Donald Coldwell Fuller Jr., known almost universally as “Dee,” died at his home on Nov. 7, 2022, of aggressive cancer. He was born on May 14, 1944, in Bellefonte, Pa., but moved to Milledgeville, Ga., in 1945 with his parents, the late Donald C. Fuller Sr., and the late Lena Frisbie Fuller, who were both educators — Dr. Fuller at what was then Georgia State College for Women, and Mrs. Fuller in the Baldwin County public schools.
Dee attended Peabody School at GSCW from nursery school through fifth grade. As a 3-year-old, he began a search for the “biggest number in the world,” the first manifestation of his lifelong fascination with numbers. After Peabody School came two years at City Elementary School and then Baldwin High School, where he excelled in academics and played the trombone in the Baldwin High School band. He was the District Star Student his senior year. Among the many happy memories of his childhood was the fun he had playing sandlot ball at Gilbert Park (now absorbed by Georgia College’s maintenance facility) with his neighborhood friends.
Graduating from high school in 1960, he matriculated at Davidson College, where he spent two-plus years before moving on to The University of Georgia from which he earned the BA and MA degrees in English and ultimately the MA degree in mathematics, completing all coursework for the PhD in that field.
From 1966-1969 Dee served in the U.S. Navy, teaching English to midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. After a stint at UGA’s graduate school, he joined the faculty at Gainesville College (now the University of North Georgia) in 1973 and was a professor of mathematics there until his retirement in 1999. After retiring, he and his wife Kathe returned to Milledgeville, his hometown (and her adopted hometown) and settled into the pleasures of the leisurely life. Except that he very much missed his interactions with students and the intellectual stimulation of helping them with academic challenges, especially in math and math related fields like physics. Almost immediately he signed on as a volunteer tutor at what is now known as The Learning Center at GC, and for 20 years he spent several days a week working with students, who fondly referred to him as “Mr. Dee” or “the old man in the Learning Center.” A gifted mathematician and lifelong learner, helping students overcome their fear of mathematics and realize its beauty and power gave him great joy.
A person of many interests, Dee read widely, loved music, especially of the baroque era, and was a great fan of all GC Bobcat sports teams. He loved cars and knew everything about them except how to fix them. He wrote with great facility and kept up a wide-ranging and lively email correspondence with his many friends. He had a quick wit and a keen sense of fun. One of his favorite pastimes was riding the backroads of Middle Georgia in his Prius V; he and Kathe spent most Sunday mornings happily exploring those roads while listening to the glorious music of Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart and other composers over a fine car audio system. He was a kind and deeply spiritual person who in later years belonged to no organized religious group.
He is survived by Katherine McLean Fuller, his wife of 52 years; his sister, Beckwith (Becky) Fuller Merryman (Emory) and his niece, Mary Lee Merryman, all of Elkton, Va.; his nephew, Emory Hughes Merryman, III (Xiao Yen), and his great nephews, Victor and Alexander Merryman, all of Arlington, VA.
His beloved and loving dogs Lola and Annie also survive and miss him.
In place of flowers as a memorial, it is suggested that those who wish, make a contribution to the Georgia College Learning Center, c/o the Georgia College Foundation, Campus Box 96, Milledgeville, Ga. 31061; the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), 711 S. Wilkinson St., Milledgeville, Ga. 31061, or their charity of choice. Another fitting way to remember Dee would be to listen to music that stirs one’s soul or to figure out a math puzzle.
The funeral will be private.
Moores Funeral Home & Crematory has charge of arrangements.