Oliver H. Fulton, 88

State development official

December 18, 2007

Oliver Henry Fulton, a veteran of several technology corporations who later headed the Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority for more than a decade, died of complications from pneumonia Dec. 9 at Baltimore Washington Medical Center. He was 88 and lived on Gibson Island.

Mr. Fulton was born and raised in Pittsburgh. When he was 16, he won a "World's Greatest Toy Contest" sponsored by A.C. Gilbert, the New Haven, Conn., manufacturer of the Erector Set and of American Flyer electric trains.

He had taken model metal beams, plates, girders, wheels, pulleys and gears from a Meccano Ltd. construction set and built the winning entry, a huge, complex crane.

Mr. Fulton used the prize money to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he graduated with a bachelor's degree in physics in 1940. He did graduate work at Columbia University.

From 1940 to 1948, he worked for Radio Corp. of America in New York City. He worked on the integration of radar, computers, gyroscopes and proximity fuses that were used in World War II.

During the war, he also trained soldiers at Rutgers University in the use of radar.

From 1949 to 1955, he was a senior consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton in New York City and then went to work for the Underwood Corp. in Connecticut, as assistant to the president of research and development.

Mr. Fulton was director of aerospace technology at General Dynamics from 1959 to 1961, when he moved to Baltimore to become an analysis director at Martin Marietta.

He served as director of planning at Bendix Corp. in Towson from 1965 to 1970, then worked for a year at Black & Decker as director of planning.

He spent the last 12 years of his career as director of the Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority, retiring in 1983.

Mr. Fulton enjoyed collecting antique Lionel standard-gauge electric trains, which he displayed in his home on glass-enclosed shelves. He also collected antique toys, including trucks and autos.

"He added to the collection started by his father, who always bought two of everything and gave one to his son and kept one to give him later when he was older," said his wife of 23 years, the former Julie Wray.

Funeral services were Saturday.

Also surviving are two sons, Bill Fulton of White Salmon, Wash., and John Fulton of Wellington, Fla.; a daughter, Deb Barr of Earlysville, Va.; a stepson, Larry Jones of Baltimore; two stepdaughters, Jennifer Lewis of Manassas, Va. and Laurie High of Gambrills; a sister, Margaret F. Sailer of Presque Isle, Maine; and 13 grandchildren.

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