Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Anthony Fulwood, 72, bodyguard for Frank Rizzo, Lynne Abraham and Ron Castille

Rizzo’s son, Frank Jr., said Tony was like a member of the family.wb,ch

TONY FULWOOD had tears in his eyes when he walked into Frank Rizzo's hospital room and saw the mayor in the bed with a broken leg.

Tony felt responsible for the injury, even though it was an accident and even though he was doing his job of protecting the mayor when an explosion rocked the Arco refinery in a nine-alarm fire in 1976, and he fell on Rizzo to protect him from the blast.

"I hope you're not upset with me," Tony blubbered. "I wish I was in that bed instead of you."

"You know, Tony," Rizzo said. "So do I."

Despite the levity, Rizzo hadn't the slightest inclination to blame his bodyguard for the injury. Theirs was a father-son relationship built on mutual respect and love.

Anthony Fulwood, a police officer who served as bodyguard for Rizzo through his terms as police commissioner and mayor, then did the same for Lynne Abraham for 17 years when she was district attorney, then for Ronald Castille, former Pennsylvania chief justice, for several years, died Wednesday of blood cancer. He was 72 and lived in Wynnefield.

"He took care of people," said his wife, Sandra, a retired undercover narcotics officer. "He cared for everyone. If you asked him for something, he was there.

"He was a goodie. He was a gem. He would really give you the shirt off his back."

"He was like family," said Frank Rizzo Jr., former City Councilman and son of the late mayor. "He was part of my life growing up."

His mother cooked dinner for Tony and the other officers assigned to him. When Rizzo died in 1991, Tony would often come by to be with his widow.

"Tony always called my Dad commissioner, even after he became mayor," Rizzo said. "Dad loved him like a second son.

"He liked to kid Tony about why he picked him for his bodyguard. He told him it was not because he was a good cop, but because he was bigger than him."

"He was a first-class, terrific human being," said Lynne Abraham, Philadelphia district attorney from 1991 to 2010. "We were like Mutt and Jeff. He was 6-5 and I was 5-1. It was comical to think that you couldn't find me in his shadow."

She said that Tony had a remarkable knowledge of the city. "He knew the city backward and forward. He knew every street, every back alley, every shortcut. Wherever I wanted to go, he knew immediately how to get there."

When her husband, radio personality Frank Ford, became ill, Tony spent time with him and helped him with whatever he needed. Ford died in 2009 at 92.

"Tony was a compassionate, super guy," Lynne said.

After he left Lynne Abraham, he became Ron Castille's bodyguard. Castille was chief justice and retired last year when he reached the age of 70.

Tony was a Civil War buff and on his days off often visited battlefields.

Tony was born in Philadelphia to Toney Fulwood and Addie Lee Jones. He graduated from Simon Gratz High School and joined the Air Force. He served as an air policeman with the Strategic Air Command in Newfoundland.

After his discharge, he joined the Police Department in 1966. He served as a patrol officer in Frankford before being tapped by Rizzo, then the police commissioner, as his bodyguard.

His first marriage ended in divorce. Besides his wife, he is survived by a stepdaughter, Michelle Haines Hegerman, a detective in Southwest Detective Division; a daughter, Barbara Antoinette Fulwood; and two sisters, Lucille Fields and Vera Wilson.

Services: 11 a.m. Thursday at Deliverance Evangelistic Church, 2010 W. Lehigh Ave. Friends may call at 9 a.m. Burial will be at Eden Cemetery in Collingdale.