Brother Neri Fulton, O.S.F.

Robert Fulton was born in Wilmington, Delaware on December 20 , 1934, the son of Cecilia and Stanley Fulton. He graduated from St. Francis Prep in 1952 and entered the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn on July 20th, 1954. He received the Franciscan Habit and the religious name "Neri" on January 30th, 1955. After completing his novitiate, in Wyandanch on January 20th, 1957 Brother Neri taught in several elementary schools including St. Brigid's, Our Lady of Angels and Our Lady of Good Counsel, (all in Brooklyn) and Notre Dame in New Hyde Park. In 1966-1967, he taught at Bishop Ford High School in Brooklyn. Brother Neri came to St. Anthony's High School, Smithtown in 1967 where he assumed the duties of Chairman of the Social Studies Department as well as being the Plant Supervisor. During the past forty years Brother Neri has been involved in many different roles. For a time he was Chairman of the Physical Education Department as well as the school's Activities Director. However his love of football has kept him coaching Freshmen and Sophomores. As assistant to the Athletic Director he was responsible for the distribution and collection of team uniforms while he oversaw the upkeep and maintenance of most of the equipment needed by the teams. "He would come into the cafeteria and say, "All right," Brother Neri's nephew recalled. "Before he could say,"Clean it up," everybody's heads were under the table, picking up garbage." But beneath the boom, the Franciscan Brother and JV football coach was a teddy bear. Friends and colleagues will remember Brother Neri as gregarious, charming and not willing to retire, even as he became more frail with age. "He was an old-time coach," recalled Rich Reichert, St. Anthony's varsity football coach and a former student of Brother Neri. "He would yell at you and then he would hug you." In 1998, Brother Neri was inducted into St. Anthony's High School Hall of Fame. In 2003, the Catholic High School Football League named its regular-season AAA trophy after Brother Neri. On Sundays and holidays, Brother Neri would visit one of his dozen nieces and nephews, helping with dinner or bringing over his favorite Polish cookies dusted with sugar