Williams P. Fulton, 73, Rouse general counsel and vice president

January 04, 2001|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Williams Payne Fulton, 73, a former Rouse Co. official who helped assemble the land that became Columbia, died of heart failure Dec. 28 at his Ellicott City home.

He spent more than 30 years with Rouse, where he was general counsel and a vice president.

In the mid-1960s, he was one of the few people who had a key to the "war room," a locked office in the First National Bank Building in downtown Baltimore. The room held the documents, maps and charts that detailed Rouse's acquisition of Howard County farmland destined to become Columbia.

"It had to be secret or the price of the land would have gone out of sight," said W. Scott Ditch of Royal Oak, a retired Rouse official. Mr. Fulton joined the firm, then known as Moss Rouse, in 1949, when it was on St. Paul Place. He retired in 1986.

He worked on the company's early shopping center projects - including Mondawmin Mall in West Baltimore, Waverly Towers in Waverly, Harundale Mall in Glen Burnie and Beachwood Place outside Cleveland.

Born in Baltimore and reared in Ruxton, Mr. Fulton was a 1939 graduate of the Calvert School and a 1945 graduate of Gilman School, where he was captain of the varsity basketball and baseball teams. The winner of the school's William Cabell Bruce Jr. Athletic Prize, he was given a tryout as a pitcher for the old International League Baltimore Orioles.

"He was the best athlete at the school," said a friend, Ned Thompson of Ruxton.

Mr. Fulton remained active in alumni fund raising for Gilman School, where a scholarship fund has been established in his name.

He graduated from Princeton University in 1949 and the University of Maryland law school in 1953.

He served in the Navy as a seaman from 1945 to 1946 and was stationed in the Pacific.

After his retirement from Rouse, he worked as a real estate consultant and developer, and in 1987, he opened the Sunburst Shopping Center in Cambridge.

His marriages to Ishtar Abell and Norma Miller ended in divorce.

In 1984, he wed Melissa Moerschbacher, president and chief executive of Regional Retail Concepts Inc., who survives him.

A memorial service for Mr. Fulton will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 1401 Carrollton Ave., Ruxton.

He is also survived by three sons, Williams P. Fulton Jr. of Baltimore, George A. Fulton of New Carrollton and Brant Rycroft Fulton of Seattle; three daughters, Leasha Carroll Fulton of Staunton, Va., Jessica F. Samet of Richmond, Va., and Victoria Miller Fulton of Baltimore; a brother, Turner Read Fulton Jr. of Baltimore; a sister, Virginia F. West of Ruxton; and two grandchildren.

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