Dr. Joseph T. Farrell, 87, of Glen Rock, New Jersey, formerly of Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by family and love, lots of love, after a long battle with corticobasal degeneration.
Joe was born in Paterson, New Jersey, to the late Timothy J. and Carolina G. (Mairani) Farrell. Joe was always proud of his Paterson and New Jersey roots. Joe loved to share a good Jersey story, spending time at the soda shop as a carhop valet, serving as an altar boy at St. Michael’s Church in Paterson, running up the street as a child shouting, “The Yankees won the World Series!,” working on the Lackawanna railroad, and playing basketball with friends, forming life-long bonds with many. Family and ancestry mattered.
Joe graduated from St. John’s Cathedral High School in Paterson, New Jersey in 1952. He then went on to Seton Hall College of Medicine and Dentistry, First Graduating Class of 1960. Dr. Farrell successfully completed his surgical residency at St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center, New York City, in 1965.
His love of service to his country, and the sea, brought him to serve as a Lieutenant Commander with the U.S. Navy, in the South China Sea, during the Vietnam War. On May 13, 1966, aboard the U.S.S. Hancock (CVA-19), Lt. Commander Joseph T. Farrell, MD, ship surgeon, replanted the nearly severed arm of Seaman James H. Wolff while under sortie attacks, earning him the Navy Achievement Medal and a Presidential Citation. The first time ever under wartime conditions, the first time on a naval vessel, and fourth such replant in U.S. military medical history. Joe “Doc” Farrell and Jimmy Wolff kept in touch for life, respecting their unique bonding on this day, “The Arm Day.”
Dr. Farrell began his surgical practice and association with St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Paterson, New Jersey, in 1967. Through the years, in addition to his service as a full attending General Surgeon, specializing in abdominal and vascular surgery, he held a variety of positions, including Acting Chair of the Department of Surgery, Associate Director of Surgery, and Member of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Farrell had seven published papers to his credit and had taught at both UMDMJ and Seton Hall University School of Graduate Medical Education. In 1999, he was honored as Cancer Man of the Year, Passaic County. Upon retirement Dr. Joseph T. Farrell earned the highest honor of Emeritus status at St. Joseph’s University Hospital, Paterson, New Jersey.
Joe married the late Halina T. (Chudzik) Farrell, in 1961. After living in various areas, during residency and naval service, they resided in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Together they raised four beautiful children, Teresa, Joe, Halina, and Michael. In addition to his medical career, Joe enjoyed reading, gardening, traveling, great Italian food, Jersey tomatoes and Jersey corn, tennis, golfing, fishing and many family vacations on Cape Cod. Joe and Halina were devotedly married for 26-years until her death in 1988.
Joe was blessed to marry Helena C. Lota, in 1999. They enjoyed many wonderful trips with friends, traveling to Italy, Ireland, Russia, China, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Scotland, France, as well as spending special time, again by the sea, at the NJ Shore in Spring Lake. Joe and Helena spent 23-years together with a blended family, celebrating the welcoming of son- and daughter-in-laws, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Helena was by Joe’s side and cared for him up until his death.
To know Doc was to love Doc. And everyone seemed to know Doc Farrell or someone who knew Doc Farrell. While enjoying travel across the country or world, he was always bound to bump into someone who thanked him for saving their life or a life of their loved one. The six degrees of Dr. Joseph T. Farrell.
Joe loved watching football with family, routing for his favorite sport teams, the Fighting Irish, Army Navy Games, March Madness and of course, The New York Yankees. Joe loved to share the story of saving wages from his first job so that he could buy bleacher seats to take his parents to a Yankee game. Joe could fix anything and enjoyed repairs and especially repairing with surgical sutures, or duct tape, a man who knew how to maximize his talent.
Dr. Joseph T. Farrell is survived by many loved ones who will continue to honor his legacy by living their lives to the fullest. Joe is survived by his beloved wife of 23-years, Helena C. (Lota). Joe is survived by his brother Timothy J. Farrell and wife Lois S. (Santillo), sister Carolyn R. and late husband John E. Campbell, sister-in-law Barbara (Chudzik) and late husband James W. Lea, daughter Teresa H. (Farrell) and husband Thomas K. Ficca, son Joseph M. Farrell and wife Therese (Zoccoli), daughter Halina M. (Farrell) and husband Steven D. Ehnstrom, son Michael R. Farrell and wife Erika (Friedman), step-son Christopher G. Lota and wife Nathalie (Scarpa), late step-son Michael J. Lota and wife Cynthia M. (Meier), step-son Joseph A. Lota and wife Jennifer P. (Hall), grandkids Thomas Ficca, Kathryn Ficca, Jacquelyn (Farrell) and husband Jake Trimble, Joseph Farrell, Lisa Farrell, Logan Ehnstrom, Lukas Ehnstrom, Morgan (Lota) and Daniel Sarkisian, Rachel Lota, Melanie Lota, Amanda Lota, Sophia Lota, Madison Lota, great-grandkids Colton, Sunnie and Wesley Joseph Farrell, many nieces and nephews, grateful patients, caring friends, and devoted caregivers for the past 4+ years, Lu and Cyp.
How do you sum up a lifetime of memories and accomplishments in a few short paragraphs? You don’t.
Joseph T. ‘Doc’ Farrell possessed Irish wit coupled with Italian romanticism of life. As Joe would say, “Have your people call my people. Everyone wants to hang out with us.” So, let’s carry on Doc’s Spirit and come hang out with us as Dr. Joseph T. Farrell is recognized with full military honors.
Services celebrating the life of Dr. Joseph T. Farrell ~ Calling Hours are Tuesday, March 14, 2023 at Vander Plaat Funeral Home, Wyckoff, New Jersey, 4-8pm. Funeral Mass, Wednesday, March 15th, at St. Catharine Church, Glen Rock, New Jersey, 10am.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Dr. Joseph T. Farrell’s honor to John Theurer Cancer Center in Hackensack and St. Jude’s.
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