Elthopia Vivens Fuller was born on September 16, 1948 in Stockton, California to her parents, Simon and Hattie Mae Vivens. She was the third child of five born to this union. She was raised with her siblings, Twelveress, Simon Jr., Zabra, and Orlando. After leading an exemplary life, full of love and purpose, she was called home on April 30, 2022.
As a child, Elthopia was known to be shy, yet confident and was quite the mediator. Having an early enthusiasm for learning, she was educated through Denver Public Schools (DPS) and was a proud Thunderbolt. She was a cheerleader throughout her high school years and graduated from Manual High School in 1966. With an unwavering commitment to education, she pursued further education by attending the University of Northern Colorado Greeley (UNC), where she obtained her undergraduate degree in English Speech Arts and Drama, and later her master’s degree in Administration, at the University of Denver. While attending UNC, she met a young man by the name of Frederick Fuller, who she later joined in holy matrimony on April 10, 1971 at Central Baptist Church. One of the couple's fondest memories included Elthopia putting her hands on the back of Fred’s neck to soothe him while he drove.
Following her graduation from UNC, she served in the field of education for over 30 years. She specialized in teaching English and Drama and was later promoted to Assistant Principal. Elthopia always worked with a spirit of excellence and had quite the accomplished career. She was a dynamic public speaker who taught debate and extemporaneous speaking classes - frequently leading her students to win first place in regional and state oratorical contests.
By the time of her retirement, Elthopia would have taught over 600 students, as well as served thousands in her role as Assistant Principal in the DPS community. She was so beloved and engaging as an educator, that it was not out of the ordinary to see her students often wanting to stay longer than class time allowed. Throughout her career, she touched the lives of so many students, bringing joy and wisdom into every classroom she entered; while inspiring her students towards the greatness she knew they were capable of.
As a couple, Elthopia and Fred were blessed with the birth of their three children, Shamie, Tia and Ashton. They took pride in being the best parents that they could to their children, providing and securing opportunities to prepare them for their futures. Elthopia often stayed up late nights to help them study and assist with their music lessons. She was a natural musician and dynamic vocalist, while Fred was a skilled bassist. Together, the couple collectively inspired their children to pick up instruments, including piano, flute, saxophone and drums. Early on Elthopia and Fred formulated a jazz band called “Fuller Sound” which later included Shamie ( piano), Tia (piano) and Ashton (drums). Elthopia and Fred were relentless about producing and recording an album, “Fuller Sound” which was released in 1998. This album can often be heard playing on the local jazz radio station 88.3, KUVO.
Her children recall how brilliant their mother was and the joy she expressed when they took interest in her love of Shakespeare and other classic authors. Although she had high expectations for the family, she always made time for fun. They went to Disney theme parks, took cruises, and even went on ski trips, even though they could not actually make it down the hill.
To know Elthopia was to love her. She was hardworking, a sharp dresser and always diligent. She took care of everyone, shared wisdom, and sacrificed a lot of her time. Some may not know, but she was comical and witty in her comments. She enjoyed reading “The Joy of Music” in the summers, cleaning the house every Saturday morning; and spending time with her friends, Connie Wint, Brenda Hale,
Roselyn Underwood, Barbara Batey, Donald Lane, Ray Rambo and Carolyn. Most importantly she enjoyed quality time with her family, which was priceless to her. She gained an additional source of pride and joy when she was blessed with her grandchildren, Koleby and Kinyah Royston. She loved being able to care for them when they were babies and to spend so much of their earliest years with them, a grandmother’s dream.
A woman of faith, Elthopia knew that her help came from the Lord, and she was a devout member of Park Hill and Dahlia Church of Christ for more than 15 years. Nonetheless, “Well done thy good and faithful servant.”
She is preceded in death by her parents, Simon and Hattie Mae Vivens.
Elthopia has now joined her Lord and Savior, only after such a life well-lived. Those left to cherish her memory include, her husband of 51 years, Frederick Fuller; children, Shamie, Tia and Ashton; siblings, Twelveress Gillis (Charles), Simon Vivens Jr., Zabra Harrell (Jules), and Orlando Vivens (Arlene), ; grandchildren, Koleby and Kinyah Royston; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
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