George Joseph Farrelly, Sr. 83, of Springfield, PA passed suddenly on Wednesday, June 24, 2020.
Born October 13, 1936, George was the second of ten children, and eldest son, born to James and Margaret (Lynch) Farrelly of Cranadillon, Virginia, County Cavan, Ireland. As a young man, George heeded God’s call to be of service to others; a quality that would define his life.
During his childhood, George balanced his studies with work on the family’s farm. However, by the time he was 14, with his father’s health in decline, George left school to devote himself to farming and the care of his parents and siblings. At age 15, George built a cow shed that still proudly stands. After leaving school, George educated himself through his voracious love of reading and was a member of the Cavan delegation that won the All-Ireland Question Time Championship in 1962.
George loved his native Ireland, but he was drawn to America. He was fascinated by the brave American liberation of Europe during WWII and the generous Marshall Plan that rebuilt post-war Europe. George’s knowledge and admiration for the U.S. deepened as he listened to the Voice of America and the American Armed Forces radio networks.
As his family matured, George watched several of his siblings depart Ireland in search of new opportunities in England and the U.S. Eventually, in 1962, George would join many of his compatriots and immigrate to Philadelphia. George intended to stay for only two years; however, he was immediately taken by the American “can do” spirit and made America his home. For the remainder of his life, when asked how he liked living in America, George would reply, “I haven’t had a bad day yet.”
George quickly established a new life for himself. He married a lovely young lady from County Mayo, Ireland, Maureen Tierney, with whom he celebrated 54 years of marriage in April. George worked hard to support his family, which grew to include four children. He worked nights in the grocery distribution business for 37 years; first with the A&P Company and subsequently at Acme Markets. His days were spent landscaping.
Despite an exhausting work schedule, George found time to serve those in need. He was a volunteer firefighter and member of the ambulance corps in Beverly City, NJ, and Springfield, PA. In recognition of his service, he was awarded lifetime membership in both the Springfield Fire Company and Ambulance Corps. In 2012, George received the Springfield Fire Company’s Fire Chief’s Award. George protected a generation of Springfield children as a crossing guard. George was also a distinguished defender of mothers and their preborn children. In 1974, on the one year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand, George traveled to Washington D.C. to join a peaceful protest against the decision. During the ensuing 40-plus years, George participated in what became the annual March for Life. George further championed the pro-life cause through prayerful protest throughout the Delaware Valley, hundreds of letters to the editors of local newspapers, and furnishing apartments for new mothers and their babies. George’s advocacy on behalf of the pre-born was honored by the Irish of Havertown in 1990 and by the Delaware County Pro-Life Coalition in 2008.
George’s appreciation of U.S. democracy led him to American citizenship and political involvement. He was a Republican Committeeman for the Springfield Third Ward. Nonetheless, George remained committed to Ireland and the Irish people. He was a proud member of the Joseph E. Montgomery Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) Division 65. In 2015, he was awarded the Hibernian Friendship Award. George was also a member and past president of the Cavan Society. He assisted in the design and construction of the award-winning Cavan Society floats for the St. Patrick’s Day parades every year since the Cavan float project began in 1998. In 2005, George was honored as the Grand Marshal of the Springfield St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
George was a devoted husband and father. While his children were young, he chaperoned school field trips, cheered the DeLaSalle Swim Team, camped with the Boy Scouts, and applauded every jig and reel at local feiseanna. He proudly watched his four children graduate from Cardinal O’Hara High School. He was a member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Springfield, where he served as an usher and participated in the weekly men’s prayer group. He was a life member of the Knights of Columbus.
George is survived by his wife, Mary "Maureen" Farrelly; children Georgina (Paul) Hurley of Springfield, PA; Maureen (Arun) Lall of Sugar Land, TX, James (Stephanie) Farrelly of Exton, PA, and George Farrelly, Jr. of Houston, TX; nine grandchildren; siblings, Sarah (John) Travers of Havertown, PA, Thomas (Christine) Farrelly of Rosemont, PA, James (Bridie) Farrelly of Virginia, Co. Cavan, Ireland, Rita Farrelly of Larne, Co. Antrim, Ireland, Rose (Steven) Crofton of Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, Ireland; sister-in-law, Martha Farrelly of Bryn Mawr, PA. He is preceded in death by his brother, Peter Farrelly; sisters Mary (Farrelly) Desmond, Sister Bridget Farrelly, R.S.M., Anna Farrelly; and his grandson, Justin Lall.
Family and friends are invited to George’s Viewing on Monday, June 29 at 6 pm, O’Leary Funeral Home, 640 E. Springfield Road, Springfield, PA 19064 and Tuesday morning 9am in the Funeral Home. George’s Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, 10:30 am, St. Francis of Assisi Church, Springfield, PA. Interment SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations in George’s memory can be made to St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 136 Saxer Ave. Springfield, PA 19064 or The Mother’s Home, 51 North MacDade Blvd., Darby, PA, 19023.
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St. Francis of Assisi Church
136 Saxer Ave., Springfield PA 19064
The Mother’s Home
51 North MacDade Blvd, Darby PA 19023