May 2, 1935 – April 12, 2020
Olin Faulkenberry, age 84, a long-time resident of Merritt Island, passed away on Easter Sunday – April 12, 2020. Born May 2, 1935 in Lancaster County, South Carolina, to James Redman and Exie Janie Faulkenberry; he was one of 18 children. After growing up working on the family farm and then the local textile mill, he joined the US Army on December 2, 1954.
He began his military career as an Infantryman (11B10); after his first tour he returned home, working at the textile mill, for 1 month and 21 days – quickly realizing he had more to offer and more to do. He returned to the service and the rest is, as they say – history. And what a history of service it was, for over 22 years. Along the way he was awarded (he would NOT say earned) multiple commendations, service ribbons, and badges; among these were the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He saved countless lives by his selfless actions but spoke only of his wartime service in rare moments with family – and usually because he felt he needed to teach a lesson to the individual(s) with whom he was sharing. He also served as an Intelligence Analyst (96B40) and eventually transitioned into the S4 (Supply, Transportation, & Logistics) field; he retired as a Master Sergeant, having served as 1SG (11B50) for HQ Command FORSCOM, as well as acting Sergeant Major for his last unit in Pirmasens, Germany.
He settled his family on Merritt Island in the summer of 1976; he continued his service to the country and extended it to the community as a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) instructor, shaping the minds and lives of the youth in a way that only he could (even those not enrolled in the JROTC program); initially at Rockledge High School as a temporary position, he quickly found another ‘home’ at Merritt Island High School where he was the Army JROTC instructor for the next 19+ years. Let it be known that he lived with, and will always be known to have, the heart of a MUSTANG. Each of his 5 sons had the honor to be instructed by him over the years, with each one discovering it best to leave “Dad” at home, learning to call him “Sarge” just like everyone else – and this is how his Merritt Island family will always know him, because when one mentions ‘the Sarge’ there is no doubt to whom they refer.
As a loving husband he is preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Sandra Lee Faulkenberry. He is also preceded in death by his parents and 13 brothers and sisters. As a father he is survived by his 5 sons: Marshall (Hellen), James, Bret (Carolyn), Bart (Crystal), and Daniel; his 4 sisters: Margaret Nichols, Aline Lane, Nita Childers, and Geraldine (Mark) Lowery; his 12 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren; and finally, an incredible extended family in his childhood hometown of Lancaster County, South Carolina.
In accordance with the current regulations a private family service will be held on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 at 10:00. A Facebook live stream will be available for viewing by visiting https://www.facebook.com/brevardmemorialfuneral/
A memorial service will be scheduled for a later date to allow for full military honors and a broader participation of loved ones, friends, and others that wish to join the family in celebrating Olin’s life, and the many lives that he touched over the years.
Saturday, August 8, 2020
November 9, 2020
Many remember Sarge as stern. I remember the father figure with what in retrospect must have been the patience of Job. He was with us on every drill team trip and even volunteered to take a group of rifle team guys to a marksmanship camp one summer. I made it through high school because of teachers like Sarge and Col Ferrie, but mostly because of those two in particular. Those two set the example that sent many young people into military careers. When I served at Camp LeJeune, NC, there were no less than 5 former MI JROTC students that were United States Marines on that base at the same time (that I knew of). They created a family out of the MI JROTC corps that forged friendships that have stood the test of time. God bless you Sarge you were of a very rare breed of man!
Alea (Brown) Reis
April 28, 2020
When I got to MIHS, I was a shy girl with no self-confidence what so ever. At the urging of my mother, I signed up for JROTC. I am so glad I listened and joined. I stayed in JROTC my whole time at MIHS and that was because of Sarge and Col Ferrie. Sarge helped mold me into the person I am today. He taught me how to overcome my fears and take charge. I have so many great memories of him that I wouldn't even know where to start. Even to this day, I tell my children about him and the many lessons he taught me. Thank you Sarge for always being there for your students and thank you to his family for sharing such a beautiful soul with us. Rest easy in the arms of the Lord, Sarge. God bless...
April 24, 2020
April 23, 2020
On the drill pad practicing squad drill and Sarge kept teasing me about my voice projection until I got mad and started yelling. Sarge yelled out “See I knew you had it in you!” He changed my life! Love You Sarge
April 22, 2020
Sarge was my JROTC teacher and I’ve had the privilege to be able to join him for breakfast or lunch for the past 25 years. Just after New Years, Sarge came over to my house after we had breakfast at Country Kitchen in Rockledge. We sat and talked for over 4.5 hours and talked. It was an amazing time with him! He was not just a high school teacher and mentor but a father figure to me. My last conversation with him was the first week of April and he was fighting a cold. The last thing he told me was he loved me. This just breaks my heart beyond belief! Sarge, you are already missed and will be missed by many. I’m glad you are in heaven now with your lovely bride, Sandra. RIP Sarge!