City of Oaks Funeral Home & Cremation

Obituary
Hugh Cullman

Pittsboro, North Carolina

Age 100.
Died 11/04/2023.

Hugh Cullman
Hugh Cullman, a former naval officer and Vice Chairman and Director of Philip Morris Companies, now the Altria Group, died at his home in Pittsboro, North Carolina on November 4. He was 100 years old.

Born in New York City on January 27, 1923, into a family of prominent tobacco merchants, he attended the Little Red School House, the city’s first progressive school, which he did not enjoy and later Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire, which he did. An avid skier with an analytical bent, he chose Kimball Union by plotting schools on to a snow fall map of New England, shunning the ones preferred by his family for the one with the most snow. Following America’s entry into World War II, he set his sights on serving his country and entered the United States Naval Academy in 1942. Having suffered a serious eye injury playing lacrosse, he made it through the Naval Academy by memorizing all the charts used for the eye exams. Graduating in 1945, he went on to serve in the Pacific theater aboard the Destroyer USS Metcalf.

Between WWII and Korea, he both joined the family cigarette business, Benson & Hedges, and married Nan Alva Ogburn of Smithfield, North Carolina who he met while in town buying tobacco. During the Korean War, he was recalled to active service and served on the staff of US Naval Forces in Germany as aide to Admiral Holden.

After the war, he returned to Benson & Hedges which was acquired by Philip Morris in 1954, at which time he was appointed Director of Market Research. For the next 34 years, he held positions in virtually every aspect of the business, including leaf manufacturing, finance, and brand management and was largely responsible for building the Philip Morris international business which he led from 1967-1978. At one of the events celebrating his retirement in 1988, a colleague described him as “the hardest worker … passionate about quality … the vigilant guardian of Philip Morris standards.” Also known for his dogged conscientiousness, a running corporate joke was made at another retirement event - “Either you clean up this mess or we’ll put Hugh Cullman on it.”

In addition to his love of the sea and the tobacco business, he supported many non-profit and charitable institutions including the United Negro College Fund where he served as Chairman from 1987 to 1989. He also served as a trustee of the American Farm School in Thessaloniki, Greece and on committees of both the United States Council for International Business and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

An active supporter of both his alma maters, he established the Cullman Scholarship Program at Kimball Union that for the last 40 years has provided hundreds of students with off-campus opportunities to explore global and environmental issues. At the Naval Academy, though hardly a digital native, he became a major supporter of the Academy’s Center for Cyber Security Studies.


In 1991, after a long campaign waged by his southern wife, he retired to the seaside town of Beaufort, North Carolina where he kept a small armada off the dock in his front yard and became a dedicated supporter of organizations such as the North Carolina Symphony, the NC Coastal Federation and the Beaufort Maritime Museum. He also finally had time to join his wife, Nan, on her worldwide adventures, spending much of the year hunting for fossils in Niger, observing penguins in Antarctica and hiking in the Alps. In the early 2000s, he moved to the retirement community of Galloway Ridge in Pittsboro, North Carolina where he was an active member in community affairs well into his 90s.

Hugh Cullman is survived by his three children, Katherine Hedges, Hugh Cullman Jr and Alexandra Haslingden, as well as 9 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren as well as his brother, Brian Cullman and sister, Marguerite Cullman. His wife pre-deceased him.

A service of remembrance will be held on January 10, 2024 at St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Beaufort, NC. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to: US Naval Academy Center for Securities Studies, Kimball Union Academy Cullman Scholars Program or the Kidney Center of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill NC.

For additional information or for service details, please reach out to the family directly.


You can share this obituary using the following address, or click the button below to share on Facebook.

City of Oaks Cremation and Funeral Home is a full-service funeral home in Raleigh, serving all of North Carolina and beyond. We provide an alternative to costly funeral homes and every day we help families in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and all over North Carolina make simple, affordable funeral arrangements.

Simply having to reach out to a funeral home can feel overwhelming. Our goal is to simplify the entire funeral home experience and make the process as easy as possible. We hope to eliminate any unnecessary surprises by publishing our total cost and the services we provide directly on our website. All of our obituaries are provided free of charge as a way to help families celebrate and commemorate the lives of their loved ones.

Our Promise

Apples to Apples

Just like all other licensed funeral homes in North Carolina, City of Oaks Cremation, LLC is regulated by the NC Board of Funeral Service.


The same laws that apply to the big corporate funeral homes also apply to the modest independently owned firms like ours. All crematories in North Carolina, regardless of who owns them, are inspected annually by the state and must adhere to the same rules and laws.

Genuine Care

We're committed to providing families within our community unsurpassed service before, during and after the time of loss.


Our staff will provide clear communication to your family through each step as we move forward from the original phone call notifying us of a death to the time we deliver the urn back to your family. We will treat your family with the utmost respect, as we honor the wishes of your loved one.


We promise to make this process affordable and as endurable as possible.

State Wide

Our Funeral Home is located in Wake County NC; however, we provide our services to families throughout the entire State.


Unlike other funeral homes, we don't charge an additional mileage fee. Regardless of what county you live in, we can help your family with making simple, affordable funeral arrangements. From Asheville to Wilmington, we're proud to help families statewide.

Our Services

icon
Direct Cremation

$1196.75

Nobody likes surprise costs added in at the last minute. We guarantee you will not find any hidden charges here. We include everything you need for a simple or direct cremation. Simple, affordable and reliable. We have not changed the cost of our direct cremation service since we opened City of Oaks in 2012.

icon
Cremation with Visitation

$1917.84

City of Oaks Funeral Home and Cremation provides an affordable cremation option with onsite visitation. Nobody likes surprise costs added in at the last minute. We guarantee you will not find any hidden charges here. Simple, affordable and reliable.

icon
Immediate Burial

$2497.50

An immediate burial has the same end result as a traditional burial; however, we have eliminated the extra (sometimes unnecessary) services prior to getting to the cemetery. Not everyone wants an open casket for viewing or a limousine for the family. Despite the term immediate, we can move as fast as you need or as slow as you like. This option simply allows you to save money by eliminating some of the fancy extras at the funeral home.

icon
Traditional Funeral

$5866.98

We offer the same traditional funeral services as the big corporately owned funeral homes in the area; however, we cost about half the amount. You might consider a traditional funeral service if your family is looking for an open casket visitation, a traditional church service or a funeral service in the funeral home's chapel. A traditional funeral service can be altered to fit the needs of your family.

icon
Green Burial

$3033.75

This establishment is one of a select number of funeral homes who meet the criteria for providing green funeral service by the Green Burial Council; a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization working to encourage environmentally sustainability in the field of funeral service. Our Green options allow for a funeral to take place without the use of toxic and non-biodegradable materials/chemicals.

icon
Aquamation

$2640.59

As an alternative to traditional cremation, City of Oaks Funeral Home also offers Aquamation. The Aquamation process, often referred to as alkaline hydrolysis, uses a solution of water and potassium hydroxide to facilitate natural decomposition.

City of Oaks Funeral Home & Cremations