We remember John as a loving son to Marie and Jim; a great brother to Margaret, Jim and Kevin; a wonderful brother-in-law to Robert Paxton and Christine; a caring and compassionate grandchild to Grandpa and "Peg," a fun-loving cousin and nephew. We remember him as Uncle John - all entertainment, but no diapers. We remember him as a generous and loyal friend.
We remember John growing up in Rockaway – the beach, the basketball hoop, "the cousins" and tons of fun. Four great years at Xavier taught him how to commute into "the city" and even "speak" Latin. We can still see him jumping in a car to Worchester, MA as an undergraduate at the College of the Holy Cross, his "dream school." He made great friends along the way and celebrated with his fellow Crusaders this May at their 10-year reunion.
Shortly after college, John moved to Manhattan and secured a position with Cantor Fitzgerald. He began as an assistant trader in the government bonds division. In time, John's honesty, diligence and work with clients was rewarded and he became a Vice President and partner. John never self-identified with his job, but always took great pride in his co-workers, especially those who shared his keen sense of justice.
We remember the great friends John made at Cantor and the hysterical tales he would regale. We remember him playing golf, his "thirst" ("cocktail time"), the "workout contests", the Mets, the Red Storm, the Shore, the bets, and being "off the desk". When we think of his last morning, we especially remember Mike Andrews, Teddy Brennan, Tommy Cahill, Al Mallor and too many others who vibrant lives were wretched from us.
John was a gift to us all and we will always remember his ready smile, his quick wit, and his generous nature. He loved life and we are heartbroken that his ended so soon and so suddenly. The adventures were numerous, the laughter was immeasurable, the void is unspeakable.
Tribute submitted by Kevin Farrell.
A Caring Klutz
By day's end, Grandma would have everyone fit to be tied as she roared with the agitation of an Alzheimer's sufferer. Then a grandson, John Farrell, would walk into the kitchen, flop next to her wheelchair and say genially, "Peg! How was your day?"
She did not know who he was, only that she could trust him. "Peg! Keep it down, there!" he would say. "Let me finish my dinner and we'll take care of it." She would relax, calmed by her broad, hulking friend.
A good-time guy, Mr. Farrell, 32, was a vice president and partner at Cantor Fitzgerald, student of all things Irish and endearingly hapless, according to his sister, Margaret. "He was so caring," she said, "and so klutzy."
He also had a way with the ladies, especially Cate, the 2 1/2-year-old niece he pronounced the only perfect woman he had ever met. That last September weekend, as the Farrell clan gathered in Rockaway Beach, Queens, Mr. Farrell captivated the perfect woman with a gimmick leash that walked an imaginary dog. Saturday night, Cate could not sleep.
Wearing footed pajamas, she slipped out to the backyard for a stroll with Uncle John, who carefully held the leash as he recounted tales of the inimitable, invisible Spot.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on January 22, 2002.