Fred Tullai, age 93, passed away on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at the VA hospital in Durham, NC after being admitted for a fall.
He was born on February 20, 1930 in Alden Station, PA. Fred served in the U.S. Marine Corps after his graduation from Essington High School in Pennsylvania. He played football on the Marine Corps team and was always a proud U.S. Marine up until his death.
Fred subsequently got a full athletic scholarship and graduated from the University of Maryland in 1955. While there, he was a four-year letterman in football and a part of Maryland’s 1955 football team that played in the Orange Bowl for a National Title.
Fred met his wife of 67 years, Twila Bender, on a blind date in Washington, D.C. They married on September 3, 1955 in the Chapel at The University of Maryland.
Fred and Twila moved to Chapel Hill, NC in 1956 when Fred accepted a job as an Assistant Football coach at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, under Jim Tatum, his former football coach at Maryland. Fred continued working for UNC Football under Jim Hickey until 1963 when he went into business with Frank Kenan, Sr. in his Truck Stop division, where he worked until his retirement.
Fred was known for his strong work ethic and outgoing personality. He loved his lengthy afternoon workouts at Meadowmont Wellness Center and the socialization he found there.
Another passion of Fred’s was being a gentleman farmer. He loved puttering around at Greystone Farms, his farm in Saxapahaw, NC, and was very involved with his cutting horses he raised and showed professionally. He also raised Black Angus cattle on his farm and served on various boards associated with these passions such as the American Quarterhorse Society, Cutting Horse Association, and even a stint as President of the North Carolina Angus Association.
Fred is survived by his wife of 67 years, Twila Bender Tullai. They resided in Chapel Hill most of their married life and call Chapel Hill home.
He is also survived by his daughter, Valerie Tullai Williams (Eddie) of Chapel Hill, NC; and his son, James (Jim) Moore Tullai of Burlington, NC.
Fred leaves behind 5 grandchildren, Meredith Chilausky (Matt) of Hillsborough, NC; Lawson Williams (Katie) of Atlanta, GA; Melanie Moore (Bo) of Atlanta, GA; Jeffrey Tullai of Chapel Hill; and Ashley Tullai of Chapel Hill.
He is also survived by 10 great-grandchildren who also gave him great joy.
A celebration of life will be held on April 30, 2023 at The Chapel Hill Country Club, 103 Lancaster Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27517 from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Independent Animal Rescue in honor of Fred and his lifelong love of animals.