COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The legendary 'Voice of the Gamecocks' for over four decades was remembered in a memorial service Tuesday afternoon.
Bob Fulton died Wednesday at his home in Lexington at the age of 89. A memorial service to celebrate his life was held at the Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church on Sunset Boulevard in Lexington.
The service has only been in the works for a week since Fulton died, but some of the planning for the celebration had already been done by Fulton himself.
Fulton liked to speak -- he did it for a living. But on Tuesday, the man who has had his last word was all the talk. "It's gonna be a pleasure to talk about Bob Fulton," said longtime friend Joe Pinner. "He was an awesome individual, a great friend and I'm gonna miss him tremendously."
Pinner says Fulton spent his last months visiting sick friends, offering up his time as his own was running short. Always a giver, there was something Fulton wanted from Pinner. "When Bob Fulton asked me to speak at his funeral a couple of years ago, he said 'for the Lord's sake, be short,'" quipped Pinner.
Pinner was not the only one who got the request. Gamecock quarterback from the 70s Jeff Grantz did too. "I said 'of course, but why me?'" recalled Grantz. "He said, 'because you were one of my favorite players.' That in itself was the best honor you could ever have."
So they took the pulpit one by one to say a few words about the man whose voice was heard by so many.
Fulton retired in 1995 after 43 years as the radio announcer for Gamecock football, baseball and basketball. His tenure with the Gamecocks was the fourth-longest among NCAA Division I broadcasters with one school at the time of his retirement.
Fulton's deep voice and signature, "Hi everybody, this is Bob Fulton," resonated with generations of Gamecock fans.
He was selected eight times as the state of South Carolina's "Sportscaster of the Year." In 1990, he became the first non coach or athlete to be inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame. He was also a member of the University of South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame.
In 1994, Fulton received the state's highest award, the Order of the Palmetto from Governor Carroll Campbell. He was also recognized twice by the South Carolina Legislature in 1973 and 1995.
In Fulton's 1996 autobiography, "Hi Everybody! This is Bob Fulton," he described what he'd like to have put on his headstone. "When I made out my 'last will and testament,' I wanted something carved on my gravestone that would bring a smile to someone who might happen by," wrote Fulton. "At first, I thought it would be, 'I'll be back in a moment,' a phrase I had used thousands of times in my broadcasting career. After very serious consideration, I chose, 'WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR."
Fulton is survived by two daughters, four grandchildren and five great grandchildren.