Austin College honors the life of Jerome “Jerry” Fullinwider, who died July 21, 2022. He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the College in 2013 based upon his distinguished career in the petroleum industry and his knowledge of Russian affairs that grew from that interaction. His was a life of entrepreneurship, philanthropy, dedication to free market causes, and involvement in his community.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, July 29, 2022, at 2 p.m. at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Highland Park Presbyterian Church, Young Life, or Reconciliation Outreach. A Memorial Service livestream will be available: https://www.hppres.org/fullinwider
See the family obituary.
Jerome McNair “Jerry” Fullinwider, loving husband, father, grandfather, passionate entrepreneur, musician and man of faith passed away peacefully on July 21, 2022, at the age of 93. He is now with his Lord in Heaven and his family is abundantly grateful for his long life, which truly was a life well-lived.
A fifth generation Texan, Jerry was born in Dallas, Texas on October 19, 1928 to Chester and Louise Crow Fullinwider. As a student at Highland Park High School, he was on the championship swim team, and later in life received the Highland Park Distinguished Alumni Award. While attending Southern Methodist University, he spent a great deal of time conducting and playing trumpet in his 16 piece dance orchestra, the “Southernaires”, and was a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.
After graduating from SMU in 1951 with a BBA degree in Business Management, Jerry served in the U.S. Navy for two years. He graduated from the US Naval School of Justice in Newport, RI, and served in Korea and Japan, retiring as Lieutenant, USNR. He then began his life-long career in the oil business with SOHIO in the Land and Legal Department, working in Tyler, Oklahoma City and Calgary, Canada. During this time, while attending Westminster Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City, Jerry met the beautiful Leah Young. They married in 1957 and moved to Dallas where Jerry worked for independent oil and gas producer, A. W. Cherry.
In 1963, the Fullinwiders moved to Midland where Jerry and partner, Vic Vasicek, established VF-Petroleum, Inc. In 1989, Jerry founded VF-Russia, where he became one of the first independent oil operators working in the USSR. He sold that company in 2006 ,at the age of 78, and continued his oil career as Vice Chairman of Hillwood International Energy, developing oil fields in the U.S. and Kurdistan.
Throughout his career, Jerry enjoyed studying economics and became a strong believer in liberty and free-market ideals. As a founding Board Member of the Institute for Humane Studies, now located at George Mason University, he encouraged support for programs throughout the country focusing on education, entrepreneurial development and freedom. At his alma mater, SMU, Jerry was Chairman of the Advisory Board at the O’Neil Center for Global Markets & Freedom and had a Chair in Economic Freedom named in his honor in the Cox School of Business. He was awarded two honorary Doctorates, one in Law from Northwood University, the other in Humane Letters from Austin College.
Along with his business efforts, Jerry was active in a wide range of civic and church endeavors. His community involvements in both Midland and Dallas included: Founding Board Member of Midland Young Life, active Board Member of the Abell-Hanger Foundation, the Midland/Odessa Symphony and Chorale and the Baylor Health Care System Foundation. He enjoyed beautiful art and music, playing the trumpet for much of his life in his beloved dance band, as well as multiple symphonies, including Calgary, Oklahoma City and Midland.
Jerry will be fondly remembered as a man of integrity, a gifted communicator and a consummate gentleman. He was dedicated to uplifting his community through his strong spirit of generosity. He and Leah supported many charitable endeavors, including ministries such as Campus Crusade for Christ, Young Life, West Dallas Community School,\ and Reconciliation Outreach. Above all, Jerry’s Christian faith dominated his life. He was quick to witness to his faith both near and abroad. His Russian business partners knew not to schedule meetings on Sunday mornings because “Mr. Fullinwider goes to church”. As a member of First Presbyterian Church of Midland and Highland Park Presbyterian Church of Dallas, he enjoyed teaching Sunday School, assisting with the choir, mentoring on many committees and serving as a Ruling Elder.
Jerry is pre-deceased by his parents, his brother, Chester, and his sister, Virginia Boedeker. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Leah, his four daughters and their husbands: Ann and Ken Hankins of Midland; Sarah and Ross Perot, Jr. of Dallas; Nell and Shelby Bush of Dallas; Kate and Charles Ferguson of Abilene; and 13 grandchildren: Hankins family – Tripp and Porter; Perot family – Hill, Hunter, Sarah Catherine, Meredith and husband Rob Garvey; Bush family – Joseph, Hannah, Ellie and Abby; and Ferguson family – Mary Ellis, Louise, and Henry.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, July 29, 2022, 2:00 pm, at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Highland Park Presbyterian Church, Young Life or Reconciliation Outreach. Memorial Service livestream: www.hppres.org/fullinwider