By Michelle Graff
Abilene, Texas--West Texas jeweler and master watchmaker Jack Henry Fulwiler died Friday in hospice following a long illness. He was 82.

Born Dec. 27, 1935 in Abilene, Fulwiler was the son of Jack M. Fulwiler and Lorraine (Free) Fulwiler. His family opened their jewelry store, Fulwiler Jewelers, the year he was born.

He graduated from Abilene High School in 1953 and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas Tech University in Lubbock in 1957.

20180510 Jack FulwilerJack Fulwiler
In 1961, Fulwiler, who had grown up alongside his father’s bench, became one of the founding members of the Harrison, Ohio-based American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute. He held the organization’s Certified Master Watchmaker certificate #21 and was one of only 20 master watchmakers in Texas at the time of his death.

He also was an American Gem Society certified gemologist and an early retail member of the American Gem Trade Association, joining shortly after the organization’s founding in the 1980s.

Fulwiler took over the family store in 1989 when his father, known as “Papa Jack,” died. A decade later, he downsized, moving Fulwiler Jewelers from Second Street in Abilene to a smaller space on South Leggett Drive.

Outside of the jewelry industry, Fulwiler served in the Army National Guard, retiring as a major in 1978 with the nickname “Captain Jack;” was a past president of Abilene’s Downtown Association; a member of the Abilene Rotary Club, Kiwanis and Jaycees; a past president of the Fort Phantom Hill Lake Association; and a member of the First Christian Church in Abilene.

He was a lifelong resident of Abilene known for being gregarious and outgoing, and his hobbies included golf, recreational flying, fishing and tending to his “immaculate” yard.

Fulwiler is survived by his wife of 36 years, Debi Fulwiler; two stepdaughters, Amy High Pettitt (Tony) of Fort Worth, Texas and their children, Tanner and Elle, and Lisa Fulwiler Smith (Joey) of Abilene and their children, Ashleigh Allegrucci, Alyssa Riffle and Justin Smith; one sister, Barbara Fulwiler McAlister of Dallas; two nieces, Vicki Skaggs (John) of McAllen, Texas and Paula Roberts (Phil) of Texas City, Texas; and several great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brother-in-law Don McAlister.

Services will be held Saturday at Elmwood Memorial Park in Abilene.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hendrick Hospice Care, 1651 Pine St., Abilene, TX, 79601, or to another charity.

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