Lem Tull, retired co-founder of Crafton Tull, dies at 85

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 259 views 

Lemuel “Lem” Tull, a co-founder of Rogers-based architecture and engineering firm Crafton Tull, died Thursday morning (Jan. 30) at Mercy Hospital in Rogers. He was 85.

“We will miss Mr. Lem’s encouraging smile and his presence in our community,” the company said in a statement. “His leadership helped make our company what it is today.”

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Tull, who was born in Keo in Lonoke County, graduated from North Little Rock High School and attended Little Rock Junior College before transferring to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He graduated in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

After graduation, he spent two years in the military and then was employed with the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department in Little Rock. During this time, he met and married Margaret Ann Kennan, a Rogers native and licensed nurse. Lem and Margaret have two grown children — Melissa Tull Johnson and Jim Tull, both of whom live in Rogers. Melissa and her husband have three sons, while Jim, now the chief financial officer of Crafton Tull, has two daughters and one son.

In November 1963, Tull persuaded his friend and fellow Highway Department engineer Bob Crafton to join with him and move to Rogers, a city of approximately 6,300 people, to open a private consulting engineering company. Their first office was out of a couple of motel rooms.

Before retiring in 1996, Tull saw the firm experience steady growth in business and number of employees, necessitating moves into larger facilities and expansion to several branch offices.

Crafton Tull has grown from a small, regional firm into a national one, with a little more than 200 employees spread out across 10 offices in nine cities in Arkansas and Oklahoma. The 11th office will open this spring in Chaffee Crossing in Fort Smith.

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