Prominent lawyer remembered for his altruism and humility

John Fuller in his younger days (Photo courtesy Derek Barrett)
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Altruistic, humble and passionate are just some of the words being used to describe the late prominent attorney and environmentalist, John Fuller.

Fuller, who was said to be in his mid-70s, died on Tuesday at his home in Hodges Bay.

His son Eli Fuller told Observer that, outside of the courtroom, his father had a love for nature and his native Antigua.

“He grew up spending a lot of time on the water and I think first and foremost he was into nature and conservation and the environment,” he said.

However, he ended up pursuing a legal career in the early 1970s as he continued to demonstrate that he “loved Antigua and Barbuda”.

Fuller further shared that his father, “a strong family man”, was committed to the field and did whatever he could to assist people, no matter their background.

“He wanted to give back and I think this sort of notion that the least fortunate people have to be looked after and have to be helped, that was something that was really part of his life,” Eli stated.

Eli explained that John was consumed by his love for the profession and more so for helping others.

“Him being a lawyer was tough for the family. The phone never stopped ringing…we didn’t really like it.

“Even his last years was very frustrating because he knew he needed to retire and people would still be calling, looking for help.

“I’m sure even his last week people were looking for help. He saw that as being probably more important than anything else in his life,” he added.

Attorney Kenny Kentish who worked extensively with Fuller for a number of years, explained that his colleague and longtime friend was a humanitarian who connected deeply with the community.

“John was, for instance, a great environmentalist. John developed connections all over the world because of his interest in protecting the environment and that was a cause which he took up and never put down, even when he retired from his practice over a year ago,” he reflected.

He even recounted one occasion where John stood with others in the original public library building to stop it from being bulldozed.

“That was a badge that he wore with honour,” remarked Kentish.

Kentish also said Fuller had a number of characteristics which he hopes younger people in the profession will emulate.

“John walked with princes and paupers and treated all of them the same way. He was a very humble man,” he said.

Meanwhile, the President of the Antigua and Barbuda Bar Association, Lenworth Johnson, remembered John as irreproachable in the conduct of his profession and his personal life, and was essentially a man of character.

“He was all about service; it was not about money. We have already spoken about his altruism, and to me, what I remember about John and what we will always remember about John is that for John it was about justice…he would represent anyone, government, political persons, UPP, ALP whosoever.

“It wasn’t about money. It was about the justice of the case,” Johnson stated.

He also spoke to Fuller’s contribution to the legal profession and to the country on a whole, saying that “he was a lawyer’s lawyer, he was a poor man’s lawyer, he was a middle-class man’s lawyer”.

John was also known throughout the country for his sharp wit and sound knowledge of the law.

During his more than 40 years as a practicing attorney, he took on a number of high-profile cases.

In a social media post, former minister of education Dr Jacqui Quinn referred to John Fuller as a “legend”, while attorney Amaya Athill Gilkes said he was an “icon in the legal fraternity”.

The Antigua and Barbuda Sports Fishing Club also offered condolences to the family, saying, “John would easily be one of the longest participating members of the … club, and has won multiple awards in all categories.

“His passion for historical artifacts and a life spent on the ocean are evident through his children and grandchildren.

“Not only did he entertain the courts as a well-respected and successful lawyer, he was always a humble person and respected everyone from all walks of life.”

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