• Lynda Cohen*

Atlantic County family hopes to solve Christmas mystery


The Fuls family is hoping to finally solve a longtime mystery for the holidays. Since 2013, cookies and a card have shown up each Christmas at the graves of Earl and Dorothy Fuls in the Atlantic County Veterans Cemetery in Estelle Manor. “Thank you for helping me come to know how I really am in my time of great distress,” one reads. “Your gift has sustained me and given me hope. I know (you’re) with those you love everyday, everywhere. Your presence is a treasure.” None of the family seems to know who is leaving the gifts. But this year, the mystery sparked granddaughter Shelly Fuls to try to track the person down. When she and her father, also Earl, arrived at the cemetery Christmas Day, they saw a woman leaving the area with a bag. When they got to the graves, there were the cookies and a card. This time, it was signed “J,” the first clue to who the person may be. Shelly Fuls posted photos on her Facebook page asking for help in finding the person who has offered annual thanks to her grandparents.


Earl Fuls died Feb. 23, 1997. Exactly five years later, his beloved wife passed away. They had been born five years apart as well, both in the month of August. And the couple had five children. “They were very loving parents,” said Earl Fuls, the second youngest of the children raised in Atlantic City and Hammonton. “Very kind-hearted parents.” “They were the best grandparents,” Shelly Fuls chimed in. She remembers her grandmother always made cookies, making the confections left at the graves a fitting tribute.

The father and daughter came to the cemetery Thursday, after they got off work at Lowe's in Egg Harbor Township. The Galloway Township pair are hoping increasing media attention will help solve the mystery. The family isn’t surprised that the couple would have done something to make someone’s life better. They just want to know who it is. And maybe hear a new story about the long-gone patriarch and matriarch of their family. “We want them to reach out to us,” Shelly Fuls said. “Even if they don’t want to tell us exactly what they did, we just want them to know we’re here, and we can be their comfort.” If the person would like to notify the family, they can go to Shelly Fuls’ facebook page HERE.

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