Published: April 29, 2003
BERWICK, MAINE – Patricia J. Fulton of Berwick, a well-known and respected antiques dealer for more than four decades, died on April 19. She is survived by her daughter Nancy.
She was raised in New York City where her first job, at the age of 15, was selling nylon stockings in a department store kiosk at Christmastime. She was hired simply because she was tall and was striking with her long braided hair.
Her several positions in the field of education followed graduation from Goucher College and Wesleyan University, earning a doctorate degree by the age of 26. Her early career took her to South America where she worked for the Anaconda Copper Mining Com-pany teaching the children of their American employees, a challenge she thoroughly enjoyed. She returned to this country to become head of the science department of Mount Vernon Seminary, now Mount Vernon College, in Washing-ton, D.C., and later served as headmistress of a girls’ school in Bloomfield, Mich. She left the teaching profession and entered the antiques business.
Her interest in antiques was initially sparked by an invitation to a luncheon in the beautifully decorated home of a collector. Soon thereafter, she purchased for $3 a milk glass compote featuring a gnome holding a morning glory. She became a dealer when she sold the compote for $20, believing she had made a fine profit until she discovered it was a very rare piece.
As the proprietor of The Persimmon Tree she soon earned the respect of managers and sophisticated customers of a number of nationally known shows and participated annually in such important events as the Washington Antiques Show for the benefit of The Thrift Shop Charities founded by Gresham Wilson. She also regularly weathered the sun and storms of Russell Carrell’s Cow Pasture in Salisbury, Conn., and did shows in Baltimore, Alexandria, Va., Washington, Conn., and Lancaster, Penn., among others.
An extension of Pat’s interest in antiques was a residential restoration business that she operated. Her first projects included a row house in the Foggy Bottom district of D.C. and a saltbox in Essex, Conn.
According to her friend Jane Boyd, “Pat was always buying and selling houses she had restored. Charlie Fox, master carpenter, would come by to see Pat and Mary and have coffee every morning. Pat saw an ad in a Rhode Island paper for a house for sale for $1. It had to be moved and Charlie signed up for the job. Pat bought land overlooking the Connecticut River in Hadlyme, Conn., and they took the house apart and reassembled it on that site. It was named The Ledges, because of the site, and it had a beautiful staircase.”
Late in the 1950s she opened The Village Store Antiques and Decorations in Hadlyme and in succeeding years became highly regarded as a dealer in New England shows managed by Trisha McElroy, Nan Gurley, Forbes and Turner, Coastal Promotions, Goosefare and Country Cape, among many others.
In 1989 Pat purchased a farm in Berwick, Maine, and subsequently became very active in the Maine Antiques Dealers Association, serving on the Board of Directors and participating in the management of several of MADA’s annual shows. For the last several years she displayed at the York Antiques Gallery in York, Maine, and more recently at Quarter Cape Antiques Gallery in Camden, Maine. In addition, Pat continued her quest for distinctive furnishings and decorative objects for several private clients.
She was a past president of the Berwick Historical Society and of the Connecticut River Artisans in Chester, Conn. Pat was very well traveled. She spoke fluent French — her mother was born in France — and particularly enjoyed time spent in Paris, the South of France and Canada. She collected sculpture, loved classical music and played the violin.
She was very fond of animals. Donations in her memory may be made to The Center for Wildlife, Mountain Road, York, ME 03909.
Pat will be remembered by all who knew her for her delight in discussing a treasure and for her wonderful laugh.
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