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Diverse lives, one tragic link

A popular teacher, a much-admired boss, an 'awesome' mother and more. . . . In coming days, The Times will continue to profile the victims of the crash.

September 14, 2008|Gale Holland

Air traffic manager

As an air traffic control manager at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, Walter A. Fuller had earned the respect and admiration of his employees.

"He was a good boss, very fair, very sensitive to his employees," said Fernando Morales, who worked directly under him.

And he liked to commute by train from his Simi Valley home, Morales recalled, to save gas and to "do his part in taking another car off the road."

"He was very knowledgeable and passionate about his career and aviation in general," Morales said.

Fuller, 54, grew up in Simi Valley and spent 15 of his 24 years with the Federal Aviation Administration at the San Francisco tower, Burbank tower, Camarillo tower, the approach control in San Diego and, finally, back at the Burbank tower as air traffic manager, said his supervisor, LAX tower manager Sherry Avery.

"He was working with the union to make Burbank tower a good place to work," she said. "He always had the best of intentions, and you can't say that about everyone."

Fuller was a private pilot and flew a rented plane out of Whiteman Airport in Pacoima at least once a month, Morales said.

Fuller also collected flight memorabilia, including "flight strips" tracking the takeoff point, path and destination of record-setting flights he oversaw.

He and his wife, Jennifer, with whom he had three children, enjoyed taking a recreational vehicle to Carpinteria. He played on a community softball team.

Many of his employees, including Morales, waited up all night Friday "hoping something would come about." Now, Morales has ordered grief counselors for his shaken staff. "We're still in shock," he said. "He was just a great guy."

-- Gale Holland

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