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Charles Faulkerson, 69, went home to be with the Lord on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at St. Vincent Hospital. He was born in Rogersville, Tenn., on June 16, 1944, son of the late Charlie and Martha A. Faulkerson.
He was educated at Swift Memorial School in Rogersville. These early roots in the "Volunteer State" laid the path for Mr. Faulkerson's lifelong dedication to helping others through service and volunteerism.
Upon leaving his hometown, Mr. Faulkerson joined the United States Air Force
. From 1963 until 1966, he was stationed at Sembach Air Force Base in Germany where he supervised training and operational proficiency for all fire protection and rescue teams as Air Rescue Chief. During this time, Mr. Faulkerson commonly entered burning buildings to rescue colleagues in danger, and an inability to swim did not prevent him from taking on daring sea rescue operations. Following 20 years of service, Master Sergeant Charles Faulkerson retired from the US Air Force with an honorable discharge and numerous awards and recognition. He was proud of his service to his country, and talented at recounting the fascinating stories from his time in the military.
When Mr. Faulkerson returned from active service, he enrolled at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn. where he studied electrical engineering and received his Bachelor of Science degree. Upon graduation, he began his career with General Electric Company as a Process Control Engineer at the Murfeesboro, Tenn. plant. This was the beginning of a career that would span 30 years, during which time he worked as an engineer, in marketing and sales, and eventually in human resources and diversity training-a move that reflected his love for working with people and his strong belief in equality.
He relocated to Erie in 1980 with GE. He was a member of Shiloh Baptist Church and co-chaired the Men in Relationship with God Ministry. He was a former member of Second Baptist Church where he was an ordained Deacon. Outside of his business career, Mr. Faulkerson was equally committed to his work in the community. A proponent of civil rights in community growth and the advancement of youth, he wanted every child to have an opportunity to succeed, and opened many doors for the youth in Erie. Mr. Faulkerson recruited 446 professional scout leaders and young men to participate in the Boy Scouts of America's inner city scouting program. He was involved with countless causes for young people, including mentoring programs, safe places, and healthy start, and worked to promote marketable skills for Erie youth through the President's Summit for America's Youth. He provided leadership to Erie County's first Day of Caring that mobilized over 2,000 volunteers. Mr. Faulkerson served on the boards of many organizations including Saint Vincent Health System Board of Corporators, Erie School District Diversity Action Team, YMCA Black Achievers Advisory Committee, Erie Center for the Blind and Visually Handicapped, Harbor Creek Youth Services and the YMCA. He was also a member of the The United Way and Northwest Pennsylvania Planning and Development Commission boards. Mr. Faulkerson's passion to unlock our society's doors of injustice, bigotry, and ignorance was exemplified in his long list of community affairs.
Countless awards and accolades have punctuated Charles Faulkerson's wonderful life. He received the US Air Force Commander's Award for Excellence for Outstanding Leadership and was a 1999 Hometown Hero in the city of Erie. He received GE's Gerald L. Phillippe Award for Distinguished Leadership in Community Service, the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award for Distinguished Service to Youth, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award for Outstanding Community Service from Edinboro University, the Paul P. Martin Community Award for Service Above Self, and the YMCA Volunteer of the Year and Black Achiever of the Century Awards, to name a few. These honors reflect his unending dedication to giving back to his community and his country. Charles Faulkerson's legacy will live on through the numerous friends and family who were blessed to know and love him throughout the years.
Besides his parents, Mr. Faulkerson was preceded in death by his father-and-mother-in law, Ora D. and Lillie Mae Lyons, and a brother, Charlie Faulkerson who passed away at a young age.
He leaves to celebrate his incredible legacy his loving wife of 23 years, Johnie Mae Atkinson Faulkerson; his daughter, Ingrid Faulkerson Grevious (David) of Washington, DC; his son, Mark Atkinson, of Erie, Pa.; a sister, Venora Rodgers (William) of Rochester, N.Y.; two brothers, Allan Faulkerson (Carolyn) of Kingsport, Tenn. and Joseph Faulkerson of Houston, Texas; sisters-in-law Grace Lyons and Essie Mae Lyons, both of Erie, Pa.; brothers-in-law Jetson Lyons (Betty), George Edward Lyons and Billy Ray Lyons (Yvonne), all of Erie, Pa; grandsons, Jonathan Atkinson of Erie, Pa. and Ian Grevious of Washington, DC; several nieces and nephews; and many friends, his church family and mentees.
Friends may visit with the family on Thursday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Shiloh Baptist Church, 901 E. 5th St., and may attend a service at the church on Friday, 11 a.m., with Rev. Anthony G. Harris, Pastor, officiating and Rev. Dr. Michael T. Williams of College Park Baptist Church, Jackson, Miss., eulogizing. Interment in Laurel Hill Cemetery. Funeralization by Law Funeral Home, 2926 Pine Ave.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Charles Faulkerson Scholarship Fund, c/o Johnie Mae Atkinson Faulkerson, 3707 Guilford Dr., Erie, PA 16506.
Published in the Erie Times-News on Oct. 2, 2013