Robert Lee Falkner was born Nov. 10, 1911, in Garden Valley in Smith County, Texas to Eugene L. Falkner and wife, Eunice Jackson Neill. He attended Tyler Public Schools and lived in Tyler most of his life. He was a member of Calvary Baptist Church. He was an award-winning photographer for the Tyler Courier-Times-Telegraph for four years. He was owner of R. L. Falkner Photography Shop in Tyler for 45 years. He was an Air Corp veteran of World War II from 1942-1945, discharged as a sergeant of the 8th Air Corp.[i]
Mr. Falkner was listed as a photographer employed by Edwards Photo Finishing Plant in the Worley’s Tyler (Smith County, Tex.) City Directory 1940. Robt. L. & Lorene Falkner resided at 824-1/2 Harris Ave., Tyler, Texas and worked for Edwards Photo Finishing Plant was located at 204 North Spring Ave., Tyler, Texas.
In 1941 he joined T. B. Butler Publishing Co. as a news/advertising photographer. After his service in World War II, he continued working there until October 1951 when he opened his own studio at 307 South Broadway. Mr. Falkner built his own studio at 325 South Bois d’Arc. Mr. Falkner retired after 45 years. He sold the business and studio to Donald and Joy Connery. After unsuccessful attempts to promote and maintain the Falkner business, they sold it to Freddie Black.
Because of health reasons, Mr. Black sold the collection and the building. The negatives, proofs, prints and all rights to R. L. Falkner’s work were acquired in 2003 by the Smith County Historical Society with funds from the Jack T. Greer Memorial Trust Fund.
Mr. Robert Lee Falkner died October 21, 1992 in a Tyler nursing home and was buried at the Tyler Memorial Park under direction of Burks-Walker-Tippit Funeral Home. He was survived by his wife, Lorene Kent Falkner, Tyler; a son, Jerry Kent, Crested Butte, Colo.; a daughter, Peggie Falkner, Coppell; and a brother, Ralph Falkner, Dallas.
Smith County Historical Society is pleased to present the first part of an index to the Falkner Collection.
[i] Tyler Courier Times, Friday, October 23, 1992, obituary R.L. Falkner
Debbie T. Hilliard
Thanks for this great article on R. L. Falkner. He is a cousin but I really didn’t know much about him, except that he was a photographer. I remember my mother talking about him. My mother was closer to his brother, Ralph Gene, and I have pictures of her with him in Van. Robert Lee Falkner’s maternal grandparents (Caleb E. Neill and Mary A. Tunnell)are my maternal great-great-grandparents. His paternal grandmother (Ida Rosella Elliott) is my maternal great grandmother – her second husband Robert Levi Wells is my great grandfather. I have a great photo of his father Eugene Lee Falkner with his mother, Ida Rosella and three of his half-sisters. It is great to have this bio on Robert Lee for my genealogy files.
You came into the SCHS archives while I was researching there on the morning of Feb. 8th – wish I had known about this at the time but my mind was on my husband’s ancestors the Jefferies and Goodmans.
Thanks again, Debbie Trevathan Hilliard
Thank you, Debbie. I plan to expand this post as I find more as I have time. Anything you have to add to this or any other article we post will be welcome. Thanks, Scott (and Tiffany who finally got me to post and found the great picture of Mr. Falkner.)
He was a great Photographer ! I admire His great work!
I know of him growing up as He took photos for Borden Milk Company in Tyler and my Dad Was Plant Superentindant and I have some of Mr. Falkner’s photos