December 11, 2015
Communications and Marketing
William "Bill" J. Farrell, 83, professor emeritus of sociology at Saint Anselm College, passed away on December 11.
Bill was born on December 28, 1931, in Boston, Mass. and grew up in Charlestown. He graduated from Malden Catholic High School and received an undergraduate degree from Boston College while working nights as a messenger for the Boston Globe. He served two years in the United States Navy during the Korean War and taught at the Latin School in Boston, receiving his Master's degree from Boston College.
Bill became a professor of sociology at Saint Anselm College in 1957. While at Saint Anselm, he was actively involved in the Faculty Senate being the principal author of its Constitution and served as President of the Senate from 1970-1973 and from 1980-1982. Among many college accolades, he received the Faculty Excellence Award in 2004. Bill retired in 2011 after 54 years of teaching in the Sociology Department.
Bill was elected to the College's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999. Known as "Voice of the Hawks," as the announcer at the basketball games for more than 50 years. He was also known as the Commissioner of the "Noontime Basketball League," a group of colleagues he played ball with until 2006. Bill was a beloved colleague, a favorite teacher, and a true Anselmian. In 2007, when he received an Honorary Doctorate from the college, President Emeritus Father Jonathan DeFelice, O.S.B. '69 remarked:
"During his half century of teaching, he has endeared himself to thousands of students, colleagues, community members and friends with an unflagging dedication to education in the very fullest sense of that word. Whether instructing his professional colleagues in the discipline of sociology, explaining the roots of social problems to a class of students, leading any number of community volunteer efforts, giving verse to life's mysteries, or supporting Saint Anselm's athletic teams as their number one fan, Bill Farrell has been for fifty years a consummate teacher. His determined pursuit of peace and social justice as well as his unceasing efforts on behalf of Saint Anselm have been carried out with a particular kindness and a spirit of compassion so familiar as to be taken for granted."
Beyond the Saint Anselm community, Bill was one of the principal founders of the NAACP in New Hampshire and served as its charter vice president. He was on the Board of Serenity Place and received its Courage to Change award in 2000. During his many years of political activism, Bill was involved in the presidential campaign of Eugene McCarthy in 1968, and he was an elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention in that year, as well as a State delegate in 1970.
Bill leaves his loving and devoted wife of 32 years, Patricia; one son, Robert; and four daughters, Moira, Siobhan, Dierdre, and Megan. In addition, he leaves behind his two stepdaughters, Peg Bourque (Saint Anselm College Finance Office), and Maureen Gallagher; a stepson, Brian Leaming; and seven granddaughters. He was predeceased by his son, Michael.
There are no calling hours. A memorial Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, December 15 at 10 a.m. in the Saint Anselm Abbey Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Bill and Pat Farrell Scholarship Fund, Care of Saint Anselm College, 100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester, NH 03102.