‘A lady in every sense of the word’

Marguerite Faulkner. INMM2913-240ar.
Marguerite Faulkner. INMM2913-240ar.

“MARGUERITE was a genuine, lovely person and a lady in every sense of the word.”

This is how the Minister of First Cookstown Presbyterian Church, Rev Dr J. Isaac Thompson described 98-year-old Marguerite Faulkner MBE, JP, during his tribute to her at the service of celebration of her life on Monday.

She passed away peacefully last Friday (July 12) at Fairfields care centre in Cookstown following a short illness.

Marguerite received the MBE in the New Year’s Honour’s list in 1987 for services to the community, and was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Fermanagh and Tyrone in 1978.

In June 2003, Marguerite was awarded Rotary International’s highest accolade - a Paul Harris Fellowship.

And while many of us grappled with technology, Marguerite was adept at sending emails and using the internet, so much so that she was named ‘Ireland’s Silver Surfer Of The Year at an awards ceremony in the Republic in September 2009 at the age of 96.

Prior to Marguerite’s marriage in 1943, she was a Civil Servant, serving first in the Ministry of Education in 1932, and later in the Cabinet Offices, being confidential clerk/typist to Mr John Andrews, Prime Minister after the death of Lord Craigavon.

After her marriage Marguerite became a partner in the family business. She was chairman of Cookstown NSPCC Committee for over 25 years and lay member of Northern Ireland Juvenile Courts from 1954 to 1984 when she reached the age of 70 which is the retirement age.

Marguerite was also Vice President of the Northern Ireland Youth and Family Courts Association from 1999 until the present day.

She was a member of the Northern Ireland Probation Board from its formation in 1982 to 1985 and a member of Cookstown Business and Professional Women’s Club from its formation, acting as chairman for two years.

Marguerite held the post of Chairman of Cookstown Branch of Victim Support Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2003 and was a member of the MUST Hostel from its inception until June 2001.

In 1946 when the first broadcast service from First Cookstown went out on the BBC World Service, Marguerite sang a solo ‘Lord, Speak To Me That I May Speak’ and at her funeral Rev Thompson based his eulogy around the verses, focusing on Marguerite’s life and witness.

Speaking to the MAIL, Rev Thompson paid tribute to Marguerite, pointing out that she was seldom absent from church on a Sunday.

“A few weeks ago, she was sitting in the pew beaming and she said to me: “I’ve got my driving licence renewed for another three years. And I said to her: “You’ll be 101 when you next need it renewed,” but sadly this wasn’t to be,” said Rev Thompson.

Rev Thompson said Marguerite was a lady in every sense of the word, and loved and respected.

Marguerite was laid to rest on Monday (July 15) following a service of thanksgiving at First Cookstown Presbyterian Church.

Added Rev Thompson: “Marguerite was a genuine, lovely, lovely person. Quite often, I would have received a text from her during Sunday lunch and it would say something along the lines of ‘thank you for the encouragement’ following my sermon. She was a lovely person. Indeed, someone said to me recently ‘You never left Mrs Faulkner without feeling uplifted!”