Gilbert Fuller Sr., a well-known entrepreneur known by many as the “Mayor of Germantown,” died Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 81.
Fuller, who owned and operated Fuller Shoe Shine at 6327 Germantown Ave., did many things from working at the Frankford Arsenal to running a beauty shop. He also spent time as a prison guard and a city inspector.
He was born in Philadelphia on May 6, 1931, to Joseph Fuller Sr. and Mercedes Fuller and grew up in the Yorktown section of the city.
Fuller, who began shining shoes on the street when he was 8 years old, attended Benjamin Franklin High School and went to work at the Frankford Arsenal after graduation. After taking the Civil Service exam, he began to work in security at the Free Library.
Fuller later became a corrections officer at Holmesburg Prison and then a field inspector in the Licenses & Inspections Department. He retired from the city in 1988 after 30 years of service.
According to his daughter Barbara Fuller, he also served as president of East Germantown Again Drugs.”
Fuller had lived in the 6100 block of Morton Street since 1954. According to Barbara, the Fuller family was among the first Blacks on the street.
“He cared about his community,” said Barbara. “As a person, he was a surrogate father to some, a mentor, an educational advisor, as well as a dedicated friend.”
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Phyllis; daughters, Barbara and Michelle Fuller; sons, Gilbert Jr., Tyrone, Eric, Enoch and Terrance Fuller; a brother, the Rev. Joseph Fuller; a sister, Delores Crawford; five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his daughter Beverly.
Services were held Saturday at New Joy Baptist Church, 2314 W. Allegheny Ave. and burial was in Ivy Hill Cemetery. Savin Funeral Home handled the arrangements.