But M.T. Fuller Jr. was always proud to call Clem home. He lived there from the 1930s when his father, M.T. Fuller Sr., moved the family to their Clem-Lowell Road residence, and he died there on July 4 — Independence Day for the country he served in World War II.
Fuller, 91, was laid to rest Friday afternoon in the Clem United Methodist Church cemetery, with full military honors provided by the American Legion Post 143, where he once served as commander, chaplain and a faithful member for more than 50 years.
“He was very much a promoter of all things Clem,” said Nellie Duke, a friend and whose husband, Henry, served with Fuller in the Legion. “He loved the Clem Methodist Church and the community center. He promoted all the people in that community.”
“He was really proud of Clem,” said Wilson Freeman, a friend who attended college with Fuller and later shared many of the same school classroom buildings with him. “You’d think Clem was a large metropolitan area. He could give you the history and background of the place.”
Fuller often led tours of Clem for anyone who was interested, pointing out every landmark and reciting the history of each location. One such excursion was in September 1993, when he took a Times-Georgian reporter on a walking tour, pointing out the general merchandise stores, the train depot, the post office and homes of the physicians.
He was proud that Clem once had its own ZIP Code for the tiny, one-room post office that sat just off Clem-Lowell Road and was open until 1973. The community also had passenger train service until 1952, he would point out.
However, as Duke noted, M.T. “wore many hats” and being a Clem tour guide was just one of many.
He was a military veteran, a school teacher, a principal, a historian and a square dance caller.
“He was about as good a square dance caller as I ever heard and he loved it,” Freeman said. “Up until four or five years ago, he called square dances here regularly in Carrollton. He did square dances once a month on Friday nights for years and years.”
Freeman said it was because of Fuller that he also taught square dancing in his schools. But Freeman knew Fuller throughout the years as an educator and administrator.
“M.T. and I were close in our teaching years,” he said. “We taught together in Carroll, Haralson and Paulding counties. We both retired in Paulding County. He retired in 1982 and I retired in 1989.
“He ran a good school and the kids all loved him,” Freeman said. “He was very conscientious about his teachers. He made sure he had good teachers and they were teaching what they ought to be.”
Duke had two grandchildren who attended New Georgia Elementary School when Fuller was principal there.
“He was a good administrator,” she said. “He was strict, but everybody loved him.”
Don Levans, the current Post 143 commander, knew Fuller from his work with the Legion, where he commanded the post for eight years and continued to be active many years afterwards.
“Post 143 would never have been what it is without M.T.,” Levans said. “He saw to it that the post stayed solvent. During the time between wars, the World War I guys got old and the World War II guys started drifting away. A few dedicated members, like M.T., kept the post going.”
John Marlow credited Fuller with keeping him involved in Legion activities.
“He was a 100 percent good guy for the American Legion,” Marlow said. “We had a good relationship. He got me involved in the honor guard and supported me when I was commander.”
Duke also recalled that her husband, Henry, along with Fuller, Herb Barfield and Joe Dixon, started the Legion honor guard.
“They were in such demand, that they would go to Alabama or Cedartown, wherever they were needed,” she said.
But everybody who knew Fuller knew him best as a talker, a man they could listen to and never grow tired of his tales.
“I’d often go sit with him and listen to him for hours,” Levans said, noting that during Fuller’s final days his body was growing weak, but his mind stayed sharp and he never tired of talking. “He was not able to do anything but sit back and talk. He was one of those people I really liked to listen to.”
“He was a person who really cared about other people,” Duke said. “Every year, he used to come by and bring Henry a historic railway calendar. He was always a real friend. He was such a good man. He’s really going to be missed by a lot of people.”