Dr. Paul Donald Faulkenberry, 80, a Wesleyan educator and pastor who gave lifelong service across the denomination, has passed away. He died on Sunday, September 16, at Rainey Hospice House in Anderson, South Carolina. He was a member of Bridge of Hope Community Church (Wesleyan) in Anderson, S.C.
Ordained by The Wesleyan Church in 1955, he pastored Wesleyan churches in North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania and served as a faculty member and administrator at four Wesleyan institutions.
He had humble beginnings, as he was born in his parents' home in North Carolina without running water or electricity. His early life was shaped by strict, loving parents and the influence of teachers and pastors at Hayworth Memorial Wesleyan Church.
On his 21st birthday in 1953 he married Miriam Ruth Calhoon and they moved to South Dakota to begin pastoral ministry. Son-in-law Dr. Mark Butcher, also a life-long minister of The Wesleyan Church, observed that "his life was devoted to higher education, but he never lost his pastor’s heart."
While in the Dakotas, three daughters were born to Paul & Ruth: Paula Ruth, Donna Miriam (who only lived a few hours), and Rachel Esther.
Paul earned an A.A. degree from Central Wesleyan College (now Southern Wesleyan University), a B.A. from Marion College (now Indiana Wesleyan University) and, while raising a family, an M.S. from Northern State University and the Ph.D. from Purdue University in counseling/psychology.
Paul was unique in his long service to four different Wesleyan educational institutions. God's call was faithfully followed at Marion College where he served as director of admissions, testing, and counseling, and professor of psychology. From there he served as executive vice president, vice president of academic affairs, and professor of psychology at Bartlesville Wesleyan College (now Oklahoma Wesleyan University); vice president of academic affairs and professor of psychology at the former United Wesleyan College in Allentown, Penn.; and lastly, director of faculty and curriculum for adult & graduate studies and professor of psychology at Southern Wesleyan University.
Paul Faulkenberry was a selfless, stabilizing force in colleges and universities where difficult, challenging situations had developed. He offered godly leadership even in the midst of his own physical challenges from life-threatening accidents or illness.
Dr. Kerry Kind, former General Director of Education and the Ministry, stated, "Paul was a fine pastor, a sterling college teacher, a rock-solid administrator who gave much and forgave much, a beloved husband and father, and most of all a true and humble servant of the Lord. We were blessed to have him among us."
He was preceded in death by his parents, John & Esther Faulkenberry; one daughter, Donna Miriam; and his wife of 59 years, Miriam Ruth Calhoon Faulkenberry, who departed this life just two months prior to Paul on July 11.
Survivors include two daughters, Paula Butcher and husband, Mark, of Leavenworth, WA; Rachel Homler and husband, Richard, of Kansas City, MO; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.