By Abbi Overfelt
September 25, 2013
LAURINBURG — W. Francis Bullard, 96, passed Sept. 24, 2013 at Scotia Village.
Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Saturday at the Historic John Blue Complex. Burial will follow in Pine Crest Cemetery, Gibson.
He is survived by his sister, Kathryn Bullard of Richmond, VA.
Born Sept. 4, 1917 in Gibson, he was a son of the late Joel C. and Mary Elizabeth McNeill Bullard. He graduated from Gibson High School on May 19, 1937, and married Mable Bryant of Spring Hope on June 22, 1941.
Francis grew up in the Gibson Baptist Church and his spiritual life was nurtured in his home and in the church. Except for several years working in Raleigh with the railroad, and his years serving in the US Army, he made his home in Laurinburg. At church Francis taught Sunday school, served as a deacon, and served on numerous committees. His mechanical skills led him to fix many things at the church and prompted the congregation to name a church building in his honor.
Francis served in the US Army in Camp Blanding, FL, and was assigned to work in the rail yards. There he kept the trains in good working condition to aid in transferring troops all over the country.
Following the war he worked with Harris Ice & Fuel Company installing gas station equipment until he became the Maintenance Supervisor of the Scotland County Schools where he served for 24 years. He could literally fix anything.
His love for his community and trains led him to cook countless meals for senior citizen groups with his close friends, and later to become instrumental in bringing the John Blue Cotton Blossom Railroad to Laurinburg and the Historic John Blue Complex. Indeed, just about every building on the site bears his “fingerprints” as he was instrumental in constructing or repairing them. As long as his health allowed, he was present on Sunday afternoons and for special events to give rides on the train to “children” of all ages.
In 1989 Francis became the first recipient of the Dunbar-McCoy Quality of Life Award that is presented annually by the Chamber of Commerce.
Memorials may be made to the Gibson Baptist Church, PO Box 408, Gibson, NC 28343, Masonic Home for Children, 600 College St., Oxford, NC 27565, or Scotland County Historic Properties Commission, PO Box 152, Laurinburg, NC 28353.
Visitation will be 6-8 p.m. Friday at the McDougald Funeral Home and Crematorium.