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The people who influenced us all

Rarely did a young couple make the impact in a community like George and Donna Bullock. The Bullocks were from a small town near Raleigh about the size of Washington. Fuquay-Varina, during the ’60s was about our size or maybe a little smaller. The Bullocks were childhood sweethearts and attended Fuquay-Varina High School and later East Carolina University and that is when we first met Mr. Bullock.

George Bullock came to Washington High School to student teach for Mr. Pritchard in the science department, and many of us were fortunate to have him. This was our first encounter with him. He was still a senior at ECU and needed student teaching to finish his degree. At that time, he was not much older than us but, still, he was loved by all the students who had him. Mr. Pritchard was a good teacher to learn under, and George seemed to bring out the best in us all.

It was a pleasant surprise when Mr. Bullock returned the next year, especially that he brought his new wife, Donna, with him to teach typing upstairs in Mrs. Talley’s room. Mrs. Bullock was a short, petite and pretty lady who, like her husband, captured our young hearts. She, too, could bring out the best in her students, and typing was enjoyable under her, even if the keys had no letters at that time. The couple complemented one another and were a perfect fit for Washington and Washington High School.

One weekend, they invited Dave, Bubba and me to a basketball game in Chapel Hill to see Billy Cunningham and UNC play the University of Maryland. After the game, we all got Billy Cunningham’s autograph and headed to the car to return home. Just outside of Chapel Hill, it started snowing and to be safe, we pulled into Fuquay and spent the night with Donna and George’s parents. The next day, we returned home safe and sound.

Never did I know that George and Donna’s principal, Edward Farnell, would later be the person who hired me in Williamston and was like a father figure to me until he died years later. George was the president of his senior class and Mrs. Farnell taught Donna home economics, Mr. Farnell would later tell me.

Recently, George passed away after they had returned to their beloved hometown of Fuquay-Varina where they raised their family. Mrs. Bullock and sons still live there and are doing fine. It was young couples like the Bullocks that influenced many of us in such a positive way. Their role model and caring attitude was so important to us growing up. Thanks, George and Donna Bullock! You are missed and loved!

They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, NC.

— Harold Jr.

Harold Robinson Jr. is a native of Washington.