English Golf Courses

Faldo’s tribute to ‘Iron Woman’

Sir Nick pays touching tribute to his mother, Joyce, who has passed away at the age of 96

Sir Nick pays touching tribute to his mother, Joyce, who has passed away at the age of 96

By Chris Johnston

Sir Nick Faldo has paid tribute to his late mother, describing her as a “once in a lifetime character”. Joyce Smalley Faldo passed away recently of natural causes with her son at her side. She was 96.

A lifetime resident of Welwyn Garden City, she was born in 1927 on Knella Road, in what was then only a seven-year-old, original, Garden City. She resided in that city, which her father Joseph James Smalley helped build, for 90 years.

Predeceased by her husband, George Arthur Faldo, whom she married in 1947, Joyce is survived by her son, Nicholas Alexander Faldo; her brother, Richard Smalley, her sister-in-law Dolly Faldo Slywockji, her grandchildren, Natalie, Matthew, Georgia and Emma Faldo and extended family and friends including LeslieAnne Wade, David and Angie Smalley, Diana and Daniel Desmond, Gill Faldo, Valerie Faldo Vogel and the countless others who shared life in her beloved community of Welwyn Garden City. She and her family were grateful for the special care and friendship of Maria Dau.  


“My mother was a once in a lifetime character, who entertained us with a running commentary of everyday life,” said Faldo. “She has left us with unforgettable moments and memories. She was before her time in terms of health and fitness, advocating olive oils, long walks and peaceful meditation. She appreciated the most simple things and found heaven on earth in her own quiet garden.

“I, affectionately and respectfully, called her the Iron Woman. It was my mother who believed 100 percent in me and who blindly and completely committed to my decision to leave school and travel a journey with golf, which took our small family to places beyond our imagination.  

“She celebrated it all in a most proud and most protected way. She had the gift of gratitude; grateful for family, grateful for a walk and grateful for her garden. 

“In return, I feel eternal gratitude to her and true appreciation for the lessons of this most amazing character in my life.”

A gifted seamstress and dressmaker, Mrs Faldo met her husband, a British Navy, Army and Military Police officer at an event she organised in Welwyn Garden in late 1946. They wed six weeks later.

With her husband, Mrs Faldo was an active member of her community Foot Path Society, where she led long walks and he served as accountant for the club for 20 years. She celebrated the local theatre and arts programs, lectures at the University, church and senior luncheons and her local Keep Fit exercise class. 

In recent years, Mrs Faldo and her grandson, Matthew, served as presenters of the Faldo Commemorative Cup at the Welwyn Garden City Golf Club where she brought her son for his first golf lesson at the age of 14. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mrs Faldo’s memory to The Faldo Series, 19 Russell Street, Windsor, England.

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