David Faulkner

David Faulkner devoted his professional life to helping at-risk Maine youth struggling with substance use and mental health issues.

Faulkner served as executive director of Day One, a nonprofit in South Portland, for 32 years. He died Feb. 16 after a long battle with a neurological disease. He was 74.

As leader of Day One, Faulkner worked closely with state legislators, nonprofits, corrections facilities, and schools to provide prevention and treatment programs. He grew the agency from a single small treatment facility serving young men to an agency helping youth from all over Maine.

Greg Bowers, Day One’s CEO, said Faulkner was a passionate advocate for Maine’s youth.

“David’s legacy was creating an agency whose primary focus was on the well-being of youth in the state as it relates to substance use and mental health issues,” Bowers said. “That’s an incredibly valuable thing for the state to have. I don’t know where we would be without that voice.”

Faulkner retired from Day One in 2016.


He grew up in southern Maine and went to Biddeford High School. After graduating from Beloit College in Wisconsin, he joined the AmeriCorps VISTA program in Georgia and Alabama, where he met Elodie, his wife of 50 years. The couple lived in Portland and raised two sons.

Faulkner’s family members say he was a calm, steady presence, and had a contagious laugh. His son Mark spoke of his passion for sailing and how much he loved spending time with family. He said his father was supportive of both him and his brother, Julian.

“My dad wasn’t the guy who was playing catch with me. That was my mom,” Mark Faulkner said. “My dad was always giving me rides to and from my practices and games. He was super dedicated to whatever we needed to do.”

Mark Faulkner said as a teenager, he made some poor choices in his life. With his father’s love and support, he was able to turn his life around. He is now a Portland firefighter.

“I was venturing towards being one of those kids my father was advocating for,” he said. “We would butt heads a lot, but he stayed on me. He stayed consistent and stuck by me. He did not let go. His consistency inspired me to keep trucking along, stay positive and not go down that bad path.”

David and Elodie Faulkner enjoyed eating good food, kayaking and cross-country skiing together. They had a 23-foot O’Day sailboat, which they moored off Willard Beach in South Portland for two decades.

“Casco Bay was his playground in the summer,” Mark Faulkner said. “He was a sailor. He loved being on the water. Even when the boat was in the driveway up on stilts for nine months of the year, he’d be in it getting it ready for the next year.”

About eight years ago, Faulkner started showing signs of corticobasal syndrome, a rare and degenerative neurological disease. His condition worsened over time, causing issues with his balance and memory, which he handled with strength and grace, Mark Faulkner said.

“I’ll miss everything about him,” said his wife.

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