John Hershel Faulkner, retired missionary and pastor, died July 13. He was 87.
Faulkner was a native of Bear Creek, Alabama, where he learned to farm, a skill he would later use serving in the missions field in Africa.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama and bachelor’s and master’s of divinity degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He also was a veteran of the Alabama Army National Guard.
He was a pastor of three churches — Pilot Grove Baptist Church in Grayson County, Texas; First Baptist Church, in Reform, Alabama; and Trinity Baptist Church in Sherman, Texas — before he and his wife, Anne, who had been called to missions as a young girl in Girls in Action (GA), answered the call to missions in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in Africa.
In telling of her dad, Lisa Faulkner Gallion recalled, “On the field, he served in a number of roles, as his administrative gifts became apparent. His heart’s desire was to start new work in a bush section or rural area, but his giftings kept him employed mostly in administrative positions, from managing the Baptist Camp and bookstores to a stint as mission treasurer. He ended his IMB career as area director for countries in the eastern and southern Africa region, an assignment he thoroughly enjoyed.”
Son Mark Faulkner recalled that his dad could repair almost anything, and it was not uncommon for a missionary to drive up with a washing machine or clothes dryer that needed repairing, and John would get it working again. Mark also recounted how John built a motorized vehicle. However, the only wheels available were bicycle wheels, so that’s what he used. Anyone who knew John can imagine the ear-to-ear smile on his face with the finished product.
The Faulkners retired after 25 years on the missions field, and he became pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Springville, where he served until 2003. His daughter recalled that her dad’s favorite moments were what he called “God moments,” when God’s presence “fell on the church in an inexplicably tangible way.”
In 2015, John and Anne moved to Georgia to be near their children, and for a few months before they moved, they were members of First Baptist Church Springville and faithfully supported Pastor Chipley Thornton.
Faulkner is survived by his wife, Anne; two children, Lisa and David; and five grandchildren.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Joe Whitten.
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