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1937 Bob 2023

Bob Faulkenberry

April 12, 1937 — October 25, 2023

Bob Faulkenberry, devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather,
passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday, October 25th surrounded by
his family.

He leaves behind his wife of 64 years (it would have been 65 on Christmas Eve,
Fran; children Donna Burt, Brad Faulkenberry (his wife Astrid), and Andrea
Faulkenberry Tanay (her husband Joe). Four grandsons, Michael Burt, Matthew
Burt, David Burt (his wife Melanie), and Brandon Faulkenberry; two-step-
grandchildren Ashley Tanay and Joseph Tanay; One great-grandchild, Eddie,
and another great-grandchild on the way. He also has four surviving siblings,
Dan, Laura, Rick, and Jimmy and their families. He was predeceased by his
parents, Loree and Earl, his sister Sarah, brother George, sister Peggy, and
brother Alfred. He is also survived by Odie, who was essentially Bob’s therapy cat as his health
declined. Bob and Fran have had many dogs and cats over the years, and Bob
always shared a special bond with each of them. He considered them family and
would have liked them to be mentioned here with the rest of the family.
Bob was born in Lancaster SC in 1937 to Earl and Loree Faulkenberry. One of
nine children, Bob’s family lived on a farm where he picked cotton, milked cows,
fished with bamboo poles, drew water from a well, drove a school bus, and
taught his younger brother to drive.

He met his wife Frances (“Fran”) while he and his sister Laura attended Clemson
College (before it was a University.) Fran had just lost her mother and since she
and her father, Iler had an extra room in their home, Laura stayed with them.
When Bob called to talk to Laura he would also talk to Fran, and she thought he
sounded “interesting”. When they finally met in person, he invited her to
accompany him and Laura back to Lancaster to spend a weekend with the
Faulkenberrys. Fran likes to say “I met him and then I went home with him.”
About six months after they met, he drove from Lancaster to Clemson in the
snow to ask her to marry him. They were married on Christmas Eve in 1958.

When asked why they chose to get married on Christmas Eve, Bob said “We
were so poor the only gifts we had to give were each other.”
Bob worked as a mechanical engineer and piping designer, employed with
Daniel, J.E. Sirrine, O’Neal Engineering, and eventually started his own business,
Faulkenberry Design Services. He adapted well to working from home and even
wore his wing-tip shoes as he “commuted” each morning from the kitchen to his
office downstairs. He worked in fire protection by contributing to the design of
sprinkler systems for many schools, businesses, and even the Bon Secours
Wellness Arena (when it was the Bi-Lo Center). He liked to point out sprinkler
heads to his family when they were out and about, and curious passersby would
find themselves also looking up at the ceiling, but not knowing why.
A true engineer, he frequently approached problem-solving from unusual angles
and enjoyed exploring new ways to do things. He dabbled in various other
pursuits, such as selling Rainbow vacuum cleaners and even inventing a method
to add feet and inches without using a calculator.
He won’t be remembered for his fashion sense, but he will be remembered for
being warm, kind, and steadfast in his beliefs, a problem solver, and someone
who enjoyed trying different ways of doing things. He brought home a microwave
when it was still a pretty new appliance, and used it to cook things like scrambled
eggs and fudge. He even cooked the Thanksgiving turkey in it (everyone said it
was good). He had a Betamax VCR and a Vic 20 computer when they were
brand new technology.. He enjoyed his Vitamix, bread machine, waffle maker,
and something called a jet-stream oven (the family called it his “Easy-Bake Oven”)
and miscellaneous other kitchen gadgets. In contrast, he liked to keep an old-
school ice cream churn that required ice, rock salt, and good old-fashioned elbow
grease.

He enjoyed woodworking, and gardening, and was a reliable source of silliness. He
often told corny jokes, compelling others to laugh not because the jokes were
particularly funny, but because he would laugh and stare at you until you joined
him. He enjoyed a lively debate, solved crossword puzzles, the crypto quote, and
the jumble, and he did it with confidence because he almost always used a pen.
He watched Jeopardy back before Alex Trebek and was usually the first one in
the room to solve the Wheel of Fortune puzzle.

He loved music and enjoyed a variety of artists, with a particular fondness for
older country artists like Merle Haggard. He didn’t exactly sing in tune, but he
sang along anyway. You could tell he genuinely connected with the music. When
their oldest daughter, Donna was just a baby, he was let go from his job just
before Christmas. When he would hear the song “If We Make it Through
December” he would often get tears in his eyes because it reminded him of that
time in their lives.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2018, and soon after began attending
Rock Steady Boxing, a fitness program for people with Parkinson’s. He enjoyed
the exercise and fellowship among everyone involved, and it definitely made a
difference in his outlook.
During times of adversity, he always maintained a calm “everything is going to be
okay” energy about him. He always showed up for his family, and he resonated with a
peaceful, reassuring sense that as long as we have each other, we will find a
way through. His family is leaning on that now.
In his final days, he mentioned the idea of writing his own obituary. By then
speaking was difficult for him, and at times he struggled to get his words out.
While they were talking about this idea he only got as far as half of the first
sentence, saying it should start with “he wasn’t a good father,” and before he
completed the thought the conversation was sidetracked. After a little while his
daughter asked him how that sentence was supposed to end. He said, “he wasn’t
a good father, he was the greatest.” His family agrees completely.
More than anything, Bob loved Fran. They were 20 and 21 years old when they
met, and they always said that they kind of grew up together. They treasured one
another through all of the ups and downs that life dropped into their path. They
set an example that marriage requires work, but when that work is done with
patience, respect, and love it brings absolute joy. He may be gone from their
sight but the love he shared with his family will never end.
Special thanks to Lutheran Hospice for their care and support for Bob and the
entire family over the past two months. They made this difficult time much more
bearable.

Bob did not wish to have any kind of service, and his family will be gathering
privately to remember and celebrate him in their own way. In lieu of flowers, a
donation to a charity of your choice would be a wonderful way to remember him.
You could also honor him by planting tomatoes, adopting and loving a pet,
making friendly conversation with a stranger in Costco, getting a fun kitchen
gadget and making something delicious for your family, always being willing to
laugh at yourself, and singing along with the music that moves you - even if you
can’t hit the notes.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Bob Faulkenberry, please visit our flower store.

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