John Richard Pullen, 88, of Columbia City, Indiana, passed away at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at Visiting Nurse & Hospice Home. Born on November 23, 1930 in Detroit, Michigan, he was the son of John Morgan and Anna Erna (Schulz) Pullen.
As a boy, John learned the value of hard work. He spent time working at his paternal grandparents' homestead in West Virginia doing various farm chores including cutting the grass down as low as possible to use the clippings to feed the hogs. John and his grandpa would walk down the railroad tracks and pick up coal that was dropped by the passing trains. They also gathered coal up the side of the mountain a couple hundred yards up and dug loose coal from a coal vein. Sometimes they would drill holes in the coal, light a small amount of black powder they put into it to loosen it and place the freed coal in feed and seed sacks on skid with runners on them to get it back down the mountain. They then would store the coal in the basement of an abandoned house and potatoes on the first floor of the house. John also worked in the sweet potato fields in his youth. It was not uncommon for John to take 6-12 trips a day carrying water from the community well and would find a spring to get water from when people started getting sick from typhoid.
He attended Von Steuben Grade School and Denby High School for the first half of his Freshman year in Detroit, Michigan. John then moved by himself to Fort Wayne, Indiana and lived in Concordia's dorm as he attended Concordia High School. Before graduating with the Class of 1950, John took classes towards being a minister and took German, Greek and Latin all at once.
Following graduation, he took a job with General Electric for 11 months and then went to serve in the U.S. Navy for 4 years, being honorably discharged in 1955. During his time with the Navy, John served aboard the USS Cecil. While waiting for discharge, he sold Americana Encyclopedias for 3 months, then he sold Remington Rand typewriters in Norfolk, then Blue Field and then Fort Wayne before going back to General Electric in Fort Wayne, where he retired after 26 years. John devoted more than 60 years to UCT, working with the Special Olympics, helping neighbors and always was there for his grandchildren. He was a member of Zion Lutheran Church, UCT of America and the Eel River Gun Club.
After high school, John married Betty Adams and started a family; having four children, John M., Michael, Cynthia and Kristine. John truly adored his children and would want to spend as much time as he humanly could with them. He was always there for his family and loved all his grandchildren. He taught many of them how to fish, which was another love he had. He found relaxation being at his home on Shriner Lake and loved it almost as much as he loved watching his family and friends enjoy it. Out of everything in his life though, he most enjoyed spending time with people he cared about and increasingly in recent years, he wanted others to know how much he cared about them. He raised great children, loved a lot of people, he served his country and he had a wit and laugh that he liked to share and will be missed by.
Survivors include his sons, John M. (Patty) Pullen of Fort Wayne and Mike (JoAnn) Pullen of Columbia City; daughter, Cynthia (Alan) Kuehnert of Fort Wayne; step-children, Steve (Beth) Smith of Fort Wayne, Debra Morrone of Fort Wayne and Phillip Smith of Fort Worth, TX; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Beverly Pullen in 2012; daughter, Kristine Pullen; and sister, Rosanne Mooneyham.
A gathering of family and friends will be 1-5 p.m. Sunday, November 3, 2019 at DeMoney-Grimes, a Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral services will be 10:30 am Monday at Zion Lutheran Church, 101 E North St, Columbia City with visitation one-hour prior. Pastor Phillip R. Rittner will be officiating his service and the U.S. Navy will be rendering military honors. Memorial gifts may be given in his memory to Zion Lutheran Church or Visiting Nurse & Hospice Home. Visit www.demoneygrimes.com to send his family condolences online.
May each of you find courage to face tomorrow as you rest in the knowledge that we truly care about each of your needs and that we will walk beside you in your journey of grief.
Randy Grimes, Brett Gerber and the Staff of DeMoney-Grimes Funeral Home
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