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In this file photo from 2018, John C. Fulghum stands beside the plaque that bears his name and likeness at the dedication ceremony for the John C. Fulghum Beeville Event Center. Fulghum, who served 26 years on the Beeville City Council from 1992 to 2018, died earlier this month. He was 61. (Bee-Picayune file photo)

John C. Govella Fulghum was a committed and loyal servant of his hometown and a loving and caring son, father, brother and grandfather who doted on his grandchildren as often as he could.

Fulghum died earlier this month, leaving behind a legacy of servant leadership that is unmatched in the annals of Beeville history.

He was 61 years old.

“He loved his community. He loved serving people. He loved making a difference,” said former Beeville Mayor David Carabajal, who served with Fulghum on the Beeville City Council for a decade, was one of Fulghum’s closest friends and confidants, and served as pallbearer at Fulghum’s funeral.

“They don’t come any more honest than John.”

Fulghum was born in Beeville in 1960 and raised by his maternal grandparents, Maurice and Inez Govella. He graduated from A.C. Jones High School and later opened his own jewelry store in his hometown called The Pavilion Facet.

In 1992, he was elected to his first term on the Beeville City Council.

His stay on the City Council lasted 26 years through 2018.

Fulghum, along with Carabajal, championed the skate park project, which helped make the skate park in Flournoy Park a reality.

He also lent his support to various public safety projects that benefited local first responders.

“Everything that had to do with public safety, he was very passionate about,” Carabajal said, noting that his friend often pushed forward items that would help local EMTs, policeman and firefighters.

“When he made decisions, he made them from the heart,” Carabajal said of Fulghum.

In October 2018, the city honored Fulghum for his service, naming the city’s event center in his honor. The building at 111 E. Corpus Christi St. is now known as the John C. Fulghum Beeville Event Center.

Carabajal and Fulghum’s relationship extended beyond the walls of City Hall as well.

They were both members of the Beeville Masonic Lodge 261 and both earned the rank of Master Mason.

“We have a saying (in the Masons), ‘We take good men and we make them better.’ But I think John made us all better for knowing him,” Carabajal said. “That’s the kind of man he was.”

Fulghum had two sons, John and Jared, and two grandsons, 7-year-old Atticus and 5-year-old Jace.

His grandsons were the apple of Fulghum’s eye, Carabajal said.

Jared said that during his father’s services, he learned just how much his father meant to his hometown.

“He helped a lot of people in this town. He’s done a lot for people,” Jared said. “He was always thinking about other people rather than himself.

“He would help out everyone in this town. Everyone knew him.”

John was a helper, and that, Carabajal said, is one of the ways he thinks his friend would want to be remembered.

“I believe that he would want to be remembered as a man who loved his family very much and cared for his community,” said the former mayor. “He gave everything for his community. He would give his last dollar to somebody if he felt they really needed it and he would do without.”

John C. Govella Fulghum, Jared said, was a man who “opened his door to everyone, no matter color, shape, size, poor, rich; he opened up his heart to everyone no matter the circumstances.

“And he was a really good grandpa.”

After a funeral mass at Our Lady of the Victory Catholic Church on Nov. 12, Fulghum was laid to rest at Berclair Cemetery.


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Kevin J. Keller is the content director for Coastal Bend Publishing and the editor of the Beeville Bee-Picayune. He can be reached by email at or by phone at 361-343-5223, or you can follow him on Twitter @beepicsports.