Maryland Joyce Falkenberg

Maryland Joyce Falkenberg


Maryland Joyce Falkenberg, age 80, passed away at her home in Austin, Texas.

Maryland, as she often clarified "like the state," was a lifelong Texan born in San Antonio and resident of Austin since 1969. In a time when women were often relegated to domestic duties, Maryland forged a professional path beginning work at age 16 at the San Antonio Zoo, then moving into radio, accounting and later commercial property management, with a few entrepreneurial ventures thrown in for good measure. She loved math, numbers, and solving a puzzle whether at work or on a table top. She was determined, hardworking and those that had the privilege of working with her knew her as funny, tenacious and a little bit brazen.

While Maryland's work life was full and long, her greatest joy was her family and friends. Maryland married twice and from her second marriage gained her "pride and joy," daughter Vanessa, for whom she would have done anything. She lived by the motto "I am my brother's keeper," feeling her good fortune was as much others' as it was her own. She shared her love, time, energy and money with those who needed it most, even at times when she herself might have benefited from it more. She willingly embraced a crazy scheme or idea and would do anything once. Maryland appreciated the hard work of door-to-door salesman and would always listen to a pitch and maybe buy something just because that person worked so hard. She was a gift-giver extraordinaire - you didn't know you needed something until she gave it to you, then wondered how you'd lived without it.

A fiery red head (for a good portion of her life) who was as diminutive physically as she was enormous in spirit; she could happily subsist off instant coffee or eat her weight in snow crab legs. She preferred her meat cooked well and her vegetables soft to the chagrin of many chefs and those who had to figure out the balance between well done and leather. She loved all kinds of games - crosswords were no match for her and a good online dice or word game was a favorite. She was a political news junkie and had her favorite program hosts with whom she shared loud and enthusiastic commentary - the Nielsen ratings may never be the same without her constant support. Although not your traditional athlete, Maryland loved sports. She danced ballet on pointe as a teenager, played tennis as a mid-life discovery and loved dancing to live music, making regular appearances on the dance floor at Donn's Depot in the 1980's. She regularly placed her hopes on the Dallas Cowboys, though they were an on-going source of disappointment for Maryland and lost their game the week she died. She might have blamed them for her demise. She thoroughly enjoyed traveling and if not to Las Vegas, was happy to embark on a road trip to Santa Fe, Colorado or the East Coast.

In the last years of her life when staying close to home was more her speed, she enjoyed tending to her plants, watching the birds and keeping an eye on the neighbors' comings and goings. She would announce while watching her daughter and son-in-law working on a DIY project, "Wow! I love to watch you all work... you might want to consider..."

Maryland was not your typical little old lady and if she could have chosen when she left this world it would have probably been at a slot machine in Vegas listening to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. However, as that was not possible, she was grateful for the focused time she got to spend with her family and the care provided to her by Hospice Austin, CNA Isabell aka "Little Bit," nurse Carol Satterwhite and Dr. Derek LeJeune. There is no way to truly capture her kindness and spirit; the world is significantly less interesting without her in it and she will be dearly missed.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Gloria Voigt and Fritz Voigt, her sister Janis Burney Miller, her beloved nephews Ronald Burney and Darryl Burney and her cherished cats, Bouki and Sheeba.

Maryland is survived by her daughter, Vanessa Falkenberg Gallagher and son-in-law Patrick Gallagher, granddaughter Sophie, her "Best Boy" granddog Moo, grandcats Quiche and Bangs. She leaves a host of friends who thought the world of her and whom she treasured.

As was her wish, there will be no formal memorial services; her ashes will be flung far and wide leaving pieces of her spirit in the places she loved most. In her memory, she would want you to cheer on your favorite team, watch some political news, raise a glass to her and listen to someone's hard earned sales pitch. If you would like to recognize her life formally, she would appreciate a donation to Austin Pets Alive! or the Austin Human Society.


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