Hubert was a very special man. He and I often shared the task of cleaning the grease trap in the kitchen in the administration building in Fifth City. Although he was much more dependable than I, as a Permeator, it was my in-house assignment to maintenance. Hue took pity on me after I returned home from work and often had things ready for the evening meal. One time we had a very serious plugged drain which could only be fixed in the basement. (The basement was a dingy, dark place that hardly anybody dared frequent.) Little did we know that stuff upon stuff was hiding just above our heads as we loosened the clean out plug. On the last twist on the threads, the plug popped out and drenched us with yuck. Smelling like s–t, we shoved a plumber’s snake into the horizontal drain as far as we could reach and when we pulled it out, the rest of the stuff came with it. In our hair, on our clothes, faces slopped with gooey mess straight out of a scary movie, we rethreaded the plug. Hue and I shook hands complimenting each other in a job well done. Another time I helped him with that ugly old furnace trying to keep it running in winter.
At that time my Permeation job at Nalco was the group leader of the boiler research lab. I had just invented a revolutionary new all-in-one low pressure boiler treatment chemical. I thought it would be great to use it in our boiler since all of it’s specifications were “perfect” for a research test project. I had a drum of chemical shipped over from our pilot plant and off-loaded it to the outside basement entrance. Hue got to it before I got home and wrestled that 500 pound drum down the steps and into the boiler room. Although, previously, he and I agreed to take it down the stairs together, he went ahead and did it alone. To make the free chemical project feasible, I told my Nalco management that we would test all of the water in and out of the boiler. Hue agreed to run the chemical tests from the test kit I gave him as long as chemical was being added to the boiler. However, since the building’s heating system did not have a significant condensate return and the feed of the chemical was based on the amount of raw water pumped into the boiler, we used up the drum of chemical in less than a week. Hue didn’t have a chance to run any tests before the chemical was all gone. With no test results to report for the $1,500 worth of chemicals, I was way too embarrassed to ask Nalco for another drum of chemical. Besides, Hue told me he saw no change in the operation of the boiler and really didn’t want to bring in another heavy drum of the stuff since he hurt his back with the first one. For me, whenever things got nearly unbearable as a member of the Order, Hubert was an inspiration for me to stay with it. He is one of the saints on my meditative counsel. Miss you big guy!!!
~~ Jim Baumbach
As I hold Hubert in my mind: Hubert was a man who lived out his life being received and accepted. He was a man who decided that in spite of personal and daily life set-backs he could go on and keep at his task and recreate what was planned in spite of life trying to get him to step aside. The school and community center in Kapini could be called the Fulkerson monument. that building had the construction materials ripped off at least twice. Cement was like gold, Impossible to protect; and glass had to be imported on the train across Africa, Once arriving in shattered pieces.. Nevertheless, before he left that building was built and the school was in operation. Bless his soul. Similarly, in Human resource Leadership and in his personal life he triumphed over many obstacles to be a great motivation to the villagers and a great husband and father to Kay and Dare. He is a man “who comes through”.
~~ George Packard