The inexpressible joy of Easter in my household was broken late Sunday with the news that our friend, fellow conservative warrior, writing colleague and sharp-eyed critic, Susan Freis Falknor, had passed away suddenly at her home in Bluemont, Virginia.
Susan and her husband, Richard Falknor, have been a staple in Virginia and Maryland conservative politics for many years and co-published the Blue Ridge Forum.
They both ran the Maryland Taxpayers Association and the Maryland Center-Right Coalition for many years, worked for conservative candidates throughout Loudoun and Fairfax County, and in 2016 were early organizers for the Trump Campaign in western Loudoun and adjacent counties.
Susan had an extensive career with foundations such as the American Enterprise Institute and for the last number of years ran her own business, Plain Words Copywriter, providing sharp analysis and expertise to businesses and writers alike. In addition, she became a moving force for historic restoration projects in Bluemont.
I first met Susan in the earliest days of the Tea Party movement, where we ended up as tablemates at an event, and we quickly learned that we shared a love for the language and well-turned phase and the right word used at the right time. She became a frequent sounding board for me in the too few years since, and I would often receive notes from her on something I had written or sent to her.
She tolerated some of my Texas-bred oddities of phrase while I respected the boundaries of her refined sensibilities, sending her only the very best of my country music picks.
In both my first and second novel, Susan, herself a published poet and essayist, was a gracious critic. She would suggest construction changes and politely point out that a particular line sounded like nails on a chalkboard. And she was quick with praise.
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.
(A memorial service will be held Saturday, April 22, at 10AM at the Bluemont United Methodist Church)