John J. Farley | News, Sports, Jobs
In the wee hours of Thursday, April 21, 2022, expecting to do his usual work day at the North Country Center for Independence, our father, John Joseph Farley, woke up to the smiles of our mother, Viola, and our sister, Stacy, in heaven.
Our father was born on September 19, 1943 to our great-grandparents John and Dorothy (Shipley) Farley in Brooklyn. He graduated from John F. Kennedy High School and Vorhees Technical College. In November 1963, our father met our mother. Dashing Johnny married the beautiful Viola Byers on April 24, 1965.
In December 1966, family planning went wrong, and on August 14, 1967, Lauren Beth was born. In 1969, the small Brooklyn family moved to King Salmon, Alaska, where John accepted a job as a heating engineer for the federal government. Google Brooklyn then Google King Salmon. We’re sure our 24-year-old city mom, with a toddler in tow and flying for the first time, wasn’t expecting THIS! Johnny had the ideas and Viola had enough love and confidence to go around. On June 24, 1971, our sister, Stacy Beth, was born in Dillingham, Alaska. Later that same year, our father took on another federal position, facilities manager of airport operations, in Cold Bay, Alaska. On October 9, 1975, our brother, John Ryan, was born in Anchorage and our family was complete. We think Cold Bay was our parents’ favorite time. In 1978, wanting to return to Lower ’48 to be closer to his family, a transfer to Connecticuit for a job with the FAA. We’re sure it was our parents’ least favorite place. Cold Bay in the suburbs didn’t go over well with our mother.
In 1979, Johnny had another idea and Vi hit the road again. This time in Wilmington, New York to own and operate the North Country Inn. Financially it was a constant struggle, but experience-wise it was unbeatable. It was a family business. Our hilarious experiences there are too many to mention. Our mom cooked, the sisters served the tables, our dad did a bit of everything, and 5-year-old Ryan directed customers to parking spots for cash whether they liked it or not.
In the mid-1980s, Stacy was diagnosed with cancer. Our father accepted an offer from Pan Am Airlines to run facilities and operations at JFK and our sister received the best possible care from Sloan Kettering. Our sister died on June 7, 1992. She was 20 years old. Our family continued but we were never the same. After spending years going through the anguish of chemo, radiation, remission, recurrence, and experimental drug trials with our sister, our mother remained a shell of herself. Johnny to the rescue!
Throughout the rest of the 90s and early 2000s, Johnny saw opportunity and dollar signs AND Viola got back on track. Our father, under contract with the United States Department of Defense, held various positions, including overseeing the reconstruction of Turkish infrastructure following a devastating earthquake and designing strategic air bases in Saudi Arabia. They have built lives in several countries and visited many more. Ireland, Egypt and Italy were the top three. Egypt beat Italy because Johnny wore shorts in the Vatican and was refused entry by the Swiss Guard. Our father’s last stint abroad could not include our mother because the opportunity was in Iraq as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. We have no idea what he did there. We know that’s the only contract he hasn’t finished. He surprised our mother by joining her in Plattsburgh a few weeks before the end of his contract. It was only after our mother died on November 14, 2016 that our father told us about his experiences in Iraq. We’ll be asking Harrison Ford to play our dad when the movie comes out.
Not one to stay in one place too long, Johnny and Viola traveled the United States to visit beautiful beaches. Our dad loved beaches and our mom loved oceanfront suites with balconies and room service. When the grandchildren and then the great-grandchildren arrived, the trips stopped and visiting Nana and Grandpa’s house became the place to be. Johnny, now a grandfather, started pissing off Nana and so he became a full-time employee again. His time and talents were now utilized by a disability rights organization as a consultant on architectural barriers. He will be missed by many there.
As his surviving children, although it was an incredibly painful time for all of us, we appreciate the five years we were able to spend with him after our mother passed away. Right now, this moment is also painful, but the peace we have in knowing that our parents are together again will prevail.
Along with our mother and sister, our father was predeceased by his parents, older brother Martin Farley and nephew Sean Farley.
Survivors include us, his children, Lauren (Jeff) LeFebvre, of Onchiota, and John Ryan (Kristen) Farley, of Plattsburgh; his grandchildren, Veronica Nason and her husband Maxwell, Autumn LeFebvre and her fiancé Kyler Hayes, Abbie Farley and her fiancé Brock Kirk, and John (JJ) and Cayden Farley; his three great-granddaughters, Delilah, Mia and Brielle Nason; two sisters, Dorothy and Gail Farley, and three brothers, Timothy, Peter and Richard Farley; cousin, Vicky Shipley-Wilson; and several nieces and nephews.
There are no calling hours. A funeral mass will be held at Holy Name Church in AuSable Forks at 10:30 a.m. on May 4, followed by interment at Holy Name Cemetery.
Friends or family wishing to make charitable donations in John’s memory should consider Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital or the North Country Center for Independence.
Services have been entrusted to Zaumetzer Funeral Home, Au Sable Forks, (518) 647-8177.