James Farrell

Memorial Visitation at Funeral Home

3:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Thursday, July 6, 2023
Fuller Funeral Home Inc.
190 Buffalo St.
Canandaigua, New York, United States

Obituary of James Alan Farrell

James Alan (Jim) Farrell, 85, Canandaigua December 27, 1937—June 23, 2023 Friends may call 3-7 pm, Thursday, July 6, at Fuller Funeral Home in Canandaigua. The family will plan a private memorial service at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. Jim passed away suddenly from a rare blood disorder on June 23. He was predeceased by his parents: Doris and James Farrell, and his sister-in-law: Carol Farrell. Jim is survived by his brothers: Robert and Stephen; his loving wife of 64 years, Leah; Children: Michael (Wanda), Lisa Farrell-Thompson (Jack), Thomas (Luise); and John (Kim); Grandchildren: James, Patrick, Benjamin, Matias, and Robert; his sister-in-law: Sandra Herman (Robert); and sister-in-law: Wilda Pelton (Jeff); several cousins, nieces, and nephews. Jim graduated from St. John Fisher College (1960) and the University of Rochester (Master's degree (1961) and Doctorate (1968). He began his career as an English and Social Studies teacher. In 1965 he became an elementary school counselor at Brockport State College (SUNY) Campus School, where he facilitated participation in the early days of the Urban-Suburban Transfer program. Jim then became the first director of the college Counseling Center and an Associate Professor of Education. His subsequent years at the Rochester City School District (1976-1993) were challenging and fulfilling. As Director of Curriculum, he initiated and led efforts to develop a nationally recognized "Three Year Plan": a data-based, standardized method for evaluating student performance. At the time of his retirement, he was Associate Superintendent for Elementary Schools. During his career, he received numerous awards, including the University of Rochester "Distinguished Alumni Award" (1985) and "Educator of the Year Award" (1988). His family meant everything to Jim; he loved, supported, counseled, and worried about his children and grandchildren from infancy to adulthood. Whether hunting ducks and fishing for bass or pike on the St. Lawrence River, pheasant hunting with his English Setters or beloved golden retriever, Chelsea, or deer hunting with his sons, he was a happy man. He shared his knowledge and respect for nature. With Jim as their teacher, all the children grew up loving the river, collecting fond memories of their many adventures: learning to swim, run a boat, tie a knot, survive a storm, and eat or release a fish they caught. He was an avid reader who loved history and could often be found working in his perennial gardens or practicing his golf swing. He hit an impressive long drive while playing with his son and grandson the week before he passed away. Undoubtedly, he would also like to be remembered as a young left-handed baseball pitcher with a great fastball. At age 85, Jim was still on the go, walking 10,000 steps daily, often accompanied by his loving daughter Lisa and their dogs, including his seven-month-old Golden Retriever puppy, Jenny. In 2005, he and his wife and best friend, Leah, moved to Canandaigua, a decision that has rewarded them with the gift of a new community and many new friends; always an Irishman at heart, Jim had a twinkle in his eye, a hearty laugh, a sincere interest in everyone he met, engaging them, whoever they might be. He was a gifted "people person" and has touched many lives. He will be greatly missed by his loving family and all who knew him.
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