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Alumnus attends 382 consecutive home games

Brooke Kovanda | Sunday, November 20, 2011

Regardless of traffic, weather or even the possibility of his children being born, for the past 382 consecutive home football games, Notre Dame alumnus Charles “Chuck” Falkenberg has been in the stands.

Falkenberg began attending games with his father in 1939, said Martin Falkenberg ‘90, Falkenberg’s son. Charles eventually graduated from the University in 1952, and continued his streak through the years as seven out of his 10 children went on to attend Notre Dame.

Now, 72 years after his first home game, four of Falkenberg’s grandchildren are at Notre Dame.

Brian Falkenberg, a sophomore in Alumni Hall; Tommy Falkenberg, a sophomore in Stanford Hall; Rebecca Moriarty, a sophomore in McGlinn Hall; and Danny Falkenberg, a freshman in Knott Hall, all enjoy the tradition that has been part of their family their entire lives and admire their grandfather’s unwavering enthusiasm.

The grandchildren all agreed that their memories, as well as their grandfather’s passion for the University, undoubtedly influenced their desire to come to Notre Dame.

“I just have memories going back as far as I can really remember. I mean, just going tailgating with my family, stuff like that,” Danny said.

Moriarty recalls attending her first game as a freshman with her cousins Tommy and Brian and how exciting it was to take a picture with them, her grandfather and all of their parents.

Martin said he attributes two major reasons to Falkenberg’s passion and dedication: his love for the University and family.

“Obviously the first reason is the love of the University,” Martin said. “But secondly, it was something he did with his father. My grandfather went with him every weekend until he passed away in 1972. Then my oldest sisters were old enough to go every weekend, so Notre Dame football was something that transcended the generations.

Most of my family who have graduated [from Notre Dame] go back every week, and it’s something we can all do together. It’s a social activity — we all love Notre Dame football, and we love the University and everything it stands for.

“You know, my father is a persistent guy. Whenever I introduce my father at football games, I always say he hasn’t missed a game since 1939, and most people are pretty amazed at that streak.”

Falkenberg’s daughter, Grace Moriarty ’80, said that his streak was never a goal.

“For him, it’s just a part of his life,” she said. “I don’t think it was ever intentional.”

As for the countless obstacles Charles Falkenberg faced in attending game day weekends, the alum always found a way to persevere.

“We tried to arrange dates so that they didn’t [conflict with home football games]. That was just a given, he was going to be there,” Grace said with a laugh. “We didn’t schedule things on football days.”

Danny said even the greatest of conflicts couldn’t deter Charles’ devotion to Notre Dame.

“He’s almost missed his children being born,” Danny said.

Saturday’s victory over Boston College marked Charles’ 382nd consecutive home game and Falkenberg’s family said he has no plans of stopping the tradition. His family remains loyal to continuing his legacy.

“It was all him. He was the one who started it,” Tommy said.