Robert L. "Red" Pulliam, Longtime Commandant and Coach at Fork Union Military Academy, Passes Away at 87 Years of Age

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Robert L. "Red" Pulliam, Longtime Commandant and Coach at Fork Union Military Academy, Passes Away at 87 Years of Age

COL R. L. "Red" Pulliam served as Commandant and Coach at Fork Union Military Academy

COL R. L. "Red" Pulliam served as Commandant and Coach at Fork Union Military Academy

"Quoting Albert Schweitzer, COL Pulliam told parents in a 1993 address at Fork Union Military Academy that, 'Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it's the only thing.'"

Robert L. "Red" Pulliam passed away in the morning hours of June 22, 2015 surrounded by his family in his home in Fork Union, Virginia at the age of 87.

A native of Martinsville, Virginia, Red Pulliam came to Fork Union Military Academy in 1956 as an English teacher and head coach of the Varsity Football team. During the next forty years, Pulliam served in a number of prominent roles in the Academy's leadership. He spent nearly twenty years as the school's Commandant, supervising and mentoring thousands of young men during their time at the Academy. He became the school's first Director of Development and also was named the Academy's chief operations officer. In the 1990-91 school year, he was tapped to serve as Fork Union's Interim President, a role he took on again in the 1993-94 school year as well. Following his retirement in 1995, Pulliam continued his service to the Academy as a member of the Board of Trustees.

Pulliam attended Martinsville High School where he was co-captain of the football team. Following his graduation from high school, Pulliam served in the 82nd Airborne Division of the United States Army before enrolling at Randolph-Macon College in the Class of 1953.

He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Randolph-Macon College in 1997. Pulliam was inducted into the Randolph-Macon College Hall of Fame in 1999, honoring his standout college career as a three-year starter, earning All-State First Team honors and named an Honorable Mention to the Little All-America team. After graduating Randolph-Macon College in 1953, Pulliam served three years as the football coach at Fairfax High School, leading his team to the district championship in 1954. But it was at Fork Union Military Academy where he would achieve his greatest success.

During his twenty-six years as head coach at Fork Union Military Academy, he compiled a remarkable 170-69-7 record, winning over seventy-percent of his games and coaching many players who would go on to distinguished playing careers in college and in the National Football League. Coach Pulliam was inducted into the Fork Union Military Academy Sports Hall of Fame in 2009

In 1996, Pulliam became the first recipient of Fork Union Military Academy's highest singular award, named in his honor, the COL R. L. "Red" Pulliam Award. This award is given to "a person who has clearly displayed outstanding leadership and made significant contributions toward the betterment of Fork Union Military Academy. The leadership characteristics of integrity and service to the Academy, coupled with strong Christian morals and values, set this person apart from all others and make him a role model not only for the Corps of Cadets, but for his fellow man."

Pulliam remained active in community leadership following his retirement from the Academy. He served as a deacon and a trustee for the Fork Union Baptist Church. He was a past master of the Fork Union Masonic Lodge, served as a member of the American Legion, and was past president of the Fluvanna Ruritan Club. He was active in the establishment of the Fluvanna Heritage Trail and was honored in 2001 by the American Hiking Society as Virginia Volunteer of the Year. In 2011, he was the recipient of the "Unsung Virginian Award" presented by the Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Electric Cooperatives.

Quoting Albert Schweitzer, COL Pulliam told parents in a 1993 address at Fork Union Military Academy that, "Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it's the only thing." Red Pulliam set the highest possible example during his lifetime of service to the Academy and his community, and his influence will be felt for generations to come.

There will be a time of visitation on Saturday, June 27, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM in Hatcher Hall. The funeral service for COL Pulliam will be held in the Wicker Chapel on the campus of Fork Union Military Academy on Sunday, June 28, 2015 at 2:00 PM. A reception will immediately follow the service at the farm of Roger and Karen Bowles (COL Pulliam's daughter) in Fork Union.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor Red Pulliam's memory may do so by making contributions in his memory to Fork Union Military Academy and Fork Union Baptist Church.

The Academy will be accepting memorial donations in COL Pulliam's honor to the R. L. & Patsy Pulliam Access Scholarship Fund to help provide an Academy education to young men who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Please contact Tim Redden (434-842-4374) or Spencer Percy (434-842-4371) with any questions.

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Dan Thompson
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