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Memphis Funeral Home

OBITUARY

Richard Stephen Farrell

November 12, 1943March 31, 2014

Richard Stephen Farrell, Commander, United States Navy (retired), 70, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend to all who were blessed to have known him, passed away peacefully in the presence of his family on March 31, 2014 in Collierville, TN. He was born in Glen Ridge, NJ, and grew up watching his father, Edward Farrell, play for the New York Yankees, which explains his lifelong passion for baseball. Richard graduated from the United States Naval Academy in June 1965. Following a distinguished career as a Naval Aviator and Fighter Squadron Commander, during which he was selected to represent the United States on flight duty with the British Royal Navy, he established residence in Collierville and joined Federal Express, ultimately retiring as a DC-10 Captain. He is remembered as primary lead F-14 pilot in the motion picture, “THE FINAL COUNTDOWN,” as an extraordinary fighter pilot and Naval leader, as a Veteran who continued to serve his fellow Vets at the VA Hospital, as a faithful servant of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church and as a dedicated contributor to the Boy Scouts of America.

His fellow aviators would tell you that this humble gentleman would never lay claim to the fact that they considered him to be the very best of the best among them, a truly distinguished ambassador for their profession, their Navy, their company and their nation and a man representative of the highest standards of personal honor and decorum. His family would say that he was a man among men who dedicated his life to caring for them and who set the highest example for his children. All of his friends would say that he could brighten even the darkest room.

Richard was preceded by the passing of his daughter Andrea, brother Edward, sisters Linda Fahey and Joan Feeney, sister-in-law Patty Umberson, brother-in-law Ted Feeney, mother-in-law Sonja Umberson and his parents, Edward and Helen Farrell. He is survived by his wife, Linda, his true soul mate, and by his treasured children, daughter Jennifer Ackerman (Brian), sons Richard, Matthew and Brian Farrell and grandson, Michael Ackerman and by his sisters Betty Heffernan (Mike), Sheila Hailer (Don) and Ellen Mullen (Larry). He is also survived by his father-in-law William Umberson, sons-in-law Charles and Norman Umberson (Patrice), sister-in-law Patricia Farrell and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Visitation will be on Sunday, April 6 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Memphis Funeral Home. Funeral Service will be Monday, April 7 at 11 a.m. at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, followed by interment at West Tennessee Veterans' Cemetery at 12:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, Richard's family requests memorial donations be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Services

  • Visitation

    Sunday, April 6, 2014

  • Funeral Service

    Monday, April 7, 2014

Memories

Richard Stephen Farrell

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Ashley Clark

March 3, 2019

My first sea command was virgin-151 where he was our leader, my first shore command I had the honor of serving under him again. It was leaders like him that turned my life & career in a positive direction inspiring me to serve 20 years retiring as a chief one I hope would have lived up to his high standards. He wasn’t my first or last commanding officer but one who I always remembered & had th highest respect for fair winds & following seas commander.

James Kochheiser

March 16, 2018

As a 17 year old young sailor in 1981 being shipped out to VF-151 as a first command, Fox Farrell was my first CO. During my check-in with him, he asked me why I joined the Navy? I told him that I was inspired to sign up after watching the Final Countdown, my favorite movie at the time. He asked me what my favorite part was and I explained that the scene with the fighter jets intercepting the Japanese was awesome - and when the pilot of one of the two planes flamed out and regained control just as the plane was ready to hit the water - I was so impressed, I wanted to be part of that team! I then told him that I was just as proud to be part of his F-4S team... He flicked back his white scarf around his neck and told me that he was that pilot in the movie. At the time, I thought he was kidding me... when I got back to my department, I told them what he had said and my supervisor said that he was the actual guy... I was so embarrassed and impressed at the same time! A few weeks later I was assigned to TAD (Temporary Additional Duty) cleaning officer staterooms (as all new personnel have to do when they report onboard for the first time). I found out that Fox had arranged for me to be assigned to the Air Wing's commanding officers' staterooms, including Commander Vernon's stateroom - the CAG officer himself. I had a great few months with him before he left command... I can personally attest that Fox made a HUGE impact on my life, was a real hero to me... and personally helped me out at the beginning of my Navy career. May he rest in peace and be loved for all of eternity... James Everett Kochheiser, U.S. Navy 1981-1984 and 1989-1993 - now retired to the Philippines.

October 14, 2014

The Summit Street & Hillcrest "gang". Those were the fondest memories of my life. Thought about you and Ed over the years - we all should have had a reunion. We were never at home - always on our bikes Schwinns or Columbias - headed for a game of touch football over at the Sommerkamp's/Mulhern's side-lot. Miss you Ritchie! Chuck (Johnny) Leavitt

April 22, 2014

Got my first catshot and trap with Fox, and remember his stories of Flying British Phantoms from Arc Royal. He was a good man and a straightforward leader. Rest in Peace Commander Farrell!

Aaron Yates

April 21, 2014

Fair winds and following seas your tour is done rest in peace now

Clay Absher

April 21, 2014

Cruised with Foxy on Nimitz.
He was a class act!
Kindest regards to his family.

Skip McAlexander

April 12, 2014

Fox was a wonderful gentleman and a great friend. He will be greatly missed by so many of us.

Tim Fahey

April 12, 2014

Uncle Dick was that "Uncle" that every nephew wished he could have. He was larger than life in my eyes as a Naval Aviator. While I didn't get to see him very often growing up when he was deployed overseas, I'll never forget the postcards and pictures he sent to me. He inspired me to eventually follow him and join the Navy. I will always be grateful for when he came to my winging. I think the biggest things I take from him are his love of family and friends (he would always find a way to be there when it counted or drop in during a FedEx layover) and the way he carried himself as a true professional. He epitomized the mantra: "Act like you've been there before." He was always humble and did things with class. A true officer and gentleman. Linda, Rich, Jenny, Matthew and Brian. I was fortunate to be at the D-Day beaches last week and was thinking of Richard the entire time. Just humbled by the sacrifices of the servicemen then, those of Richard in his time and those currently today. My prayers are with him and you all during this difficult time.

Love,
Tim, Cara, Brendan, Megan, and Evan Fahey

Don Sammons

April 7, 2014

The countdown is over Fox, you have launched on that last mission and flown west....you will be missed.
Matt, you need anything at ND, lemme know.

Irish

April 7, 2014

Linda - Richard was a Plebe when I was a 'Firstie' and my roommate was his brother Ed "Fox" Farrell". Ed was my Best Man at my wedding and he always talked about his brother. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss and I'm sure Ed is in heaven welcoming his brother.

All the best,

Richard "Dick" Hayes '62
usna62@verizon.net

FROM THE FAMILY