In memoriam: Missionary emeritus, John Herschel Faulkner, 87

John Herschel Faulkner, 1935-2022. IMB Photo

John Herschel Faulkner, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Zimbabwe, died on July 13, 2022. He was 87.  

Faulkner was born July 2, 1935, in Marion County, Alabama, to the late D.F. Faulkner and Irene Bell Jackson Faulkner. He graduated from Philipps High School in Bear Creek, Alabama, and received the Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and the Bachelor of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Faulkner served with the Alabama National Guard for 17 years, where he served as a chaplain for part of his service.  

Faulkner married Anne Williams in 1961.  

In 1956, Faulkner was asked to serve as a counselor to youth from Calvary Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa who attended Ridgecrest Camp in North Carolina. It was at the camp that the preaching of Baker James Cauthen led him to commit to ministry. Cauthen was the former executive director of the Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board) and served as a missionary to China. 

Seven years after sensing a call to ministry, Faulkner responded and felt the Lord had called him to preach. John and Anne moved to Fort Worth to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Before appointment, Faulkner pastored three churches, Pilot Grove Baptist Church in Grayson County, Texas; First Baptist Church, in Reform, Alabama; and Trinity Baptist Church in Sherman, Texas.  

At the Foreign Missions Week at Glorietta Camp in Glorietta, New Mexico, the Faulkners made a commitment to serve on the mission field. 

“As I look back, I can truly see the hand of the Lord in every turn of the road I have traveled,” Faulkner wrote when seeking missionary appointment. “I praise God for his wonderful love and gracious dealing with me and my family.” 

In 1970, the Faulkners were appointed by the Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board) to serve in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). In 1984, Faulkner was elected to serve as associate area director for ministry in eastern and southern Africa. 

After retiring from 25 years of service on the mission field, Faulkner pastored Friendship Baptist Church in Springville, Alabama, until retiring in 2003. 

A fellow emeritus missionary said Faulkner had a ministry of encouragement. A missionary kid who knew John as “Uncle John,” wrote that he was, “A dear missionary uncle, then a colleague and friend. Forever grateful for his investment in our lives as missionaries.” 

Faulkner is survived by his wife of 61 years, Anne Williams Faulkner; children, Lisa Gallion and Mark Faulkner; and two grandchildren. 

Read an obituary here.