Those of us who have been in the conservative movement for a while know it to be a movement of extraordinary people. Many have given years, decades of their lives, fighting on for no other reason than that it is the right thing to do – even when spirits are low and resources are slim or nonexistent. I have been honored to personally know some of these people, and we lost one of the really good ones, unfortunately but fittingly, this past Easter Sunday.
Susan Fries Falknor, activist, editor, published poet, committed Christian, and wife of fellow commentator Richard Falknor, passed on following a brief illness. Although I know she is in a better place, it never diminishes the sense of loss. She will be sorely missed.
I came to know both Rich and Susan through their leadership of the Maryland Center Right Coalition, which brought a small, very lucky group of Marylanders together for regular presentations by state and local luminaries as well as nationally known conservatives. We enjoyed freewheeling discussions on issues of the day with these people. The meetings went for hours, and we were always reluctant to leave.
Today I count Rich and Susan among my good friends. Rich worked on Capitol Hill for many years, and his learned perspective is always apparent in his blog posts at Blue Ridge Forum, an excellent site you should get to know. In her typically quiet, unassuming way, Susan worked in the background, editing and otherwise polishing Rich’s great work.
A writer in her own right, Susan served as a researcher and editor at the American Enterprise Institute, the Urban Institute, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the Population Reference Bureau, and others. She was also president of Friends of Bluemont, an organization dedicated to preservation of this historic Virginia town formerly known as Snickersville.
Susan was usually quiet, working in the background, while Rich took the lead in articulating their views and concerns on issues of the day. But perhaps because she was usually quiet, her strong encouragements to me always had a profound effect.
While readers of this site may not have heard of her, she had a similar impact on others she met. Gates of Vienna writes:
Susan was a behind-the-scenes worker on behalf of liberty in America, so she didn’t boast: you had to know what questions to ask. [She] certainly picked a beautiful feast day on which to take leave of this world. I’m in awe of her choice, but a little envious if truth be told. I hope her going was easy, at least for her. It never is for those who are left behind – and Susan’s goodbyes must have been numerous indeed.
Michael Giere of the Bull Elephant writes:
The world of words and the world of conservative activism is now less for her passing, yet richer for her time with us.
William Shakespeare was a man who knew something about a good turn of phrase, so I send my friend away with his words;
I count myself in nothing else so happy as in a soul remembering my good friends.
I join my friend Rich in his mourning. To Susan, I say Godspeed and God bless you! And I am sure she is now hearing our Lord tell her: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
For those able, there will be a service for Susan this Saturday at 10am Eastern at the Bluemont United Methodist Church, 33843 Snickersville Turnpike, Bluemont, Virginia.