This obituary originally appeared on Memorial Funeral Home.
James C. “Jim” Farrington, 95, of Newport, R.I., died peacefully Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, at home in his sleep, after a brief hospitalization for pneumonia.
He was born July 24, 1925, in Philadelphia, Penn., the son of James Carver and Catherine (Fenton) Farrington. The family moved to Dover, N.H., where Jim attended St. Mary School and graduated early from Dover High School to join the war effort. He enlisted with the U.S. Army Air Corps in October 1943, flew on Army C-47s as a radio operator, and was honorably discharged in April 1946.
Returning to Dover, Jim married the love of his life, Elizabeth C. “Betty” Higgins of Exeter, N.H., in September 1948.
He earned a B.A. from the University of New Hampshire, and then an LL.B. from Boston College School of Law in 1952. He worked for General Electric for five years in the legal department.
Jim joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation in June 1957 as a Special Agent in the Newark, N.J., and then Washington, D.C., field offices. Assigned to the Crime Records Division at headquarters in 1961, he later was chief of the Freedom of Information Unit and then Inspector-Deputy Assistant Director in the Legal Counsel Division until his retirement in February 1980.
Jim was a member of the District of Columbia Bar, admitted to practice before the Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.
The family moved to Newport, R.I., when Jim began a new career in September 1980 as an associate professor in the Criminal Justice program (later the Administration of Justice Department) at Salve Regina College in Newport. He thoroughly enjoyed his work for the next 18 years, deriving great satisfaction from teaching and mentoring hundreds of Salve students. He taught both undergraduate students and police officers, became a full professor and chair of the department, and received a student-nominated Teacher Excellence award in 1993.
His retirement from Salve Regina University in 1998 gave Jim and Betty more time with family, especially their grandchildren who would laughingly say their grandfather had more of a social schedule than they did. He took enormous pleasure spending time with his grandkids from the moment they were born. Now they have countless memories and great stories about fishing, camping, swimming, traveling, motorcycling and other adventures with their beloved GrandDad.
His wanderlust, perhaps a result of his experiences in World War II, continued throughout his life. The family visited historic and popular locales from Maine to Florida. Jim and Betty traveled New England, Canada and Europe. After Betty’s death, he took his daughters to Ireland and celebrated his Irish heritage with them. In his later years, he enjoyed frequent sightseeing and vacation trips with his grandchildren.
For many years Jim worked with other dedicated volunteers to feed hungry people every Monday and to offer financial and other assistance to those in need, in the soup kitchen and emergency food pantry at St. Joseph’s Conference of the St. Vincent DePaul Society in Newport. The friendship and support of fellow soup kitchen volunteers sustained him for many years.
He was an enthusiastic member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in Newport, especially when underway in Narragansett Bay and “guarding our seas,” as he would often say after a day on the water on patrol.
Jim would be the last person to mention the awards and honors he received. But in 2008 he was one of the recipients of the Newport Daily News Community Service Award, and also received a Humanitarian Service award from the Former Agents of the FBI Foundation. This one pleased him no end because it came with a $10,000 check for his favorite charitable organization, the St. Joseph soup kitchen.
He was inducted into the Rhode Island Criminal Justice Hall of Fame in 2011 and honored for “an outstanding career dedicated toward improving and upholding the principles of the criminal justice system in the State of Rhode Island.” Jim received an Ozanam Award in 2017 from St. Vincent de Paul R.I., which he accepted on behalf of the volunteers at St. Joseph’s soup kitchen.
For almost 57 years Jim was the devoted and beloved husband of Betty Farrington, who died in 2005.
His death is mourned by his five daughters: Anne E. Farrington and husband Donald L. Carter of Auburn, Maine, and children Johanna M., Matthew J. and David B. Carter; Mary Farrington of Newport; Kathryn E. Farrington of Portsmouth, R.I., and son Logan E. Godek; Margaret E. (Farrington) and husband Michael Ferreira of Westport, Mass., and children: Abigail E. (Ferreira) and husband Patrick Simokonis of Berkley, Mass., Haley A. (Ferreira) and husband Daniel Buckley of Tiverton, R.I., and Zachary J., Adam B. and Fletcher E. Ferreira, all of Tiverton, R.I.; and Martha E. (Farrington) and husband Fred Costa of Portsmouth, R.I., and children: Stephanie (Costa) Plutzner, and Alexander, Ryan, Danielle and Nicholas Costa.
Jim adored and is survived by his six great-grandchildren: Matthew Plutzner; Claire Elizabeth, Owen Patrick and Sophie Grace Simokonis; and Lucas Daniel and Carver James Buckley.
He is survived by his cousin Phyllis (Stackpole) and husband Robert Dano Howard and their family, of Dover, N.H.; his sister-in-law, Sally (Higgins) Santos of Falmouth, Mass.; his brother-in-law Peter Higgins of Exeter, N.H.; and sister-in-law Eileen McDermott of New Bedford, Mass.
Jim is survived by his niece and nephew MaryAnn (Levesque) and husband Brian Ripley, and their two children, of Lebanon, Maine, and Michael Levesque and wife Katie and their family, of Sisters, Oregon; his nephews Jason, Christopher, Joslin, Jeremy and Justin Santos; nieces and nephew Lisa (Higgins) Alexandropoulos, Lori (Higgins) Mailhot, and Michael Higgins; and nephew and nieces Daniel McDermott, Cara (McDermott) Fasy, and Maura (McDermott) Hempstead.
He was predeceased by his sister, Muriel M. (Farrington) and her husband Edmund Levesque; his sister-in-law Jo-an (Wilson) Higgins; his brothers-in-law James McDermott and George Santos; and his nephew Joel Santos.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Joseph Church, 79 Broadway in Newport. Limited seating will be available; for information, visit www.memorialfuneralhome.com. Burial will be private.
A celebration of Jim’s life will be held when all can safely gather to remember and raise many a glass to this son of Ireland, loved by so many.
For those who wish to honor his memory, please consider a donation in Jim’s name to fund the work of St. Joseph’s Conference SVDP, c/o St. Joseph’s Church, 5 Mann Ave., Newport, RI 02840.
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