Friends and family remember Michael Kullman as a kind-hearted, caring and deeply religious young man. The 20-year-old industrial technology and packaging senior was found dead on Jan. 4 in Montaña de Oro State Park.
“He was just a light, an absolute light,” Michael’s father Darrel Kullman said. “[A] wonderful, wonderful person.”
Michael was an active member of his hometown church, Grace Bible Church in Arroyo Grande, as well as Cru, a Christian ministry that holds weekly bible studies on campus. He also participated in international mission trips, including one to Tijuana, where Darrel said his son ministered to locals.
“He was very serious about his faith in Christ and he was the person [who] would always go after the lowliest of people,” Darrel said. “There was one man way out in the distance, and [Michael] motioned to one of the translators . . . and they walked way over on a desolate hillside, on a pile of trash, and just ministered to that one lone man, and that was my son.”
Michael was also passionate about art, surfing and industrial technology, and was an active and adventurous person, Charlotte Ross, a friend of Michael’s since freshman year of high school, said.
“He was always very active, very adventurous,” Ross said. “He loved surfing. He loved hanging out with all of his friends. He was just one of those really great kids that I don’t think anyone would ever dislike because he was always smiling and always laughing. He always seemed to have a really light sense of heart and always cared about everybody he met.”
Michael was raised in Arroyo Grande. Both his father and friends said Michael expressed his pride in being a part of the Cal Poly community and the love the community gave back to him.
“He was a Mustang — he just loved being at Cal Poly,” Darrel said.
On Tuesday, Jan. 8, Cru hosted a gathering in honor of Kullman at Chumash Auditorium.
“You could really feel it in the room, just how many people loved him and appreciated having him in their life. I don’t think anyone there was a stranger,” Ross said. “It didn’t matter when you met him or how long you knew him, I think everybody felt a deep connection with him.”
A GoFundMe was set up on Friday, Jan. 4 with an original goal of raising $20,000 for his family. As of Jan. 13, the page had raised $31,730 of the new $50,000 goal.
A memorial service for Michael was held Sunday, Jan. 13 at Grace Bible Church in Arroyo Grande.