Faith was born in Fremont, Nebraska, on March 1, 1952, to John Henry Fulwood (August 12, 1891 to January 6, 1963) and Evelyn Lois Frey Fulwood (March 7, 1916 – December 20, 1995), who were 60 and 35, respectively, at the time of her birth. As the story goes, she may have actually arrived February 29, 1952, but at her mother’s insistence her birth certificate shows March 1 only because her mother did not want her to be a leap year baby. Her parents, expecting a boy, had one name picked out, John Henry Fulwood, after her father. They were pleasantly surprised with a baby girl, but unable to agree on a name. When the hospital refused to release baby Fulwood without a name, the Pastor that married her parents suggested Faith and said that she would never get into any trouble with a name like Faith. So, Faith Fulwood was released from the hospital to go home with her parents. As a teenager, she took the middle name Therese as her confirmation name and began using it as a middle name because she was not given one by her parents. Her father, a WWI veteran passed when she was just ten years old. Life was hard for Faith growing up and money was scarce, she and her mother moved to Iowa to be closer to family, who helped with her upbringing. She was an excellent student and loved by her teachers. She graduated a year early from North High School in Des Moines, Iowa, with the Class of 1969, just past her 17th birthday. She went on to earn her undergraduate degree at Drake University, also in Des Moines, in 1972. In 1973, she married Mark Homrig, who she met while attending Drake. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force in January 1975. They embarked on a 28-year journey together. Their three children were born during his first assignment at Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota. Mark spent much of his time in a missile silo, leaving Faith to mostly birth and tend to her three small children alone. After North Dakota, she was blessed with their next assignment to Offutt AFB, Nebraska, which allowed her to be closer and more involved with family in Iowa. It was in Nebraska, at Cardinal Spellman as the music teacher, that her children and so many others were introduced to and developed a love for music. She was known to make music fun and cultivated a love and appreciation of music in so many. Mark’s career also took Faith and the family to Fort Meade in Maryland, Gunter AFB, in Alabama, and Vandenberg AFB in California. In California, she spent years as the Catholic Religious Education Coordinator as well as the Choir Director, Pianist, and Organist. She was the epitome of a good Officer’s wife, always supporting, and helping further her husband’s career. She had countless leadership roles with the Officers’ Wives Club and the Parent Teacher Associations at her children’s’ various schools. She worked tirelessly to hold things together at home, raise her three children, keeping her minivan on two wheels, getting them to all of their activities, doctor appointments, etc. She and the family repeatedly said “see you later” to the countless lifelong friends made at the various assignments. After 5 years in California, Mark’s next assignment was the Pentagon. Living on the Virginia side of D.C. would bring many challenges. For the first time, they were not stationed on a military installation and lived in a civilian neighborhood, forcing the family to adjust to life outside of the military with school, friends, and church. The final assignment for Mark and Faith together was at Maxwell AFB in Alabama. Empty nesters no longer solidified; Mark was struck with a “mid-life” crisis. After 28 years, Mark and Faith were divorced.
Faith would face many new challenges, but was resolved not to let them break her. She was offered a job at Reinhardt Motors in Montgomery, Alabama. There she made many new friends and met the man who would become her best friend and husband. With God’s grace and mercy, he helped repair her broken heart. In 2002, following the divorce, she was accepted at Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law. After being out of school for nearly 30 years and working mostly as a stay-at-home mom, the anxiety of returning to school was overwhelming at times, but she stayed the course and graduated in 2005, passed the bar exam on her first try and was admitted to the Alabama Bar the same year. She also earned a certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution. Soon she discovered she preferred being a peacemaker; she had enough fighting to last a lifetime. Despite being brilliant and clerking for an Alabama Supreme Court Justice and assisting with several briefs and opinions, she was ready to peacefully retire. She devoted the remainder of her years to love, love of God and her family, including her church family and friends from every phase of her life. She devoted herself to the music ministry at a couple of local churches, finally making St. Michaels her permanent home in May of 2013. She had a Grand Piano she purchased in her twenty’s that moved with her wherever she went from the second story of her first apartment (a crane was used to deliver it and move it out) to every house and apartment thereafter. To watch her hands and feet move across the keys and pedals was absolutely mesmerizing and miraculous really, as she suffered from neuropathy in her hands and feet. Faith lived every day to the fullest and exuded Christ’s love everywhere she went. Faith and Ken were regulars on cruises, as many as four per year, making lasting friendships wherever their travels took them. Faith poured herself into others. She was deeply loved and cherished by all that knew her. She never met a stranger and was quick to make new friends. To meet her was to be loved by her, whether you were in line behind her at the store, delivering a package, or even mopping the floor in her hospital room. She readily made lifetime friends and treated everyone as precious and cherished. Many describe her as their best friend, including her husband and daughter. No matter what pains or challenges she faced in her life, she selflessly sacrificed for others and was a peacemaker.
If you knew her, you would realize she is one of the smartest, most organized people you know, but that she was a victim of her perfectly organized chaos. She always had “her” system, but it would take a PhD in “Faith-isms,” to clearly understand her perfect system. She lived life on her terms, but always with kindness and grace. She would be the reigning champion of family Monopoly, a true board game tyrant, showing no mercy to her 3 small children, until they challenged her no more. She did not own a smartphone and did not text; she was proud of it. She’d tell you, “life is uncertain, so eat dessert first” …and she would. She had an incredible sense of humor and was not too proud to laugh at herself. She lived up to her name in every way and was an example of Christ’s love for us.
In September (Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month) of 2019, she was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. She endured countless chemo treatments, surgeries, and other procedures in her valiant fight. Although constantly suffering from cancer and neuropathy, she played with joy and was pained deeply if she had to miss choir practice or a church service because of her condition. She never stopped loving others or ceased worrying about and pouring herself into others. She continued to worship the Lord with her beautiful music until just before her death when her body was unable. She did not lose the battle; she finished her race with dignity and grace; she showed us all how powerful faith can be. On September 15, 2021, during Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, she was overtaken by Ovarian Cancer. She is at peace and healed, resting in the arms of our Lord and Savior. She will always be remembered with love…until we meet again.
Faith is survived by her loving and devoted husband, Ken Ostrye of Millbrook, Alabama, and her beloved dog, Hershey; her oldest son John (Elizabeth) Homrig of Los Angeles, California; her daughter Jennifer (Michael) Haskell and granddaughter Piper (2010) of Hope Hull, Alabama; and her baby boy, Jason Homrig, granddaughter Madeline (2008) and grandson Conner (2011) of Belleville, Illinois. She was so proud of her children, their accomplishments and service to this country. She loved her grandchildren and would brag on them often, sharing pictures and supporting all their endeavors. Faith was raised as an only child, but in 2010, her half-brother, Lon James Bruinsma, who had been placed for adoption when he was young, long before she was born, found her. He and his wife, June, travelled to meet Faith, Jennifer, and newborn Piper. While Lon passed the following year, Faith developed a close, sister-like bond with his widow, June of Sioux Center, Iowa. Faith is also survived by a first cousin, Lois (Steve) Hastings, of Lakebay, Washington. Lois and her sister, Cathryn Norrgard, who passed in 2009, were as close to Faith as sisters. Both Lois and Cathy were daughters of Faith’s Aunt Lucille, her mother’s identical twin. She is survived by countless other cousins and friends, whom she loved dearly.
Faith’s ashes will be interred in the columbarium at St. Michaels and All Angels’ Episcopal Church in Millbrook, where she has played the organ since May of 2013. A celebration of life mass will be held at St. Michaels (5941 Main St in Millbrook, Alabama) at 4pm on Sunday, September 26, 2021. In lieu of flowers, Faith would have wanted to leave a legacy at St. Michaels. Please send donations in her honor to St. Michaels and All Angels’ Episcopal Church, PO BOX 586, Millbrook, AL, 36054.
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