Frank Gullatte, 94: Stood for helping working people

Frank Gullatte worked hard throughout his life, instilling his knowledge of labor in Georgia workers and the lives of his seven children.

Gullatte grew up on a farm in Chambers County, Alabama, and as a child worked alongside George Washington Carver. He may have been a country boy, but he was often mistaken for a Harvard man.

Gullatte moved to Georgia and got a job as a construction worker assisting the late Mayor Maynard Jackson in building Atlanta Municipal Airport, now known as Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

In the early 1960s, on the first Tuesday of every month Gullatte attended the Atlanta Laborers Local union meetings. He had no car but walked from his home in Marietta to the bus line that would take him to Union Hall off Edgewood Avenue every month.

He was a serious man, and his attendance at every meeting landed him a position in the union. Soon he became president of Atlanta Laborers Local 438 and 7th District Vice President of the Georgia State AFL-CIO.

“He truly wanted the average worker to benefit from their efforts,” said his daughter Linda Gullatte. “He wanted the capitalists to benefit and the common worker to benefit in a balanced way.”

He also instilled that idea of balance in his children. “He never told us we were as good as anybody, he told us to be as good as we can be,” said Gullatte. “He was a very good father. He wasn’t perfect, but he was perfect for us.”

Frank C. Gullatte died in his home Thursday of natural causes. He was 94. A graveside funeral will be 11 a.m. Wednesday at Georgia Memorial Park, 2000 Cobb Parkway Marietta. Hanley-Shelton Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

“Frank Gullatte contributed so much, over many years, to the causes and well-being of the workers who needed a strong and understanding voice in the marketplace,” state Senior Judge Dorothy Toth Beasley said in a statement.

Last year, the Georgia Senate honored Gullatte with a resolution recognizing his accomplishments on behalf of Georgia workers.

After working 38 years in the Atlanta Laborers, Gullatte retired. He said he wouldn’t work again but could not resist the urge to help build a local hardware store.

“He was extraordinary to us, but he touched so many,” said daughter Merrol Moore.

In addition to his daughters Gullatte is survived by his wife of 70 years, Carrie Gullatte; sons Wesley Gullatte of Nashville, Rodney Gullatte of Marietta; and daughters Linda Gullatte of Roswell and Brenda Gullatte of Roswell. Sons Ken Gullatte and Gerald Gullatte preceded their father in death.