Published: Thursday, November 7th, 2013
Donnell (Don) William Farrell was born Sept. 23, 1927, in Aurora, Neb., to William Robert and Mildred Leona (Merritt) Farrell.
He spent his early years in Custer, S.D., and entered the U.S. Navy upon high school graduation, where he served in Leyte Gulf, Philippines. Post-war he attended University of South Dakota, studying engineering and playing football. During the summer he served as a seasonal ranger at Mt. Rushmore, climbing to the top of the sculpture 13 times.
When his father died suddenly in 1950, he stayed in Custer to help his mother operate their family restaurant, The Ponderosa. With the downturn in tourism from a new highway bypass, Don moved his family west in 1956 to begin a 36-year career with Boeing, ending in Lincoln, England, with the AWACS program, Royal Air Force Waddington.
In retirement years Don served the Episcopal Church as a Lay Eucharistic Minister and Stephen Minister, visiting those homebound and in nursing homes. He also volunteered for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Habitat for Humanity, Boeing Bluebills, Faith in Action (now Eastside Friends of Seniors) and enjoyed woodworking, or in his words, “making sawdust.” He once cut 580 pieces of wood from templates he designed so Vacation Bible School children could each build a birdhouse.
Don died Oct. 27, 2013, at Premier Gentle Care Adult Family Home in Sammamish, Wash., where he had lived the last year and a half. He was 86.
Don was preceded in death by younger brother, Dean Francis Farrell, in 1984; and son, Brian William Farrell, in February.
He is survived by his wife, Sally, of Sammamish; children, Linda Nelson of Gig Harbor, Wash., Sandra Marr of Montesano, Wash., Sheila Farrell of South Carolina and Tricia Landwehr of Orting, Wash.; stepsons, Marcus Ryan of Sammamish and Geoffrey Ryan of Justin, Texas; 14 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and a special teenager, Octavian, who lives in Songea, Tanzania, East Africa.
A Celebration of Life will be held Nov. 16 at Good Samaritan Episcopal Church in Sammamish, with Committal at Tahoma National Cemetery Nov. 20.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Good Samaritan Episcopal Church, 1757 244th Avenue NE, Sammamish, WA 98074 or Songea’s Kids, 3020 Issaquah-Pine Lake Rd SE #539, Sammamish, WA 98075 (or online at either).
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