NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

April 7, 2014

Rev. Thomas F. Farley, 80


Haverhill — Reverend Thomas F. Farley, formerly of Gouldsboro, Maine, and a Roman Catholic Priest with the Archdiocese of Maine, passed away after a period of declining health, on April 5, 2014, in Haverhill, Mass. He was 80 years old.

Father Farley was born in Haverhill on October 4, 1933, and was the son of the late Thomas F. Sr. and Katherine (Ireland) Farley. Tom grew up in the Acre section of the city, was a member of St. James Parish, and was educated in the St. James schools, graduating from St. James High School, Class of 1952. Following high school, Tom’s goal was to enter the priesthood, and he entered the seminary at the Franciscan Seminary in New York, where he received his bachelor’s degree. He then matriculated to St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Mass. After leaving the Seminary, Tom took an extended sabbatical and began a long career as a high school teacher, teaching Latin and English in various schools in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maine. While teaching in northern Maine, Tom fell in love with the state, and purchased his first home in Sullivan, Maine, in the early 1970s.

When Tom retired from teaching, he pursued a variety of interests. He served as a volunteer and lived at Haley House in Boston for several years, serving the needy. Thereafter, he became a real estate title examiner for the firm of Peabody Brown in Boston. In the late 1980s, Tom moved back to Maine, and worked as an independent title examiner In Ellsworth, Maine, for many years.

Tom was an active member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Ellsworth, and in the mid-1990s, he began to work full-time as the church administrator under Father James Michaud. It was from there that Tom felt the call to return to the priesthood, to the delight of, and with the full support of his family and friends. He enrolled at Loyola University in Louisiana and received his Degree of Master Of Pastoral Studies in 1999. Thereafter, with the support of the Maine Archdiocese, Tom reentered the seminary at Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass. Tom became a Deacon of the Church in 2001, at the Cathedral in Portland, and was ordained a priest in a ceremony at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Ellsworth in 2002. After his ordination, Father Farley ministered to Catholics throughout Maine, serving as parish priest in a number of locations, including Auburn, Lewiston, Brewer, Old Town, and Augusta. Due to health reasons, Tom retired from the full-time priesthood in 2011, but continued to say daily Mass and offer the sacraments to his family and friends and members of his community.

Tom led a full and active life. For decades he was actively involved in the peace movement and participated in countless marches, rallies, protests, and demonstrations throughout the United States, and was a tireless advocate for the poor, marginalized and down trodden. In his personal life, Tom was an avid gardener at his homes in Maine, and made frequent trips to Massachusetts to visit his brother and sisters to deliver a fresh supply of home-grown vegetables, or potatoes. Tom also traveled extensively throughout the United States, Ireland, Europe, and the Holy Land. Throughout his life, Tom maintained a close and loving relationship with his brother, sisters, nieces, and nephews, and in later years, officiated at several of their marriages and baptized several of their children. He will always be remembered as their eccentric Uncle Tom from Maine, with his old house with no indoor plumbing and a rickety old barn, where he raised chickens and rabbits.

Tom is survived by his sister, Mary Ann (Farley) Rand, and her husband, George, of Haverhill; his brother, James E. Farley, and his wife, Patricia, of Newburyport; and 14 nieces and nephews. Tom was predeceased by his sister, Jane E. Connelly, and her husband, Roderick M. Connelly Jr., Esq., of Milton.

Father Tom’s family would like to thank the many friends, former parishioners and fellow priests, who helped Tom and kept him in their thoughts and prayers over the past several years. A special thanks is also extended to the staff and residents at Haverhill Crossings in Haverhill, who helped care for Tom over the last eight months of his life.

ARRANGEMENTS: Friends and family are respectfully invited to call on Wednesday evening, from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Kevin B. Comeau Funeral Home, 486 Main St., Route 125, Haverhill. A funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Joseph’s Church in Ellsworth, Maine, at a time and date to be announced. Burial will take place later in the spring.

Please visit Comeau Funeral Home on Facebook, or www.comeaufuneral.com.