Sixty-five years ago, John Wesley Fulton opened the doors to Fulton Funeral Home in Yanceyville.
For the next 65 years, Fulton served the Caswell, Rockingham, Person and Alamance county communities, always keeping his philosophy of “Service for All – Within Means of All” close to his heart.
“When I came here and after dealing with people, I found out they didn’t have much in the ways of means so that’s how the philosophy came about,” Fulton said. “We wanted to still give them some service, though.”
“A lot of them were sharecroppers at the time and not everybody had money coming in at all times of the year. So, we allowed them to do the best they could with what they had.”
There’s a saying, “Behind every great man is a great woman,” and Fulton’s late wife, Juanita S. Fulton, exemplified the saying, helping John Wesley run the business for over half-a-decade.
“She was mostly public relations, which I’ve never been that good at,” Fulton said, laughing. “She was a schoolteacher and could speak well and had a great voice. At that time, you didn’t print the obituary so she would read it during the service and was really good at reading and carrying on with people.”
“She did everything except embalm the body.”
After nearly 70 years of serving the local communities, Fulton announced his retirement in the spring.
When it came time to name a predecessor, Fulton only had one man in mind — his long-time assistant Quenton Walton.
“I learned how to treat everybody the same and everybody right,” Walton said. “Not everybody has the means to do a lot of things and we still work with all the families, do the right thing and right by them. I also learned how to do everything exactly right because that’s what Mrs. [Fulton] always stressed. Doing things right.”
“As far as embalming, he’s one of the best, and he’s showed me how to do it where I can make people look more natural, which is important because it helps put the family at ease. They look like they’re asleep and at rest and that makes the family feel good, which makes us as a team feel better.”
According to Walton, there’s one thing every funeral home employee should strive for.
“When people walk up to me and say, ‘I couldn’t even cry because they just look so peaceful, that’s the point. It makes me feel good because I know I’ve helped them through their grieving process.”
Walton has worked alongside Fulton as a funeral director and embalmer for the past 25 years. Walton possesses licenses to embalm in North Carolina and Virginia, and according to Walton, “has the same passion for his work in servicing families and their loved ones,” as Fulton.
Despite taking sole proprietorship of the business, Walton will honor his former boss by renaming the funeral home, Fulton-Walton Funeral Home & Cremation Services.
Walton plans to make some renovations to the funeral home, but he and his wife, Janette, and their staff will still conduct business as usual, keeping their service to families as their top priority.
“We are excited about continuing the legacy established by Mr. Fulton with great pride and passion,” Walton said.
Upon completion of the renovations, the public will be invited to an Open House.
“We plan to continue to uphold the quality standards and ethics to help keep us accountable for our actions and community to the people, the community and our creator,” Walton said. “We will continue to uphold Mr. [Fulton’s] motto of “Service for All — Within the Means of all.”
The funeral home is located at 219 Dillard School Drive in Yanceyville. They can be reached at 336-694-4881.