subject of a July, 2015 front-page story in The Free Lance-Star.
In 1944 he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was a tail gunner on a B-24 bomber. He was scheduled to deploy to the Pacific Theater in 1945 when the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan, ending the war. He was then sent to Erding, Germany as part of the occupying forces. In 1999, 53 years after his tour of duty ended, he returned with his son to show him the city, pointing out the airfield, the officers’ club and a large arch over the main street—one of the few structures among the piles of rubble left standing immediately after the war.
After the war, Ken followed his parents, who had moved from Illinois to Spotsylvania County. Virginia’s lush greenery reminded the couple of Essex, England, where they had grown up.
Ken was one of a handful of veterans admitted under the GI Bill to attend Mary Washington College. At the time, it was a women’s college. His picture is on the wall of the college Alumni Center as part of the first male class. After his freshman year, he transferred to the Walton School of Commerce in Chicago where he earned a degree in accounting.
Upon graduation, he returned to Fredericksburg and in 1950 married Winifred “Winnie” Gordon, whom he met in the accounting department at the Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. They were married for 51 years and had two children, Judy and Rick.
He was an active member of Trinity Church on College Avenue where he served as treasurer, on the vestry, and was both junior and senior warden. He was a devout Christian and until recently read the Bible every evening. He was also active in the Fredericksburg Kiwanis Club in the 1960s and ’70s, a member of Fredericksburg Masonic Lodge No. 4, George Washington’s Mother Lodge, and a Shriner. For several years in the 1960s he volunteered as director of the United Givers Fund—the precursor to today’s Rappahannock United Way.
When he was starting his accounting career in Fredericksburg, he worked at Rosser Massey Ford on U.S Route 1, then Carl D. Silver Automotive on Princess Anne Street and finally at Fredericksburg Pipe & Supply on Lafayette Blvd. He started his own accounting firm in 1963 at 1103 Princess Anne Street—one of two accounting firms in the city at the time.
He sold his firm in 1977 and retired. Five years later he went back into business part time, specializing in estate taxes before retiring for good in 1987.
Beginning in 1976, he spent his winters in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. He loved the beach, traveling and sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. He claimed to have seen the famed Green Flash at sunset over the ocean more than once. Many were skeptical until his son saw it for the first time earlier this year.
After Winnie’s death in 2002, he married Doris Calhoun, who survives him. Together, Doris and Ken traveled throughout Europe. They spent their winters in Fort Myers Beach and summers in their backyard gazebo.
At home, he loved to tend his yard, flowers and vegetable garden. He enjoyed golf with Doris and his friend Bobby McNutt. He loved eating crabs, shrimp and oysters at Captain Billy’s in Popes Creek with his late brother-in-law James Howell Gordon Jr.; and drinking a beer in his gazebo with his friend J. D. Sinn.
Ken is also survived by his daughter Judy Cover (Butch), son Rick Pullen (Cherie) and his four stepdaughters; Elena Calhoun of Charlottesville, Melissa Wright (Jeff), Karen Dillard (Larry) and Brooke Tubbs (Larry).
His four grandchildren, Julie Dymon (Brian), Lisa Cover-Tucci (Michael), Jill Howard (Andrew) of Burbank, Calif. and Kelsey Laye (Andrew) of North Chesterfield survive him along with seven step grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and five great step grandchildren.
His brother William T. Pullen (Jane) of Spotsylvania, nine nieces and nephews, and several cousins also survive him. He was predeceased by his brother Robert Pullen and sister-in-law Velma, of Winchester; and his parents, Hilda Mary and Leonard Steven Pullen, former owners of Walnut Hill Farm in Spotsylvania.
A celebration of his wonderful life will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church at 10 a.m. Saturday, October 14. Interment will immediately follow at Oak Hill Cemetery. Visitation will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, October 13 at Covenant Funeral Service.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to Trinity Episcopal Church, 825 College Ave., Fredericksburg, Va. 22401. Online guestbook available at covenantfuneralservice.com.
Ken’s maxim was “the impossible takes just a little bit longer,” a legacy he left with his family and friends.
Covenant Funeral Service, Fredericksburg
Friday October 13th, 2017
7:00pm - 9:00pm
4801 Jefferson Davis Hwy.
Fredericksburg, VA 22408
Oak Hill Cemetery
Saturday October 14th, 2017
1902 Plank Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Trinity Epsicopal Church
Saturday October 14th, 2017
825 College Ave.
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
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Our hearts ache for all of you. We loved Grandpa Pullen so much and he opened his family and his heart to us the minute we met him. He treated us as if we were his own. One of my most favorite memories is him at the beach house Xmas 2002 along with so many more...he had the best smile of anyone. And the pride he took in his family was incredible. Love you all and thank you for sharing Grandpa with us for so many years. So grateful and blessed to be a part of his life.
Submitted by Susan, Abby and Colby Burnell on Oct 14 2017 12:37:53 PM
Ken was a such a nice and friendly man. I enjoyed the times that Lydia and I got together with Ken and Doris. Had some nice crabs at Capt Billy's too. I will miss him dearly.
Submitted by Joseph Boucher on Oct 14 2017 09:23:04 AM
Ken was a truly wonderful man. My life is better because I knew him. Blessings to the family as they grieve.
Submitted by Dan McCauley on Oct 13 2017 07:25:34 PM
Judy and Family,
Thinking of you and sending prayers.
Mary Eva and Todd
Submitted by Mary Repass on Oct 13 2017 06:19:04 AM
James Carneal lit a candle for Kenneth Richard Pullen
James Carneal lit a candle on Oct 12 2017 07:25:52 PM
Rick and Judy~What a life of service to his country, his family and his community! His legacy lives on in you both, especially in your skills and talents you so generously share with us in the Fredericksburg Area just as your father so richly shared, God bless you and your families as you carry on in his tradition of service with your own imprimatur.
Submitted by Becky Butler Guy on Oct 12 2017 06:04:56 PM
Fay Carneal lit a candle for Kenneth Richard Pullen
Fay Carneal lit a candle on Oct 12 2017 02:42:05 PM
May the God of comfort Jehovah give you
peace and comfort now. Revelation 21:3-5
Wayne & Joan Ball
Submitted by Joan Ball on Oct 12 2017 11:56:45 AM
May God be with your family in this time of sorrow. You served my company well and provided me excellent advice. RIP Ken.
Submitted by Donald Craig on Oct 12 2017 07:48:03 AM
Judy and Rick,
My condolences on the loss of your bigger than life father. It sounds like he enjoyed many of the simple, yet wonderful, pleasures of life. I have never read a more well-written and beautiful obituary. Praying for peace for all of you in the days ahead.
Submitted by Iva-Laura Self on Oct 11 2017 02:28:25 PM
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