Congressional Record for the 111th Congress
Mr. BONNER. Madam Speaker, Bay Minette and indeed the entire State of Alabama recently lost a dear friend, and I rise today to honor him and pay tribute to his memory.
Mr. James H. Faulkner, Sr., known to his many friends simply as Mr. Jimmy, was a devoted family man and dedicated community leader throughout his life. In a loving tribute, Mobile's Press-Register noted that Mr. Jimmy ``left behind a lasting legacy of achievements that contributed to the economic, educational, and cultural well-being of his community, his county and his state.''
First and foremost, Mr. Jimmy loved Bay Minette; he loved Alabama; and he loved his country. In fact, he was one of the most patriotic men I have ever known.
He answered his Nation's call to service and attained the rank of first
lieutenant serving as pilot and flight instructor in the U.S. Army Air
Corps during World War II. When Mr. Jimmy went back to Alabama following
his military service, he returned to what was already a successful career.
He was the owner of the Baldwin Times newspaper and had served as mayor of
his beloved Bay Minette. In fact, when Mr. Jimmy was elected mayor in
1941, he was said to be the youngest mayor in America.
Mr. Jimmy's entrepreneurial talents gave him the confidence to start Loyal
American Life Insurance Company of Mobile. During most of the past 50
years, he was associated with Volkert & Associates, one of the top
engineering, architectural, planning, and environmental firms in the
United States. He served on the boards of two Baldwin County banks as well
as the board of Alpine Laboratories of Bay Minette.
Our thoughts and prayers are with them all during this difficult time.
From Faulkner University Website
In Memoriam: James H. Faulkner, Sr.
Faulkner University lost a great friend, leader and benefactor with the passing of James H. Faulkner on Friday, Aug. 22, 2008. Faulkner, a long-time trustee for whom the University is named, was 92. A newspaperman, entrepreneur, politician, philanthropist, husband, father, grandfather, friend—Jimmy Faulkner played many roles and left an indelible impression on everyone he met.
In his five decades as a member of the Board of Trustees, Faulkner played a pivotal role in the development and expansion of Faulkner University, aiding the University in evolving from a two-year junior college to a four-year university with graduate programs and a law school. He was instrumental in the acquisition of the law school and was a generous financial supporter who helped to make possible much of the progress experienced by the University in the last 20 years.
"Faulkner University has lost a great friend and benefactor," commented Faulkner University President Billy D. Hilyer. "For half a century he was he manifested a sustained interest and vital involvement with the University. On a personal level, I feel that I have lost a friend and confidante. For the 22 years of my presidency, he was always there to help and encourage, to offer useful suggestions and to remind us all to remain enthusiastic, focused and positive. I will miss him; I already do, very much. He was, indeed, a remarkable man."
The late Dr. V.P. Black once said of his friend, “There was a time when Faulkner University had some severe financial problems. I am convinced that if it had not been for Faulkner’s concern for the school and his generous spirit, there might not be a Faulkner University today. It is only fitting that the school should bear his name.”
Born on a modest farm in Lamar County, Alabama, in 1916, a life-shattering event at the age of 12 matured young Jimmy when his father was killed in a house fire. He quickly learned the habit of hard work while his mother continually reminded him of the value of education.
Faulkner graduated from Freed-Hardeman College and the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism. A chance conversation led him to Baldwin County, Ala., where at the age of 21 he purchased a half interest in the Baldwin Times. He struggled to make a go of the little paper, but with hard work and good business sense, he was finally able to turn a profit within a few years and purchased the entire paper. Along the way, he met Evelyn Irwin. They married in 1937 and had two sons, Jimmy, Jr., and Wade Faulkner.
The move from publisher to politician was an easy one for the young entrepreneur. As a communicator, Faulkner was gifted with the ability to relate to others and express genuine concern. He also had the power of persuasion. He was elected mayor of Bay Minette at a young age. Always active in the campaigns of other candidates, Faulkner decided to launch a state-wide campaign of his own. He made two unsuccessful runs for Alabama governor in the 1950s, but was elected to the Alabama Senate where he served for four years. While in the Senate, Faulkner worked tirelessly for education issues and was named chairman of the education committee.
As his mother had been a teacher for 39 years, Faulkner was very concerned about the state of education in Alabama. He worked to funnel more money into Alabama schools, to establish a tenure system for teachers and to provide teachers with a retirement system and social security. He was also instrumental in helping Governor George Wallace establish the two-year community college system throughout Alabama. The widespread system was often attacked by critics as over-expansive, but Faulkner was always its chief proponent claiming, “Education should be of high quality, but if it is not convenient and accessible to the students, it isn’t of much value.”
For his contributions to education, Faulkner was awarded seven honorary doctorate degrees and was conferred the official designation Alumnus Honoris Gratia by the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Both Faulkner University and Faulkner State Community College, Bay Minette, Ala., are named in his honor.
Faulkner’s involvement with the University occurred in 1958 when he was asked by Dr. Rex Turner, Dr. V.P. Black and Gus Nichols who to join the board of directors. Faulkner laughingly said of his involvement, “As is often the case, I get too interested and too active.”
One area of interest where Faulkner took the reins and ran with them was the acquisition of Thomas Goode Jones Law School. In 1983, The University of Alabama (UA) owned the law school but was not promoting it. Faulkner approached UA’ s president, Joab Thomas, about allowing Faulkner University to purchase the law school. “In my mind I was sure they did not want Auburn or Troy (University) or the University of South Alabama to have a law school,” Faulkner said. “I thought that perhaps the University would not mind a private Christian oriented school owning it.”
Faulkner and Thomas brokered a deal, and in 1996 the University built a permanent home for the Law School on its campus. Now one of the crowning jewels of the University, the Law School has grown from a mere 75 students to more than 400, achieved SACS accreditation in 1990, and provisional accreditation with the American Bar Association in 2006.
Faulkner said of the acquisition, “Some church members thought the law school had no business being at a Christian university. My answer to them was, ‘Well, lawyers need Christian education as badly as anyone I know.’”
Generosity was one of Faulkner’s chief attributes. Early in his business career, a friend told Faulkner, “Jimmy you can’t out give God, but try.” The idea became a burning desire for Faulkner. He gave away millions to various causes, institutions and individuals. Faulkner considered giving a pleasure. In an interview Faulkner said of his “habit of giving money away” that perhaps he could have amassed more money in the bank but felt richer because of what he had done for people. “I would hate to walk around town and be worth fifteen million or twenty million, and couldn’t think of anybody that I had helped or any good that I had done. ...I’ve never wished for money for the purpose of living luxuriously. I’ve always wanted to have money to give away. That’s what I enjoy.”
In 1996, Faulkner married Karlene Farmer after the death of Evelyn, his wife of nearly 60 years. They made their home in his beloved Bay Minette. Faulkner is survived by Karlene, his sons, James, Jr., (Beverly) and Dr. Wade (Ann) Faulkner, eight grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. He died following an extended illness fulfilling his wishes once stated in an interview. “My philosophy is that if and when I get to the point that I can’t help my fellow man and the Lord, I have no further need to be around.”
/-Isaac Dickerson FALKNER /-Burrel Lanier FALKNER | | /-James REDUS , Sr | | /-James REDUS , Jr | | | \-Catherine PARSONS | | /-James W REDUS | | | \-Martha HUTTON | \-Mahala REDUS | \-Lydia MORGAN /-Wiley Polk FALKNER | \-Susan Ann CANNON /-Henry L FALKNER | \-Alabama Jane HAYS James Herman FAULKNER \-Ebbie JOHNSON
1 James Herman FAULKNER =Evelyn IRWIN Marriage: 1937 =Karlene FARMER Marriage: 1996