WEST ROCKPORT - Francis P. Kulle, 60, recognized as a leader in Maine's commercial fish processing industry, died suddenly Saturday, January 31, 2015, at Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport.
Born in Springfield, MA, July 28, 1954, he was the son of William T., Sr. and Lillian J. Bauer Kulle.
Growing up in East Longmeadow, he attended local schools and was a 1972 graduate of East Longmeadow High School.
While working on a political campaign in Massachusetts, Fran met his future wife, Joan Huber. After the campaign, they moved to Joan's hometown of Rockland, Maine and Fran from that day forward made Rockland and Maine his home as well. They were married in Rockland, October 25, 1980.
Fran began his career in the seafood processing industry with Lipman Brothers in Portland and rapidly moved into the position of production manager. In 1980 he became production manager with ZAPATA Corporation's Port Clyde Sea Foods Division and was soon promoted to Operational Manager of Port Clyde Foods.
From 1987 through 1999, he purchased, reorganized and transformed sardine plants in Stonington and Lubec. Fran formed Stonington Canning Company and Lubec Packing Company, growing both those companies to employ more packers and operate longer seasons than had been previously accomplished.
Most recently he started a lobster bait business, The Bait Shack, on the Rockland Fish Pier with 2 of his friends.
He was an active member and past Chairman of both the Maine Sardine Council and Marine Resources Advisory Council.
In all his business ventures, Fran was always willing to help people, sharing with them his knowledge and advice. He assisted many people in startup business and held a special place in his heart for Veterans whom he would employ.
Fran was a passionate man. He loved God, his country, his friends and family. He thought the world of his wife and daughter and they of him. He loved entertaining his friends and family in his home; an accomplished cook, he would often banter to assembled guests to, "Stay out of my kitchen!"
Fran was a collector of antiques, sports cards, and as a youngster, stamps. An avid New York Yankees fan, he also enjoyed golf, politics, the blues, and was a supporter of the annual Rockland Blues Festival. He was a walking encyclopedia and could debate both sides of any issue.
Pre-deceased by his father, Fran is survived by his beloved wife Joan of West Rockport; his mother Lillian J. Strempek and her husband Bill 'Poppy'; his daughter, Lauren Tyler Kulle and her companion Scott Bennett of Sarasota, FL; two brothers, William T. Kulle, III and his wife Norma of Springfield, MA, Aron Kulle and his wife Kathleen of Sarasota, FL; a sister, Theresa Bolte of Tilton, NH; many nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews; as well as sisters and brothers in-law.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, February 7, 2015, at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Wounded Heroes Program of Maine, P.O. Box 1797, Saco, ME, 04072.
To share a memory or condolence with Fran's family, please visit his Book of Memories at www.bchfh.com.