(1918 – 1994)
The youngster, hot, tired, and dirty from digging Johnson grassroots, rested against his hoe handle in a field near Athens and watched as his father chatted with the visiting county agent. Impressed with the county agent’s late model car, neatly pressed khakis, and stylish felt hat, J. C. Bullington vowed that one day he’d work for the Extension Service, too.
He kept his vow and lived his dream. For nearly four decades — as a county agent, specialist, and district agent — he poured his heart and soul into his job of helping the rural people of Alabama build better lives. Respected, admired, appreciated, J. C. Bullington was the consummate Extension worker. He did what he set out to do, and he did it with grace and style that not only endeared him to others but built respect and credibility for Auburn University and its mission of Extension.
He graduated from Auburn University in 1939, then set out for Double Springs and his new job as assistant county agent in Winston. That began a career that would lead to Gadsden as county agent in Etowah, to Auburn as Extension field crops specialist, to Jasper as county agent in Walker for 18 years, then to Auburn as district agent for Southeast Alabama for 15 years, before he retired in 1977.
As district agent, Mr. Bullington was noted for a quiet but firm leadership style and for his skill in assembling highly motivated county staff who carried out exceptional educational programs.
His Extension programs in Walker were regarded as among the nation’s best. He earned numerous awards, both state and national, including the National Distinguished Service Award for county agents. In 1957, he served as president of the Alabama Association of County Agricultural Agents.
Mr. Bullington’s continuing concern for youth and his keen desire to create a permanent memorial to deceased Alabama Extension workers led him to a major leadership role in raising funds for the Extension Memorial Chapel. On more than one occasion, he has stood before the chapel’s dedicatory plaque, focusing on the names of close friends and colleagues who had gone before, reliving the memories of shared experiences. Now, his name joins theirs.
Mr. Bullington, 75, died on March 26, 1994, at his home in Auburn. Survivors included two daughters, Beverly Ford and Nancy Whatley; a son, John C. Ill; mother, Ruby; three brothers, Thomas, Wilburn and Wallace Bullington; and a sister Ruby Wray Smith. His wife Edna had died in 1981.
The Alabama chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi is proud to pay tribute to its former president, a man whose life touched so many in so many positive ways. The name John C. (J.C.) Bullington is inscribed on the dedicatory plaque of the Extension Memorial Chapel.
Chapel Plaque Inscription Number: 365