“I believe that God is love. We need to become one world of people who care for each other in our different ways. You can’t lose when you try to love people” – 2002 Oral history
In her oral memoirs to Tomi Reneau, Mary remarked “When I was coming along in my year at the time I began realizing people meant so much to me. I began to feel that my youngest brother needed some kind of special attention during his high schools years. I kept thinking if somebody gave him a feeling of being important in some way it would be such as help to him, make his life entirely different. So that’s when my interest in young people , teenagers came into being. Then when I became a minister’s wife that became my main interest.”
We may remember Mary for many things at St. George’s – minister’s wife, champion of the organ renovation in the 1980’s, newsletter pioneer – but it may be this connection with youth that lives on. Her tendency to start groups that fed her passions is another. She started the youth group here in 1947. Meetings were often held in the Faulkner home and attracted teens from other area churches.
Her obituary stressed that “For years, she opened her kitchen to hundreds of high school and college students to whom she gave counsel and support. She was the leader of the youth group at St. George’s Episcopal Church, which started the first Dragnet dances for teens.”
Mary was an early director of the Canterbury Club at Mary Washington College. She took in six foster teenagers and raised them as her own children. She served for 10 years on the Anne Hamrick Community which was a day care program for children. She also helped develop the Dolphin program which nursing home residents without relative nearby are adopted by persons living in the area. She also helped to launch the “Cardless Christmas card idea which helped raise money for the United Way. Tom described Mary as a “complete extrovert” whose “whole life is lived for other people.” Mary also served as membership chair for the Interfaith Council of Fredericksburg.
Mary and Tom were involved in many in many of the same causes. Tom Faulkner was concerned about the number of fatherless boys in the community. His concern spread to others, a steering committee was formed, and a nonprofit Big Brothers organization was formed in 1967. In 1974, the organization incorporated a Big Sister chapter as part of its program, making it the first Big Brother organization in Virginia to sanction a combined Big Brother Big Sister program. Mary eventually sat on the Board. Tom Faulkner also was a part of the The New School, a private school for learning disabled children that operated at St. George’s
She eventually left 1/6 of her estate to St. George’s to start a “Matthew 25” fund. The purpose of the fund is to further the outreach and interfaith ministries of the Greater Fredericksburg community. In keeping with that fund, approximately $35K went toward establishing St. George’s preschool.