January 16, 1922 – August 28, 2018
Robert Frank Faulkner (Bob) went to be with his Lord and Savior on August 28, 2018, at the age of 96, passing away at his home in Tyler after losing a battle with Melanoma. Born in Duncan, Oklahoma on January 16, 1922, Bob and his family moved to Electra when he was ten years old, where he later graduated high school and met his future wife, Gloria Beth Weatherall. After a stint in the military and completion of his college degree, Bob and Beth moved to Tyler in 1948.
Bob was instrumental in many of the institutions enjoyed by so many Tyler families today. In coordination with the cities of Tyler and Lindale, he established a Faulkner Park in both locations on land he had owned, and was particularly proud of his Sprayground water park at the Tyler location.
Bob was a life-long tennis enthusiast, having lettered on the tennis team at the University of Oklahoma. He was a co-founder of the Tyler Tennis and Swim Club (now the Tyler Athletic and Swim Club), which became the center of tennis in East Texas, and he established the Faulkner Tennis Center at Faulkner Park. He was an enthusiastic supporter of tennis in Tyler, acting as a volunteer assistant coach at both high schools, sponsoring an awards dinner for John Tyler players, and "hosting" the United States Tennis Association Bob Faulkner Junior Major Zone tennis tournament, played in Tyler ever summer by the best juniors in the state of Texas. He was well known for giving out "Percy Awards" (actually eagle's wings) to deserving players, the award being named after Percy the Persevering Mouse.
Bob was also a life-long golfer. In addition to being a long-time member of Willowbrook Country Club, Bob was co-founder of both Briarwood Country Club (now known as Cascades) and Hollytree Country Club, and was club golf champion at Briarwood for three years.
Bob truly had a servant's heart. For almost 50 years, he dressed up and played Santa Claus at various children's homes throughout the Tyler area during the Christmas season, often delivering toys that he had personally made in his woodworking shop. First his own kids, and then his grandchildren, and ultimately his great grandchildren frequently accompanied Bob on his Christmas rounds dressing up as his elves.
Bob helped found the Historical Aviation Memorial Museum at Tyler Pounds Regional Airport where he often served as a volunteer teaching kids how to fly a plane on a flight simulator.
During World War II Bob served in the United States Army Air Corps and was stationed in the South Pacific. His service included stationing at Guam and Japan and included an assignment inspecting a Kamikaze Aircraft factory bombed out by the Allies. After his honorable discharge he returned to the University of Oklahoma where he received a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After moving to Tyler he became the first air conditioning engineer in East Texas. In 1975 he received a United States patent for a solar panel he designed.
Bob was a member of Marvin United Methodist Church for 70 years where he served on the Board of Stewards, as Chairman of the Property Committee and as Sunday school teacher as well as serving as Scoutmaster of the Marvin United Methodist Church Troop 336. An Eagle Scout himself, Bob participated in the first ever scouting Jamboree in America held in Washington, D.C. in 1937. In 1962 he was awarded the Silver Beaver Award for outstanding contributions to scouting.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Sterry B. and Inez Frank Faulkner; his wife of 69 years, Beth and by his brother-in-law John Iler of Houston. He is survived by his daughters Karen and husband Donald Key of Dallas and Buffie and husband Richard Kirwan of Dallas; by his grandchildren Robert Faulkner Kirwan and wife Mary Lauren of Dallas; Captain Richard Michael Kirwan, Jr. (USAF) and wife Heather of Enid, Oklahoma, Courtney Kirwan Cannon and husband Shane of College Station and James Thomason Kirwan of Dallas; by his great-grandchildren Molly McLaine Kirwan and John Faulkner Kirwan of Dallas, Richard Michael Kirwan II of Enid, Oklahoma and Andrew Michael Cannon and Sarah Katherine Cannon of College Station; by his sister-in-law Ann Iler of Houston; by his newphews David Iler and wife Sherri of Waco, Jay Iler and wife Leslie of Houston and Marshall Iler and wife Meredith of Houston.
Special thanks to numerous medical professionals who provided outstanding medical treatment including Dr. Douglas Coltman and Dr. C. Fagg Sanford III of Tyler and Dr. Kenneth Cooper of the Cooper Aerobic Center in Dallas. The family also expresses their deep appreciation for caregivers Katie Jones, Yolunda Rogers, Sonja Pryor and Ruth Jones.
A private military burial will be held on September 7, 2018, followed by a Memorial service to be held at Marvin United Methodist Church at 2 pm on Friday, September 7 officiated by Dr. Doug Baker and Rev. Gerry Giles.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Paul's Children's Foundation, 1358 E. Richards, Tyler, Texas 75702, Historical Aviation Memorial Museum, Tyler Pounds Regional Airport, 150 Airport Drive, #2-7, Tyler, Texas 75704 and Marvin United Methodist Church Children's Ministry, 300 W. Erwin St., Tyler, Texas 75702.
- Memorial Service Friday, September 7, 2018
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September 6, 2018
I spotted Mr. Faulkner on June 3 getting ready to go fishing. He was picking up a new rod & reel, worms, hooks and bobbers . I don’t know who had a bigger smile! What a wonderful, sweet and humble man.