ALTON — John Clifford Farrell, 92, died in his sleep on Friday, June 21, 2019, at home in Alton, after a long illness.
Johnny was born in Farnumsville, Massachusetts, on April 28, 1927, to the late Lora V. Boucher and Michael J. Farrell, the seventh of eight siblings. He graduated from Grafton (Massachusetts) High School in 1948 after serving during World War II in the U.S. Navy from 1945 to 1946 onboard the USS Robinson in the Pacific Theater, while stationed at Shanghai, China.
John loved sports, especially the Red Sox and Patriots, and played semi-pro football and basketball for the South Grafton Athletic Club and baseball for the Polish National Home Tigers, winning the Mac Ben League titles in 1947 and 1948. He coached little league and girls' softball and was Boy Scout Troop 112 Scoutmaster and Explorer Post Leader.
Joining the Grafton Fire Department in 1946 as a volunteer firefighter until moving to New Hampshire in 1982, he then joined the Alton Fire Department and served 15 more years. John saved three children during a house fire on Cross Street in 1956.
He was a member of Saint James Parish where he sang in the choir, the American Legion Post 37, the Knights of Columbus in South Grafton, Massachusetts, and the VFW Post 1670 in Laconia.
John was famous for his Irish Night corned beef and cabbage dinner and gave his time freely as Santa Claus for various organizations.
He taught us how to play sports, fish, and hunt. We did not have much money growing up, but Mom and Dad taught us there were more important things in life, like love of country, family, friends, and hard work, and always telling the truth.
He worked hard at many jobs, including Swift & Company, Wyman Gordon X'Cadrins and Sons, Bay State Welding, Midtown Meats, Coca Cola, the State of New Hampshire, and the Laconia Transit Authority in the 50 years before retiring.
John leaves behind his loving wife of 65 years, Priscilla Tisdale Farrell; his children, Mark F. Farrell and his companion, Anne Marie, of Worcester, Massachusetts, Paul M. Farrell and his wife, Virginia, of Sandwich, Massachusetts, and Lora J. Friend and her husband, Rodney, of Laconia; grandchildren Andrew J. Farrell and Valerie R. Farrell of Grafton, Massachusetts, and Robin M. Friend and Danielle Friend of Laconia; a brother-in-law, Joseph Tata of Leominster, Massachusetts; many nieces/nephews; and many friends.
He was predeceased by his four sisters, Virginia M. Holt, Winifred Paul, Anna Army, and Evelyn M. Paul; and his three brothers, Francis B., Raymond E., and Alfred E. Farrell.
Mom and Dad have decided to donate their bodies to the Anatomical Gift Program at the UMass Medical School. Burial will be at Pine Hill Cemetery in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, at a later date.
There will be a funeral Mass at St. James Parish on Saturday, July 20, at 11 a.m. on Main Street in South Grafton, Massachusetts.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of the donor's choice.