Wesley F. Cullins, Class of 1944

April 26, 2003
Santa Paula News
By B. J. Harding, President, SPUHS Alumni Association Biography #204 (Have you submitted yours?)The only child of Gordon “Shorty” and Nola Bennet Cullins (’24) was born in Santa Paula. He attended McKevett and Isbell grade schools, and recalls teachers Thelma Bedell, Blanche Rogers and Mary Caldwell as all being very special.At SPUHS Wes was in Hi-Y all four years, serving as president his sophomore year. He was a charter member of Future Farmers of America at SPUHS. FFA was started at SPUHS in 1941 by Robert Lutz. Bob left at the end of 1942 to join Uncle Sam’s Army, and Gordon Woods came to Santa Paula to take over the agriculture classes. Wes served as Sentinel in this organization. Some of his classmates were Virginia Faudree, “Toopie” Culbertson, Dick Butcher, Bill Carson, Helen Palmore and Peggy Prieur. However, in his junior year Wes met Bernadine Barger (’45), and it was love at first sight. He could see no other the rest of his time at SPUHS.Following graduation, Wes went to San Diego for boot camp with the U.S. Navy, and then to radar school at Point Loma. He became engaged to Bernadine, and was soon sent to Astoria, Oregon to be put on a Kaiser ship. This ship took 5,000 Marines to the Pacific Theater. While working on radar on the bridge in July of 1944, Wes fell and injured his knee and leg and was in the hospital for nine months. During this time Wes and Bernadine were married, and in September of 1945 Wes received a medical discharge from the Navy. Wes and Bernadine’s marriage lasted for 23 years and resulted in two wonderful children, Gary, Class of 1963, and Linda, Class of 1965.When released from the Navy, Wes went to work for Morgan Coe at the Santa Paula Chronicle as circulation manager. He then went to Citizens State Bank to work for Douglas Shively (’15). Other employees who were at Citizens when Wes joined them were Fred Crone, Tom Riley (’27), George Whitlock, Mary Stone (’43), Marvin Johnson (’32), and Lou Stuber.
During his employment at Citizens, Wes graduated from the Pacific Coast Banking School which was a part of the University of Washington in Seattle. This was a three week summer school for three consecutive years. Additionally, Wes continued to take American Institute of Banking courses at Ventura High School night school. After 41 years at Citizens, Wes retired.Wes married Conchita Agraz and they spent many years ballroom dancing and traveling the world on tours and cruises. Conchita is now confined to the Victoria Care Center, and Wes visits her daily since he is no longer able to care for her at home.Wes is a member of the Fillmore/Santa Paula Lodge #291 F.&AM, the Order of the Eastern Star, the Scottish Rite of Free Masonry, and the Al Malaika Temple of Los Angeles.

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