Obituary: James Leonard Farrell
James Leonard Farrell
James Leonard Farrell

My brother James Leonard Farrell passed away May 18, 2022. He was 88-years old.

This must be more a reminiscence of the life of my eldest brother than an obituary. A typical obituary would be too short in recalling a few events and accomplishments. I knew him well before he graduated from high school but heard from him less after he entered military service. When I compare his life to that of any other member of the Farrell family, I find my brother Jim to be most admirable, but least recognized. He was first of all a humble, devout member of his Catholic Church, from his earliest days to the day he died. No one who knew him could doubt that. In my lifetime I never heard Jim utter a curse or swear word. Few recognized his accomplishments because of his quiet, retiring personality, never asking for anything, always generous with what he had to give.

He was, ironically, the greatest man I have known during my life. I say "ironically" because of all the Farrell family members, Jim's talents were always unnoted and unappreciated. The irony is due to the fact that despite doing everything right he grew up in a hyper-critical family atmosphere, leaving him to think everything he did was somehow flawed. This finally sacked his self-confidence. In my childhood I could see unjustified parental criticism fall upon him relentlessly and couldn't understand why. In most important endeavors Jim surpassed his six siblings, unacknowledged.

He did well in school, attending academically challenging Loyola High School in Los Angeles as a boarder. His grades were excellent. He shuttled back and forth over the old Conejo Grade between school and the ranch in a rattly Model-A our father bought for him.

Later, Jim graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in Horticulture. He always had a love of growing things, like his pioneering namesakes, great-grandfather James Leonard Sr. and grandfather James Leonard Jr., who first began farming in 1859, before there was an Oxnard or a Ventura County.

Following college, Jim joined the US Marines. After a 4-year hitch he was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant E-5, difficult to achieve in the 1950s, and far superior to any rank achieved by his four siblings who served as well in the Army, Air Force, and Marines.

But Jim could not find a niche in the regular business world that suited him. Instead, he favored propagating various species of palms, berries, etc. The joy of his life was always to visit with old friends, relatives and their families, many from his grade school years. As friends and relatives faded in time, or moved away, Jim found himself somewhat isolated. Remaining single without children, his own family saw less of him. For many years he lived alone near a desert area continuing to propagate fruit and various specialties for market.

Jim visited me in Fillmore a few times over the years when in town on business. He lived an undeserved life of solitude but found great comfort in his Savior, Jesus Christ. As a member of a large family of plenty, he deserved significantly more than he received.

But I know he was received with great joy in eternity by all of his many true friends and relatives who awaited him, because "The last shall be first, and the first last” - Matthew 20:16
A Funeral Mass will be held on June 8, 2022 at 11 a.m. at Padre Serra 5205 Upland Rd., Camarillo, Ca. 93010, with reception to follow.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord.