Walter Atherton FULLERTON III
JUNE 5, 1950 – AUGUST 28, 2022
WALTER A. FULLERTON, III
The Hon. Walter Atherton Fullerton, III, 72, a retired Pinellas County Judge, passed away peacefully on August 28, 2022, with his family by his side. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Cathy, and his three daughters, Elizabeth (Annie), Lian (Lia), and Colbie.
Walt was born in Schenectady, New York on June 5, 1950. His family moved to St. Petersburg in 1954. He attended public schools and graduated from St. Petersburg High School in 1968, where he was the Student Council President and named “Mr. SPHS” for his class. He then went to Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Following his college graduation in 1972, he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy and assigned to the USS Bradley, a destroyer escort. He was a Vietnam veteran, as the Bradley was deployed off Vietnam and engaged in combat during that war. Following his naval service, Walt attended Emory Law School, graduating in 1978. He began his legal career as a prosecutor in the office of State Attorney James T. Russell, joined a criminal defense firm for several years during the 1980s, and then was appointed a County Judge by Governor Bob Martinez in 1988. He was reelected to that position numerous times before he retired in 2015. In 1996 he worked with various others, including CASA, to create the Domestic Violence Court within the County’s judicial system. He served as the initial judge in that unit and ensured that domestic violence cases in the County would be treated fairly and consistently. At the time, Walt was of the few judges in the state who focused on domestic violence cases.
He was also active in many clubs and community activities over the years, such as the Suncoasters (he loved Clown Alley and also participated in the twice-a-month musicals performed for patients at All Children’s Hospital), Rotary Club, Southeastern Guide Dogs, and more.
Walt loved serving as a judge but the real passion of his life was his family. Although he was serious and had a no-nonsense demeanor in his courtroom, he was fun-loving and had a great sense of humor at home and with his extended family. He always had everyone laughing. He was very devoted to Cathy, and absolutely loved being a dad to his three girls. He devoted almost all of his free time to family activities, and together they enjoyed boating, swimming, trips to Disney World, traveling, hiking in various national parks, cheering his girls on at their numerous sporting events and extracurricular activities over the years, and much, much more. His family proudly calls him the “best dad and husband in the universe”. Walt always went far above and beyond for the people he loved. He gave every part of himself to his family daily and did everything he could to ensure their happiness and success.
Walt was predeceased by his parents, Walter A. Fullerton Jr. and Elsie Fullerton Taylor, and his older brother Allen. He is survived by Cathy, Elizabeth, Lian, and Colbie, as well as his brother Larry (Barb) and sister Elaine Schofield (Cal), both of Denver, his brother Ken (Linda) of Seminole, his sister-in-law Paula Fullerton of Cotuit, Massachusetts, and numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Southeastern Guide Dogs Inc. at 4210 77th St E, Palmetto, FL 34221; (941) 729-5665 or on their website at https://www.guidedogs.org.