An extraordinary life came to an end when Mary Fulstone Hussman died at her Topaz home on October 17, 2020, after a courageous battle with cancer. A life-long resident of Antelope Valley and a descendant of the pioneer Fulstone family, Mary was born on July 28, 1949, the fourth child of Barton and Margaret Fulstone. Throughout her life, Mary honored her roots and lived a legacy of independence, hard work and integrity in all she did.
Mary was a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a step-mother, an aunt, a grandmother and a friend to many. Her pride and joy were her sons, Cory and Matthew. She taught them many lessons, both by intention and through example, but they always found time for fun when the work was done. They fished, played baseball, rode horses, worked cows, roped and played cards. School was important too, and homework had to be done before the play began. Throughout their school careers, Mary never missed a game, a rodeo, a Halloween parade, a Christmas play or other school event in which they were involved. She particularly enjoyed watching Cory and Matthew play sports and compete in high school rodeo. They traveled many miles together and often slept out under the stars to share these special times and create cherished memories. The boys saw their mother set goals, work to achieve them and never quit. As a young woman, Mary had a house built, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nevada at Reno and helped her parents on the ranch, all the while working two or more “paying jobs.” Mary had many occupations. She was a teacher, a waitress, a motel housekeeper, a cleaner of construction sites, a landscaper, a “Bug Station” attendant, an aerobics instructor, a bookkeeper, a classroom aide and a school secretary. As school secretary at Antelope Union Elementary and Coleville High School, she wore many hats. She was a counselor, a substitute teacher, a disciplinarian, a mediator, a nurse, a mother-surrogate and a mentor to thousands of students in a 41-year career with the Eastern Sierra Unified School District. She loved her work at school and never met a student she didn’t think was worth her time. She cared for the students, let them know she believed in them and taught them to believe in themselves with some tough love thrown in for good measure.
Mary was a woman of many talents and passions. She could embroider, do needlepoint, cross-stitch, hook rugs, quilt and iron. She was an accomplished horse-woman, “could really rope” to quote her sons, build fence with the best of them and skin a dead calf with skill. She was a master irrigator. Mary had a heart as big as all outdoors and room in it for everyone. She was always a champion of the underdog and the marginalized and thought mistakes just earned a person a second chance. She was smart, had a quick wit and wrote poetry. She was also a lady who never used profanity and rarely tolerated it in her presence.
Mary was an “original” and the definition of a strong woman who never stepped away from her convictions. She set the Gold Standard for everyone around her when it came to work ethic. She started working early every day and often worked until after dark to finish what she had set out to accomplish. She worked tirelessly to the end and never expected more of “her crew” than she did of herself. Mary loved her ranch, her cows and Antelope Valley. Year after year, she embraced the challenges that come with a small family ranch and never lost the joy. She took pride in being a good neighbor and a contributing member of the community. She also valued her side jobs with the Little Walker Grazing Association and the Antelope Valley Mutual Water Company.
Work or play, Mary always had fun. She was the “life of the party” and her energy and laughter drove the action. She loved to dance, listen to cowboy music and tell stories. We all watched her blue eyes twinkle as she unfolded tale after tale around the family table and only hoped for more when the time was done.
A special gift arrived on her birthday in 2013 with the birth of her grandson, Tyin Barton Hussman. She loved spending time with him, watching him rope and work with his father and mother. In addition to Tyin, Mary is survived by her two sons, Cory Hussman (Heidi) and Matthew Hussman (Penny), two step-children, Todd Hussman (Diana) and Vickie Bracken (Tim), two sisters, Georgeanne Fulstone-Pucillo (Joe) and Suellen Fulstone (Bill Peterson), two generations of nieces and nephews and her dog, Wilson. Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Barton and Margaret Fulstone, her husband of forty-seven years, Mahlon Hussman, her brother, Ed Fulstone, and many much-loved dogs and horses including Guy, Chuckie, Blue, Stargo, Brownie and Tom.
A Memorial gathering for Mary will be held at the Fulstone Ranch in Topaz on Saturday, November 7, 2020, beginning at Noon with food and memories. A private burial will follow at the Fulstone Family Cemetery in Slinkard. In Mary’s memory, you might plant a tree, rescue a dog, spend time with a child or help a total stranger. Mary would like that. A toy may be brought to the Memorial for the local Christmas toy drive.
She will be missed.