In Remembrance
AFFIRMING AN INCLUSIVE PRIESTHOOD, ROOTED IN A REFORMED AND RENEWED CHURCH

Faulkner, Thomas

02/06/2004
Denver, CO

PRIEST-TURNED LAWYER NEVER STOPPED HELPING

By Roger Fillion
Rocky Mountain News

Thomas Faulkner was a clergyman who gave up the priesthood to raise a family, and became a lawyer who spent considerable time helping the downtrodden.

Mr. Faulkner died Feb. 6 at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver after complications from liver failure, said his family. He was 71.

Having graduated from Chicago's Northwestern University School of Law in 1972, Mr. Faulkner moved to Denver the same year with his wife, Kathleen McSloy Faulkner, who is 55.

That year, Mr. Faulkner had a hip replaced after a severe auto accident. A blood transfusion after the crash led to Mr. Faulkner contracting hepatitis C, which contributed to his death.

Mr. Faulkner passed the bar in 1973 and became an associate with the Law Firm of Holland and Hart. He stayed there until 1978, when he left to form the partnership Baron, Faulkner and Salazar. Mr. Faulkner later became a sole practitioner, and practiced as such until his death.

Friends and family members recalled Mr. Faulkner for pro bono work that he did on behalf of the poor, AIDS patients and others who were less fortunate.

"His heart was in pro bono. His heart was in helping people," said Jefferson County District Judge Brooke Jackson.

Jackson characterized Mr. Faulkner as the type of person "to make just enough money" so he could devote his time to helping others.

"I don't think that guy ever gave 5 cents about making money," added Jackson.

In 1991, the Denver Bar Association gave him the Volunteer Lawyer of the Year award. He was named a Channel 7 Everyday Hero in 2000.

Friends and family pointed to Mr. Faulkner's time as an ordained priest as a key influence in his later life as a lawyer.

"He believed in working for the poor. He didn't stop working for the poor when he left the priesthood," said his wife, Kathleen.

Mr. Faulkner was educated at Quigley Seminary in Chicago and Saint Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. He was ordained in 1957 and received his doctorate in Canon Law at the Lateran University in Rome in 1961.

Mr. Faulkner served as priest and pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Rapid City, S.D. and chancellor of the diocese of Rapid City.

"He was a very successful priest. But there was something missing in his life," said his wife.

His daughter, Katie Faulkner, noted that her father realized he wanted a family. "It was a big decision. It was the best thing he could have done," she added.

Katie Faulkner, 26, recalled her father as a great storyteller and someone always interested in what his son and daughter were doing. "He was our constant supporter."

Born in Chicago on April 10, 1932, Mr. Faulkner was the oldest of five children.

Besides his wife and daughter, he is survived by his son, Terry, 28.

A Memorial Mass was Feb. 10 at Church of the Good Shepherd in Denver.

During the Mass, Denver District Judge Jean Stewart said she recalled Mr. Faulkner this way: "How wonderful it must have been to come to the end of your life and never have made a single enemy."

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