John Patrick Farrell “Pat” of Waukesha passed away on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 surrounded by his family. He was 76. Pat was born in Milwaukee on February 10, 1947, the son of John William and Lauretta (nee Rohan) Farrell. He married the love of his life, Peggy (nee Thurston), on August 15, 1970, in Naperville, Ill., when he was 23 years old, and they moved to Waukesha. Pat worked for Catholic Memorial High School for more than 30 years as an English teacher, basketball coach and assistant principal. He couldn’t get far in town without being mobbed by the students he adored. He especially cared about the kids who tended to need him the most.
Pat loved being a father and grandpa. When people asked him which ages he enjoyed the most, he was known to say: all of them. He ensured that his children, Jack and Jamie, appreciated the range of life’s experiences. He took them traveling around the country every summer and taught them to embrace people without judgement. Pat intentionally chose a career close to home because he wanted his family at the center of his life. He liked to have fun with everyone, especially his four young grandchildren, who responded to his childlike humor and playfully called him “Auck.” More than anything, he wanted to watch his grandchildren grow up. He loved to take 8-year-old Finley and 6-year-old Adelaide to children’s plays. He encouraged his youngest grandchild, 2-year-old Ita, to take her first steps at his 75th birthday party. Pat had been looking forward to seeing his 4-year-old grandson Hugo play in his last PeeWee basketball game of the season.
Pat had passions for both sports and the arts. He played high school football in Red Bank, N.J., and basketball for Mount St. Paul College, following in the footsteps of his father, who played basketball for Marquette University. Pat performed in plays in college, where he majored in English. Pat ardently supported his wife’s career as an artist printmaker and never missed one of her openings, often taking on the job of transporter for the many large, framed pieces. He was particularly proud to see his son, Jack, perform improv and sketch comedy on stages throughout Chicago. He was proud of his daughter, Jamie, for her work as a mom and in communications. Later in life, Pat developed a love for golf, which he shared with his wife, brothers and, most recently, his grandsons.
Pat also loved to live the moment. He excelled at listening closely to music and his friends. He had a nickname and a joke for everyone. He was a master of conversation and could talk about a variety of topics, from the song playing on the radio to national politics.
He will be forever missed by his wife of 52 years, Peggy and their two children, Jack (Anna) Farrell of Springfield, IL and Jamie (Ryan) O’Toole of Whitefish Bay and his four cherished grandchildren, Hugo and Ita Farrell and Finley and Adelaide O’Toole. He is further survived by his brothers, Tim Farrell and Kevin (Debbie) Farrell, nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Dan Farrell.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 from 3:00 p.m. until the vigil service, time of sharing and eulogies at 7:00 p.m. at St. Mary Catholic Church, 225 S. Hartwell Ave., Waukesha, WI 53186. Visitation continues on Thursday, May 4th from 10:00 a.m. until the 11:00 a.m. service also at St. Mary Catholic Church.
An endowment at Catholic Memorial High School is planned in Pat's name. Checks written out to Catholic Memorial High School should indicate "Pat Farrell" in the memo line. Donations can be placed in the card box at the visitation or mailed to Catholic Memorial High School, 601 E. College Ave., Waukesha, WI 53186.