Rural Resilience: Bob and Jane Faller
What Republic lacks in medical services and big-town accouterments it makes up for in rural resilience. Bob and Jane Faller are fiercely independent like most of the hardy individuals in this northeast corner of the state where Colville is the closest town with a Wal-Mart and Spokane is considered the big city. The Fallers returned to Ferry County eight years ago after living on the West Side and building a house that resembled a barn.
“Oh my God. She made me cry,” Bob says recalling the first time he saw Jane working in a Macy’s toy department in New York City.
A nails-tough individualist, living off the grid as much as possible - even when facing terminal illness - Faller keeps the medical system at bay, not with his bare hands, but with perseverance, alternative medicine and yoga poses like the downward dog.
“It scares the living shit out of me to leave her alone,” Faller said. “Can she live here alone?”
Jane, in her mild, girl-like tone, assures her agitated husband she will be OK. She’s a strong woman, surviving her own cancer battle 20 years ago when doctors removed a breast. Two decades later, she still has effects of the chemo. She may not like the constant talk of death, but she knows its reality.
“We don’t require much,” says Bob. “We both came from two poor families, working their asses off for survival. We’ve never wanted for something we didn’t need.”
“This is the culmination of our whole life,” Bob Faller said, while on one of his two daily walks through their property. No matter the weather, even when ice makes the trails treacherous for old bones, the Fallers walk in nature. It’s their religion.