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Posted: July 16, 2010 12:30 a.m.

Dr. Harry Faulkner remembered for his 'caring spirit'

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Dr. Harry Faulkner

Polly Simpson considered Harry Faulkner to be her special uncle, the one who always had time to spend with her.

Laura Faulkner remembered the hours her father spent planning and carrying out elaborate Halloween-themed birthday parties for her.

Jean "Jinx" Faulkner felt lucky to have been married to such a caring man, who took the time to buy the perfect gift, like a charm bracelet with special hand-made charms to signify life’s most significant moments.

The magic of Dr. Harry Faulkner was the way he ingrained himself in people’s lives and lifted their spirits. Everyone who met him felt he was their best friend. 

Harry died July 12 after months of complications from vascular problems. However, true to form, he fought until the very end, stunning his doctors by overcoming a subdural hematoma and a bought of pneumonia.

"He was fighting to the end and was an extremely brave man," his daughter Laura said. "So many people miss him. Everybody I talk to says they just don’t make people like that anymore. A friend told me ‘God just can’t take any more smart, funny people.’ They really were the greatest generation."

Faulkner was born in Covington in December 1923, and lived in the city throughout his youth, graduating from Covington High School in 1941. He was drafted into the army in 1943, and served in the European Theater of World War II from 1944 to 1946. Upon returning to the states, Harry attended the University of Georgia, receiving a science-related bachelor’s degree. He was such an excellent student he received a Rockefeller scholarship to Princeton University.

"He was quite the scholar," Laura said. "His professors at Princeton tried to get him be an academic and teach, but he wanted to help people."

So Harry returned to Georgia where he graduated from the Medical College of Georgia in 1957 and opened his own general practice in 1958.

"He loved general practice. He loved all of it, the work, meeting the patients. He was an excellent diagnostician. He just had that sense, some people do and some people don’t," his wife Jinx said.

He had a caring spirit, which was a natural fit for medicine, but carried into every aspect of his life.

"He has been the caregiver to … I cant even imagine how many people. Friends, colleagues, even his spiritual leaders, he even counseled them. He had that innate ability," Laura said. "He was one of the sweetest, kindest people on earth. Most people didn’t know he was human. Everybody thought he was absolutely perfect, and even we who knew him best, thought he was pretty close."

Harry would have a long, productive career in medicine, serving on the boards of the Georgia Heart Association, Blue Cross-Blue Shield and the Red Cross. Together, he and Jinx formed the Newton County Stroke Rehabilitation Educational Clinic, which helped educate doctors and patients on cutting-edge treatments in the field.

Yet his talents extended much further. Laura recalled the amazing poetry he would write. She said he often made his own greeting cards, which could be incredibly sentimental.

He was also an avid gardener and horticulturalist. He loved endangered wildflowers and Georgia’s native azaleas. When he couldn’t walk so well he bought a golf cart and fitted it with special tires to allow him to get to the numerous gardens in his backyard. He had to spend hours every day with his hands in God’s earth, Laura said.

But his greatest talent was loving the people around him. Jinx said he came back to Covington after completing school because it was obvious to him the town had the best people around.

Laura, whose birthday was near Halloween, remembered the hours he spent preparing her parties, particularly the one where he was a witch doctor and Jinx was an Indian princess.

"He was the best monster on the face of the earth," she smiled.

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