Editorial: Who can fill their shoes?
Mathews County lost three of its leading citizens in the short space of one week. They leave voids in the business, civic and religious communities, and taken together their deaths create a challenge to those left behind: who can fill their shoes?
Their contributions were so admired that each had been selected to lead the county’s Christmas parade: Charles W. "Charlie Bill" Faulkner served as grand marshal in 2000; Judy Burroughs (memorialized in this space last Thursday) in 2007; and Judy Ward in 2009.
Charlie Bill Faulkner entered the business scene in 1947 as an employee of the Forrest Funeral Home. He bought the company, renamed it, and guided the firm to its present-day success. It is an anchor on Main Street.
He was an active and engaged member of the county’s chamber of commerce, knowing that mutual support helped the entire merchant community. His longtime membership in the Mathews Ruritan Club and Mathews Rotary Club added to the efforts to support the community. And those who needed his firm’s services left knowing he had provided more than a business relationship; he had helped them through the first stages of grief in a professional yet sympathetic manner. One of our friends said it well: "such a calming force for decades to so many families in their hour of need."
Judy Ward took seriously the Golden Rule and spent her life doing unto others. Her magnificent voice entertained and inspired. She sang popular favorites, composed hymns and cantatas, and kept smiling no matter what the venue.
Notably, she gave Mathews its own Bicentennial voice with the 1976 play "Crickets on a Hill" (so what if the county was still part of Gloucester during the Revolution? this achievement belonged to Mathews people!) and won a Broadman hymn-writing contest in 1978.
And she gave and gave and gave of her time as an outstanding member of the rescue squad. Then she figured out how to get young people tuned in, organizing Camp Rescue; so the generations just now coming of age can pass on that knowledge.
What makes a community? Location, institutions, the business sector, the churches, the civic clubs … and most of all, its people. Mathews has lost three of its best sons and daughters in the past week. Their hard work has made the county a better place. By upholding high standards for community service, they have set an example for those who follow.