PHOTO: Facey and his wife, Febes, on their wedding day. (Courtesy)

A man known equally for his serious demeanor and his love for “The Mickey Mouse Club” birthday song, Edward Facey died last month. The former Hillsdale College eco­nomics pro­fessor and his wife were a major part of the college land­scape from 1973 until their retirement in 1995.

Edward Facey, a student of Aus­trian-thought econ­omist Ludwig von Mises and a Korean War veteran, died Aug. 16 at the age of 86, after bat­tling several health issues. Members of the faculty said one of Facey’s greatest achieve­ments at Hillsdale was his instru­mental role in shaping the free market-focused eco­nomics department that Hillsdale houses today.

Eddie Facey Jr. ’86 said his father was a man with a high level of curiosity who held a deep love for teaching others to become well-rounded human beings.

“For my dad, he loved engen­dering learning in others,” Eddie Facey said. “What made him happy was seeing others mas­tering the material that he was teaching.”

This passion for stu­dents often led Edward Facey and his wife — Febes, a former accounting pro­fessor at Hillsdale — to welcome stu­dents into their home on the corner of Oak Street and Academy Lane for dinner, con­ver­sation, and men­toring.

Edward Facey’s love for teaching came from his own pursuit of knowledge. He received an under­graduate degree in engi­neering from the Mass­a­chu­setts Institute of Tech­nology and a master’s degree in eco­nomics and phi­losophy from Catholic Uni­versity of America in Wash­ington, D.C. Facey also studied eco­nomics at the Uni­versity of Chicago, before trans­ferring to New York Uni­versity to study under von Mises, even­tually receiving his doc­torate in eco­nomics. During this time, Facey also spent two years as a soldier in the U.S. Army, serving in the Korean War.

Perhaps the most con­se­quential event from Edward Facey’s time studying under von Mises, however, had nothing to do with eco­nomics. It was in a von Mises class in 1962 that Facey met his future wife, an inter­na­tional student from the Philip­pines. The two married after grad­u­ation from NYU.

In 1972, then-Pres­ident of Hillsdale George Roche recruited the couple, asking for Edward Facey’s help in devel­oping a free market-based eco­nomics department. The two taught side by side at Hillsdale for 23 years.

Those who met the Faceys would have never thought they were husband and wife because Febes Facey was much more out­going than her husband, Pro­fessor of History Tom Conner said.

Edward Facey did have a corny side, though, his son said. He always insisted on playing the Mus­ke­teers’ birthday song from the decades-long tele­vision show “The Mickey Mouse Club,” whenever a family birthday came around.

Despite the couple’s dif­fer­ences, however, they were a tightly knit family, Pro­fessor of Eco­nomics Gary Wolfram said.

“They really had quite a close rela­tionship,” Wolfram said. “Their close rela­tionship between husband and wife showed a very important part of Hillsdale.”

Their intimacy allowed the Faceys to establish a sense of com­munity with their stu­dents, Wolfram said, some­thing he had not pre­vi­ously expe­ri­enced as a pro­fessor.

Edward and Febes Facey were married for 52 years. Eddie Facey said it was their devout Catholic faith that made them close. He said his mother’s prayer was always to a marry a poor man — but a good man — which she found in her husband.

Edward and Febes Facey lived in Hillsdale until 2011, when they moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, to be closer to their son and his wife.

Those years were a gift, Eddie Facey said. In 2003, his father was diag­nosed with severe heart failure. On average, two-thirds of people with the con­dition are dead within a year, but Edward Facey refused to accept that prog­nosis.

“He told the doctors, ‘I want to get out of here, but I know you won’t let me,’” Eddie Facey said. “So he asked, ‘What do I have to do for you to let me out?’ He had an attitude of ‘I am going to get better. Tell me what I need to do, and I will do it.’”

It was with this kind of deter­mi­nation and passion that Edward Facey pursued all of the things he held dear.

Eddie Facey said although academia was important to his father, he never failed to pri­or­itize the important things: faith, family, and Cleveland ath­letics. He was, perhaps, most happy when he had the chance to inter­twine them — in a father-son tra­dition of watching the Cleveland Browns together.

“Pretty much every Sunday at 10 a.m., we would be there, watching some really bad football together. There was some­thing about Dad and I and this really bad team,” Eddie Facey chuckled. “Last Sunday was the first time I sat with an empty chair next to me, and although my wife did come sit with me awhile, it’s not the same without him. It just isn’t.”

Edward Facey leaves behind his wife, his son, and his daughter, Betty Facey ’86.

And at Hillsdale, his memory lives on in the stu­dents, espe­cially those with a passion for Aus­trian eco­nomics.

“He was one of the cor­ner­stones of the eco­nomic program, as it began its expansion to one of the largest majors on campus,” Wolfram said.