Ronald Allen Farrell

November 12, 1943January 20, 2020
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Ronald Allen Farrell of Kansas City died at his home surrounded by his family on January 20th, 2020.

Ron was born to Jim and Bernice Farrell on November 12th, 1943 in Storm Lake, Iowa. He grew up on various farms around Northwest Iowa, finally settling on the home place just south of Newell when he was five years old. Ron was proud of his northwest Iowa roots and always spoke fondly of his childhood where he learned the value of hard work, integrity, faith and family from two remarkable parents. Ron attended Loras College and graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in Agronomy and Chemistry. He met his partner in life, Judi, when he was a freshman at Loras. Ron and Judi wrote letters to each other throughout their long, on-again, off-again courtship. Ron proposed in 1966 when Judi was a junior in college and they were married in Tama, Iowa on June 17th, 1967.

Ron spent his entire career in agriculture. While still in college, he worked as an intern with DuPont. He later held positions with Union Carbide and Shell Chemical. In 1969, Ron and Judi partnered with 3 other couples to purchase Brayton Chemicals in West Burlington, Iowa. Brayton grew to be a very successful crop protection distributor, but Ron continued to long for the farm. In 1982, Ron and Judi moved their three daughters to southeastern Minnesota to start a farming operation from scratch. They farmed roughly 1,600 acres during the heart of the farm crisis. In 1985, the family returned to Burlington, Iowa where Ron accepted a management position with what was then the Brayton Division of Wilbur-Ellis Company. In the summer of 1991, Ron studied at Stanford University and earned an Executive MBA. When he returned from Stanford, he was named Vice President of Wilbur-Ellis Company, Southern Division and he and Judi moved to McAllen, Texas where Ron had responsibility for the southern United States and Mexico.

In 1997, Ron retired from Wilbur-Ellis and partnered with others to found Farrell Growth Group, an ag consulting firm for which he was President and CEO until the end of 2019. He concurrently served as President and CEO of AgGateway Corporation (RAPID, Inc.) until the end of 2008. Ron was a true visionary in the ag industry and left his mark on many colleagues and customers.

Although Ron was passionate about his work and his farms, he valued his family above all else.

Ron is survived by his wife of 53 years, Judi; three daughters: Jennifer Farrell of Ankeny, Iowa, Susan (Harry) Wallem of Hayfield, Minnesota and Kelly (Mick) Freyermuth of Kansas City; five grandchildren: Hailey Rostad, Grace Doraska and Luke, Rory and Caitlin Freyermuth and a special young man, Austin Gessell. He is also survived by one brother, four sisters, six brothers-in-law, three sisters-in-law and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He is preceded in death by his parents, Jim and Bernice Farrell, his stepfather, Donald Farrell, his brother-in-law, Mike Balster and his nephew, Sherman Hogrefe.

A wake service will be held on Thursday, January 23rd, 2020 at 4:30pm at Holy Family Catholic Church, 919 NE 96th Street, Kansas City, Missouri, with visitation to follow until 8 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11am Friday, January 24th, 2020 at Holy Family Catholic Church. Inurnment will be at a later date at St. Columbkille’s Cemetery in Varina, Iowa.


  • Jim Farrell, Father (deceased)
  • Bernice Farrell, Mother (deceased)
  • Donald Farrell, Step-Father (deceased)
  • Judi (Waterbeck) Farrell, Wife
  • Jennifer Farrell, Daughter
  • Susan Wallem (Harry), Daughter
  • Kelly Freyermuth (Mick), Daughter
  • Hailey Rostad, Granddaughter
  • Grace Doraska, Granddaughter
  • Luke Freyermuth, Grandson
  • Rory Freyermuth, Granddaughter
  • Caitlin Freyermuth, Granddaughter
  • Austin Gessell, Family Friend
  • Mike Balster, Brother-in-law (deceased)
  • Sherman Hogrefe, Nephew (deceased)
  • He is also survived by one brother, four sisters, six brothers-in-law, three sisters-in-law and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

  • Michael Balster
  • Kevin Balster
  • Doug Grover
  • Tyler Hogrefe
  • Jim Farrell
  • Nick Farrell
  • Chad Stedman
  • Jerome Waterbeck
  • Weston Waterbeck

  • Charity of the Donors Choice


  • Rosary & Wake Service

    Thursday, January 23, 2020

  • Visitation

    Thursday, January 23, 2020

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Friday, January 24, 2020


Ronald Allen Farrell

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Scott Kluesner

March 9, 2020

Farrell Family-

My deepest condolences. I knew Jennifer from college at the University of Iowa and she always spoke of her Dad with the highest regard and respect. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to personally meet Ron. I know from retailers I've worked with that he did make a huge contribution to agriculture and his passion for the independent retailer was always evident.

My prayers are with your family!

Raphael Traen

January 27, 2020

We are deeply saddened upon the hearing of Ron's passing. He was a true leader in everything he did. My association with Ron as a customer, peer and more importantly as a friend will not be forgotten. His passion for excellence, integrity and boundless energy crossed all phases of his life. He was a front runner for change in the Agricultural Industry, even when it wasn't the popular thing to do. Judi and family, know our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time.
Ray & Carol Traen

Gregory Pohlmann

January 27, 2020

Jane and I express our deepest sympathy to Judi and the entire Farrell family.

As a young boy growing up, my father once told me that if I was lucky in my adult life, I would be able to count all of my closest friends on either one or two of my hands. Ron Farrell was indeed one of our closest friends as we have known Ron and Judi for over 45 years since we first met them as residents in our Glenmark sub-division in Burlington, IA.

As our oldest son Chad told me prior to departing to attend Ron's wake and funeral, in addition to wearing your ATTITUDE pin, make sure you also wear your American flag pin as Ron was truly a great American. As our youngest son Ryan told us, we know you're having to deal with icy and snowy roads on your trip to Kansas City, but just forge ahead like Ron Farrell would do and don't let anything stop you from being there to pay your respects!

Words cannot adequately describe how much our friendship with Ron and Judi have meant to Jane and me during our lifetime.
Ron set the bar very high for us to follow and our lives are far better off from being able to share so many quality times with he and Judi.

We are confident that Ron is already serving on THE BOARD in God's heavenly kingdom!

Love and prayers from Greg and Jane Pohlmann

Jerry Quinn

January 24, 2020

Janie and I offer our sincere condolences to Judi and the whole family. We really enjoyed our time with you both on various company trips. Personally, I enjoyed Ron for his talent, dedication to agriculture and his friendship. Whenever we were together I felt that I was with a friend and Mentor. After I left RAPID I knew it was in better hands with Ron.

Casey Niemann

January 23, 2020

Ron was a mentor to me and a constant encouraging voice in helping me start a business that served agriculture. He took his time to coach, educate and help us connect to other good people. He truly worked in the best interest of the industry and touched so many during his career. He was one of a kind and a true blessing.

Chris Harr

January 23, 2020

The world lost an icon and heaven gained an angel. I'm not sure when I first met Ron but it was during my time working in the Ag Chem industry. I had the opportunity to work closely with him as a board member at RAPID when AgGateway became a vision. I really enjoyed him as a person and working along side him to improve Agriculture. I am saddened by the news of his passing and look back fondly on our friendship.

Jeff Griffeth

January 23, 2020

Ron always had time to visit and made everyone feel welcome. His vision of the future for agriculture has led the industry to a point we could have never made it to without him. I enjoyed visiting with him every time I had the chance. My deepest sympathies to his family. He will be missed by everyone.

Tom Hall

January 23, 2020

Every conversation I had with Ron over the last 30 years always ended with him saying, how can I help you. How lucky I was to have Ron’s advice and counsel and a couple of times a gentle shove in the right direction. Thank you Judy and family for sharing this remarkable man with us.

His vision, friendship and guidance will be greatly missed.

Mary & John Nunamaker

January 23, 2020

Oh Judi...we are heartbroken to hear this news. How many wonderful memories we have of you and Ron at ag chem meetings and trips. Many MANY thoughts and laughs of our times together. Know that our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family. Much love,Mary & John. ❤️

Linda Marsh

January 22, 2020

I came to know Ron and the Farrell family when they moved to Minnesota to farm. The Farrell family is one of the nicer families I know. Ron was a hard working driven man but also very much a family man. We worked together and played together and he was always supportive of those around him. His family cared for him in his illness in the same way. May he now Rest In Peace. He was loved by many