Remembering Our Founder Winston Pulliam

Winston Walden Pulliam Winston Walden Pulliam was born September 12, 1930 at the old Biltmore Hospital located in Biltmore Village and he passed away on July, 27 2015 at the John F. Keever, Jr. Solace Center in Biltmore. During the 84 years in between, Winston traveled the nation and the world, but he made his mark from his business located in the heart of Biltmore Village. He liked to say that he was an old Biltmore boy and the folks of Shiloh, Oakley, and Biltmore were his neighbors, his friends, and his people. His gregarious nature and natural, open smile meant he never met a stranger and every person he met became a friend.

Winston was the youngest of three sons born to Edwin Franklin Pulliam and his wife, Juanita Harrison Pulliam. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers, Lt. Col. Andrew Franklin “Col. Andy” Pulliam and Edwin Thomas “Bud” Pulliam. A child of the Great Depression, Winston’s family made their home with his maternal grandparents, Dr. Nathan Andrew Harrison and his wife, Kittie Mae Poore Harrison. This necessary arrangement due to the times would have a lasting impact on his life and work as he was greatly influenced by his Grandfather Harrison, an entrepreneur and actual horse trader. Dr. Harrison owned an optometry business, sold jewelry, musical instruments, and traded in guns, horses, and other items of value. Winston went everywhere with his grandfather and learned from him the “art of the deal”. He was named after his Godfather, Winston Walden, a close family friend and owner of the Pocahontas Coal Company located close to his maternal grandfather’s business in downtown Asheville. Following Dr. Harrison’s death in 1942, Winston had to go to work to help support the family. He began at Evans’ Esso Service Station in Biltmore Village and worked there throughout his school years. Following graduation from high school, he worked for the Southern Railway until he decided to join the Air Force in (1950) where he went from Private to Staff Sergeant in 21 months. At the end of his four year commitment, he was headed from Pittsburgh, PA to Miami, FL to take a job with Eastern Airlines when he stopped off in Asheville to see his mother and grandmother. His friend, John Evans asked him to look at a small service station on Coxe Ave that was for sale. Winston put his cash of $284 in the cash register and became a business owner that morning. When asked later in life why he would give up a guaranteed job with the airline, he said that while growing up in Asheville, it was the independent business owner who was looked up to in the community. In the late 1950’s, Winston moved his business back to Biltmore when he bought Tri-Co Service Station from his old friend, Trigger Powers. From that humble, small station, he created a business built on hard, honest work, credit for working people, and extended hours of service.

As his business grew, Winston began to acquire real estate as a way to invest his money, most of it in South Asheville along the Hendersonville Road corridor. He became instrumental in the commercial development of that area as well as selling numerous parcels of land throughout the area. In 1983 he founded Executive Realty which became Pulliam Properties in 1999. While he has been known in recent years for his real estate acumen, he will be remembered for his generous nature, his willingness to mentor and support other small businesses as they got started, his stories, and his jokes. He just made people happy to be around him. Winston served on the Valley Springs School Advisory Council, The North Carolina Environmental Commission, the Asheville Planning and Zoning Commission, Asheville Water Authority, the Finance Board of ABCCM. Raised in the Baptist Faith, he joined Saint Matthews Anglican Church in Reems Creek where he served on the Vestry, participated in helping the church with church planting, Mission work, and enjoyed a deep, rigorous, intellectual Bible Study on Sundays and Thursdays. He was a member of Biltmore Masonic Lodge #446, Oasis Shrine, Blue Ridge Chapter Sons of the American Revolution, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the American Legion.