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PFEIFFER STATION — Former Hardin County Judge David Faulkner still keeps as busy as ever, both in his historic home at the former Wheeler Tavern in Pfeiffer Station and as a visiting judge.
Despite retiring from the position in 2004, Faulkner said he still frequents courtrooms with gavel in hand to serve as judge.
“I have been sitting by on assignment for the (Ohio) Supreme Court,” he said. “They assign me to go out and hear cases. I’m still spending a lot of time doing that, but I don’t miss having to go to work every day,” he said.
Faulkner began his journey to becoming a judge after exiting law school in 1964 and working for the Ohio Supreme Court for two years.
Faulkner later returned to Hardin County where he served as municipal court judge beginning in 1979, and later became Hardin County’s common pleas judge in January of 1987.
From an early point in his law career, Faulkner said becoming a judge was something he had wanted to do.
“Becoming a judge was something I always had in mind; it’s something I always gave a lot of thought to early on, the fact that someday, I’d like to become a judge.”
The main aspect of judging that Faulkner said he misses most is dealing with people.
“The interaction with the people, more than anything, is what kept me going in to work every day,” he said. “The interaction with the people, the participants in the cases, the court staff – that’s what you really miss is the people.”
Faulkner said he still stops by the Hardin County Courthouse from time to time to see some of his former co-workers.
“I still see a lot of those people I worked with: Marcia Snider, who was my administrative assistant, secretary, bailiff – anything that needed doing, she’s the one that did it; my court reporter, Michelle Lowery, I still see her fairly regularly, and Cindy Shepherd was a court reporter for a while and I see her fairly regularly as well,” he said.
When not visiting the courthouse or busy in the courtroom, Faulkner can also be found at home practicing his banjo.
“I have a good time with it and enjoy playing it,” he said. “I play just about well enough not to embarrass myself too much in public. I’ll never replace Earl Scruggs, or anyone else for that matter.”
The banjo, Faulkner said, is an “interesting” instrument. While it’s easy to play, it’s extremely difficult to play well, he added.
“I play it, but not nearly as well as I’d like to,” he said.
Faulkner’s evolution into playing the banjo began by playing the guitar in high school.
“I got into country music, went from that in the ‘60s to folk music, then got into the old-time banjo and moved back into bluegrass,” Faulkner explained. “… I’ve always enjoyed listening to the banjo, which sets me apart from about 90 percent of the world.”
Faulkner practices much of the time in his home, the former Wheeler Tavern, which is designated by an Ohio Historical Marker.
Purchased by his parents Carlos and Eleanor Faulkner in 1951, the house was built by Portius Wheeler in 1835 and acted as both a tavern and a stop on the famous Underground Railroad. It was also one of the first buildings build in Hardin County, sitting along the Old Sandusky Trail.
“It was always a big thing to my mother, but my father (Carlos) just wanted to get all his kids out in the country,” Faulkner joked. “My mother was more historically minded – she was impressed that the house was a stagecoach and that it was a stop on the Underground Railroad.”
Also at the home, Faulkner keeps two horses he enjoys riding. He’s also a member of the Hardin County Mounted Posse, a group of men and women who enjoy horses and horseback riding.
The posse participates in a number activities, including trail rides, riding in parades and perform traffic control and security at the Hardin County Fair.
“If you go to the fair and you see somebody on a horse pointing someone into a parking space, that’s us,” Faulkner said.
He also is active in several other groups, including the Elks, the Masonic Order and the Hardin County Players, of which he has been a participant since 1997.
Faulkner said he first heard about the Hardin County Players when it advertised its upcoming production of “Arsenic and Old Lace.”
“I tried out for it, and I’ve been involved ever since,” he said.
Faulkner again said it was the connection he got with other people that was his main reason for being on stage.
“There again, it’s the interaction with everybody else that’s important and how you can make the audience feel,” he said.
Faulkner will be playing the role of sanitarium keeper Sam Seward in the upcoming HCP play, “Dracula: The Musical?” The play runs July 27-29 at the Kenton Middle School auditorium.
By TY THAXTON
Times staff writer