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Publication: Globe and Mail, The add link
Issue: 8 April 2010, page L6
Web Link: link


Teacher, vocalist, devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother. Born Jan. 12, 1905, in River Philip, N.S. Died Nov. 8, 2009, in Parrsboro, N.S., of old age, aged 104.


April 8, 2010

Mae King Fullerton was born into the large, happy family of George and Lilian King. She had 13 siblings and though two died in childhood, the other 11 flourished.

Mae's first teaching job after graduating from Truro Normal School was in Gaspereau, N.S. Her second year of teaching took her to Halfway River, N.S., where she met Harold Fullerton. They married in 1926.

Harold and Mae lived on a farm and raised six children - Shirley, Douglas, Olive, Enid, Cameron and Thane. Early life on the farm was busy for Mae. She churned 100 pounds of butter each week, heated water on top of a woodstove for a hand-turned washing machine, attended to the needs of her children as well as a couple of hired men, boarded the local teacher, took care of her ailing mother-in-law, knitted socks and mittens for family members and made all of her children's clothing.

During the Second World War, Mae acted as a plane spotter for the Department of National Defence. From a book of profiles she identified planes flying over the farm and telephoned the type, direction, time and approximate height of each to a Halifax office.

Mae loved poetry. She had a vast store memorized and even when more than 100 years old, could recite verse after verse.

When her children were grown, she returned to teaching in local rural schools. Her students loved her and, as adults, attended celebrations in her honour.

Mae's talents were legion. She was a keen gardener, crossword puzzle fan and avid reader. But she was especially gifted at singing. She sang at every wedding, funeral and celebration throughout the countryside. She learned the autoharp and guitar after her second retirement from teaching.

Mae was a great needlewoman. Each of her daughters and seven granddaughters received one of her handmade quilts. She crocheted afghans, tablecloths, bedspreads and cushion covers, and especially enjoyed crewel work.

Mae's 100th birthday celebration was a joyous event. When she stood to thank neighbours, relatives and friends for their good wishes, she said she didn't expect such a "fuss" but was truly honoured and grateful.

The Cumberland County Genealogical Society filmed a documentary interview with Mae after her 103rd birthday. In that interview she said her family gave her the greatest pleasure. Her children always came first. She read to them, sang to them, played the piano for them, told them stories, played games with them and loved them "more than tongue can tell." Mae was a mother extraordinaire.

Olive Fullerton is Mae's daughter.