Philip “Bud” Tullis

Date of Birth

February 27, 1938

Date of Death

August 31, 2017

On August 31st, 2017, Philip ‘Bud’ Tullis let go after over 3 years work at recovering from a couple strokes and other health issues. He passed peacefully at home, surrounded by people who loved him.

Born on February 27, 1938 to Henry and Mary Tullis, Bud grew up in Long Beach CA. He spent his summers cowboying in Southern Utah outside of New Harmony for the Huntsman Family. He played football in high school, was president of his high school fraternity and began his life as a prankster and lover of life.

He began his college life in Salt Lake City, Utah, studying Architecture, only to drop out and take over the family welding supply business at age 21. His change in career had to do only a little bit with the fact that the ski slopes were more interesting to him than the classroom. But most importantly, he met his wife of over 50 years in Salt Lake City during his time there.

His return to CA and the welding supply business brought him to reside in Seal Beach, CA where he and his wife Barbara began their family. Deciding to follow his dream, Bud returned to school; first at Cal State Fullerton to receive his Bachelor’s degree and then continuing on at Cal State Long Beach where he received his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts in 1976. He apprenticed under Art Espenet Carpenter at the Bolinas Craft Guild and further honed his skills as an accomplished woodworker.

After graduation, he began his 38 year career designing and building high-end designer craft furniture. In 1977, with his wife and three daughters, he moved his family to the Santa Ynez Valley where he could build his shop and continue to make amazing hand designed furniture and cabinets. He especially enjoyed collaborating with his clients to create one of a kind, individual pieces to fit their homes and needs. Even the cabinetry he built went beyond average in its beauty and design.

In the 80s, he began working with world renowned designer Paul Tuttle, taking Paul’s designs and turning them into functional furniture.

Bud continued to design and build his own furniture up until his first stroke in the summer of 2014. In his later years, he became interested in combining materials, especially metals and wood, in his pieces and venturing into sculpture.

Bud was involved in many different organizations throughout his life. He was a Girl Scout leader for many years in his daughter’s troops, worked with 4-H with both his daughters and granddaughters, and was a member of the Santa Barbara Trail Riders. An advocate for youth, he served on the Solvang School Board, worked to bring a youth center to the Valley in the 80s, and volunteered to build sets for the theater department and help out the local shop class at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School. He was a founding member of Mobilé a collaborative of both fine artists and craftsmen and a founding member of the Santa Ynez Valley Woodworkers Guild.

With all his accomplishments, what Bud is truly known for is his outgoing, warm and loyal personality. Ever the jokester, Bud loved a good laugh with friends and family. A music connoisseur, he attended music festivals and concerts throughout his life; from Jazz at the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach to classical music at UCSB to the Live Oak Music Festival. He was an avid outdoorsman and loved his yearly ‘men’s’ trip to the Sierras to fish and explore, share stories and a few drinks.

He will be lovingly missed by his wife, Barbara, three daughters, Diana, Zoe and Julie, his son-in-laws Brian and Zach and his five granddaughters, Kayla, Zefa, Lily, Sofia and Zinnia, along with countless other people whose lives he touched and inspired. His family wishes to thank Kelli Vannasap, for her loving care of Bud in the last three years. His family will be celebrating his life in late October. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation in his name to The Wildling Museum or The Elverhoj Museum, and help continue his desire to support and promote the arts.


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