“He lived and breathed vocational education,” said Georgia Northwestern Technical College President Craig McDaniel.
Culberson died Monday at the age of 96.
McDaniel said the video department at the college put together a history of the school a number of years ago and was able to trace its roots, and the influence of Culberson, all the way back to 1946.
Culberson was able to attract funding to provide vocational skills training for servicemen who were re-acclimating to the community after World War II and the Korean War.
“Fifteen to 16 years before Coosa Valley Tech was ever created there was a vocational education presence,” McDaniel said. “It was supported by the Rome City Schools, Floyd County Schools and the Chamber of Commerce.”
The Coosa Valley Tech campus on Cedar Avenue opened in 1962, but a formal open house did not take place until 1964.
“He brought in all of the movers and shakers from Floyd County. He had Georgia Power and people from law firms and the health care community,” McDaniel said. “He understood vocational education about as well as anybody.”
When the college was created 50 years ago, Culberson was credited for building the case for a separate technical college. McDaniel said the calendar has advanced, but the fundamental function and purpose of the college remains much as Culberson first determined.
“When it was founded, and money was made available, it was to meet the changing needs of businesses and industry,” McDaniel said. “The demands of business and industry required people who could work in a more mechanical or automated environment. Of course, that’s what we’re being faced with now with all of the robots and the industrial systems that have become so computer driven.”
Culberson served as the first administrator or the college until 1969 when J. Derward Powell succeeded him.
Culberson moved on to a position with Floyd County Schools until his retirement.
Culberson was also a member of the first family of sports in the Shannon community. One of five Culberson brothers, Maurice was a star athlete at Model, then Darlington. He set the state record in the 440 yard dash in 1934, completing a turn around the track in 53.8 seconds. Culberson then took his talents in football and track to the University of Chattanooga. He was also a star baseball player in the Northwest Georgia Textile League.
A memorial service for Culberson is planned for Friday at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Rome. The family will receive friends at the church from 1 p.m. until the funeral hour.