Born: February 11th, 1925
Passed in: Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
Passed on: June 25th, 2012
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather and friend, Michael Joseph Farrell. Mike passed away on Monday, June 25, 2012, surrounded by his family in the palliative care unit at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, Sydney.
Mike was born on Feb. 11, 1925 to Sarah ‘Sadie’ MacDonald and John Joseph Farrell. He was the oldest of 12 children, five boys and seven girls.
Mike served overseas with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders. He landed in England then fought across France and Belgium into Germany. In March of 1945, Mike was shot in the back of the head by a snipers bullet. His fellow soldier loaded him in a wheelbarrow and got him to the nearest aid station. He was patched up and sent to England where he woke six weeks later unable to walk, read or write. Doctors told him he was partially paralyzed and may never regain the use of his legs but with sheer determination and a healthy stubbornness, he endured the pain and forced his body to relearn all it had lost. Mike remained partially paralyzed on the right side of his body but he never let that stop him from doing anything. After a year of recovery at home in Cape Breton, Mike returned to work in Ontario. It was there he met his late wife, Kathleen Theresa Blake, they married in 1952. In 1954 they moved back to Cape Breton where they raised their eight sons and two daughters.
In 1956 Mike was one of the 12 founding members of the East Bay Legion Branch 151. He worked as a bartender there off and on from 1957 - 1989. Mike served the legion in many roles including Sgt. of Arms, vice-president, president and in his more recent position as service officer. Mike loved all his positions in the legion, but the role of service officer gave him great satisfaction. Mike believed there was no greater honour than being able to help his fellow veterans and their families. He took great pride in serving others. Mike was recognized for his many accomplishments in the legion. He received The Life Membership, The Meritorious Service Medal and the Palm Leaf, which is the highest accolade the legion grants. Mike recently was honoured by the legion with his 55 year pin, a day he greatly cherished.
Throughout his life, Mike has overcome obstacles with strength and determination. This rings true even in sight of his recent battle with illness in these last months, which he faced with grace and an immeasurable amount of strength. His boisterous voice and twinkling blue eyes will be remembered fondly and lovingly by all who met him. His sense of humour, never ending stories and advice will be missed greatly by his friends and family.
Mike’s family has lost a prominent figure. His presence is irreplaceable, but his memory is a cherished gift that his family will continue to carry with them. Mike was known as a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather and friend, but for all who knew him he was also a hero. The Second World War veteran who survived against all odds to return home, raise a family and inspire a community. Mike’s zest for life gives us all something to aspire to. At his time of rest, it is we who will carry his memory into the dawn of another day.
Mike is survived by his 10 children, Michael (Cathy), Toronto; Ed, Sydney Forks; David (Heather), Sydney; Pat (Cathy), Sydney Forks; Lawrence (Jane), Marion Bridge; Greg (Joanne), Halifax; Diane (John) MacKinnon, Sydney Forks; Kevin (Leslie), Sydney Forks; Doug (Noreen), Sydney River; Judy (Bruce) Pirnie, Winnipeg. Grandchildren, Billy, Gail, Amanda, Marcia, Michael, Bria, Faith, Blake, Daniel, Katarzyna; great-grandchildren, Willis, Jodiee, Trista, Sarah; great-great-grandson, Pierce. Siblings, Mary Blake , Port Elgin; Rita Briand, Barrie; Effie (Bobby) Chipman, Sydney Forks; Sally (Charles) Sampson, Sydney Forks; Joseph (Carol), Toronto and by his loving longtime companion, Jenny MacNamara.
Mike was predeceased by his wife, Kathleen ‘Kay’; siblings, Danny, Teresa MacNeil, Margaret Curry, Angus, James and Annie MacIssac.
Visitation for the late Mr. Farrell wll be held at T.W.Curry Parkview Chapel Wednesday from 7-9 p.m. and Thursday 2-4 & 7-9 p.m. Funeral mass will be celebrated on Friday at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Church with Rev. Frank Abbass officiating. Interment in the parish cemetery, East Bay.
Donations may be made in Mike’s memory to the East Bay Legion Br. 151, Palliative Care Unit at the Cape Breton Hospital or the Cape Breton Comfort Fund.
A special thank you to the doctors and nurses of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Palliative Care unit who took special care of Mike during his last days, and allowing him the grace and dignity he deserved.
Online condolences to www.twcurry.com.