Mason Grad Zach Falter Dies at 47


Zachary Falter died unexpectedly on July 6 at his home in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, where he lived with his mother, Nancy Falter Whalen. He was 47 years old.

Zach grew up with his family in Falls Church, which was where he spent the happiest days of his life. He graduated from George Mason High School in 1991 and from the University of Virginia in 1995.

Soon after graduation, he was stricken with schizophrenia, which drastically changed the course of his life.

While attending George Mason, Zach was active in sports and music, becoming captain of the football and wrestling teams, a member of the band where he played the drums, and part of a rock band with his friends from George Mason. Zach was also an honors student who received many scholastic awards and was especially proud of graduating from UVA where he earned a BA in English Literature.

After he became ill, his journey was difficult at best, but he rarely complained. While he learned to cope with his mental illness, he developed serious, chronic health conditions in the last few years of his life.

He loved to spend time with his family, listen to music, and celebrate every holiday, even Groundhog Day, in his own creative way.

Zachary is survived by his father Steven Falter of Falls Church; his mother Nancy Falter Whalen of Shepherdstown; his twin brother Mitchell (Laurie) Falter of Clifton; his sister Bethany Falter of Ashburn and his niece and nephew, Cecilia Falter Wolfe and Thomas Falter, as well as many aunts, uncles, and cousins, all of whom grieve his loss and celebrate his life.

His family will have a memorial service at a later date. Anyone who cares to remember Zachary’s life is invited to do so by gaining a better understanding and greater acceptance of those with mental illnesses or by making a contribution to the National Alliance on Mental Illness headquartered in Arlington.