Big Bend Celebrates Bullard’s Life
By Diamond Hunt-Coleman
Senior Outlook Writer
On a rainy afternoon in Tallahassee, a casket adorned with yellow and white flowers lay at the front of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church.
It was time to honor a woman with so many gifts. It was time to celebrate a woman who loved to use her gift of decorating with floral arrangements.
On Sept. 12, Carolyn Cullers Bullard was laid to rest. But before her family could say goodbye to their devoted wife, mother, grandmother and friend, they had to go to church.
Bullard, who was born July 13, 1948, was the eldest of her parents’ children and that is where she learned to lead. Her parents made sure that she and her siblings were raised in a Christian family and that is where her loved ones said she would learn about the importance of a personal walk with God.
On March 12, 1977 she married the now-popular disc jockey Joseph Bullard and from there she would learn the meanings of love and devotion. And on Sept. 6 she would learn the meaning of eternal life when she transitioned to be with Christ, her loved ones said.
As FAMU’s Marching 100 played “Every Praise” by Hezekiah Walker, Carolyn Bullard’s family filed into to the church. Though tears streamed down many faces, heads were still held high.
As Rev. O. Jermaine Simmons lead the church in a hymn, it was evident that friends and family packed the church from wall to wall for a worship service and not a funeral.
The Bethel Missionary Baptist Choir lead the church in a song that was considered to be one of Bullard`s favorites and then it was time for words from friends and family.
“Carolyn`s smile was contagious and her laughter was unique,” said Michelle Jones, a close friend of Bullard’s. “She could walk through trials with grace, poise and peace.”
As her nephew, Kelvin Wells, began to describe his aunt as “a classy lady and so beautiful on the inside,” the sun began to shine.
A slight reminder to the Cullers and Bullard families that she was absent from the body but she could be considered as sitting next to each and every one of them in spirit.
Wells closed off his tribute by saying “Everything I am… Aunt Carolyn`s fingerprint is on it.” This made a perfect segue for The Hundred to honor Bullard one last time.
On the left shoulder of each band member there was a purple ribbon – a sign to the hundred that their voice, Joe Bullard, was going through a hard time at the moment. But more than that the purple ribbon that adorned each uniform was a symbol of a woman who was described as down to earth, loving and genuine.
Before Rev. R.B. Holmes could eulogize Carolyn Bullard, Joseph Bullard, who decided to have his wife’s funeral at the same time they were married 38 years ago, had to say a few words about his wife.
“How do you say goodbye … stairway to heaven I would say,” said Joe Bullard as he recounted one of their favorite songs.
He continued his speech by saying “she was a lady that loved everyone. A lady that knew God. A Colquitt saint called home.”
When it came time to give the eulogy Holmes said “I don’t have to give a eulogy. All I need to give is the benediction.”
He reminded the church that Bullard was a talented woman who wanted nothing in return.
“Sister Bullard was not a lukewarm or lazy Christian. She was gifted and was not ignorant of her gifts,” said Holmes. “She had the gifts of hospitality, encouragement, administration and helps.”
Many people may know Bullard as “the wife of Joe Bullard” or “Joe Bullard`s Wife” and Holmes made one last point before closing his eulogy.”
“Had there been no Carolyn Bullard there`d be no Joe Bullard. He had sense enough to marry a gifted woman,” Holmes said.
With those final words the recessional song played and the Cullers and Bullard families began the processional out of the church. As many passed the casket, a smile graced their faces. They said goodbye to a gifted woman, who family said, wasn’t afraid to die and then they said hello to a saint ready to decorate heaven.