On July 30, 2017 we lost a proud member of the “greatest generation.” John Dow (Tex) Farrington, Jr. passed away at a very young 97. He was predeceased by his parents John Dow Farrington and Mary Canby Farrington, his brother James W., his first wife, of 45 years and mother of his children, Elizabeth Bard Farrington and his beloved second wife, of 25 years Harmony Garner Farrington. Surviving are his sister, Dorothy Aishton, his children, John Dow Farrington III (Marilyn) of Fredericksburg, VA, Nancy F. Novak (Dennis) of Hilton Head Island, SC, Melinda F. Kocis (Robert) of Greer,SC and his step-daughter Linda Stubbs (Thomas) of Charlotte, NC. His passing is also mourned by nine grandchildren, Elizabeth Florence (Christian), Douglas Farrington (Meredith), Scott Novak (Karen), Todd Novak (Holly), Megan Epps (McNeil), Brad Kocis, Andrew Kocis, Nicole Van Der Tuin (Johannes) and Christoper Stubbs. He is also survived by eleven great-grandchildren, Peter, Henry, Benjamin, Charles Florence, Kellan and Eliza Farrington, Kaitlin and Carly Novak, Patrick and Charlotte Epps and Elizabeth Kocis. The Farrington family would like to thank his devoted caregivers, Kristina Wetmore and Martha Flores.
Born in Kansas City, MO on June 11, 1920, John spent most of his childhood in Fort Worth, TX. In 1938 his family moved to the Chicago area where his father became Chairman of the Board of the Rock Island Railroad. John travelled East to attend the Lawrenceville School where he earned the nickname “Tex.” He graduated from Princeton University in 1942 with degrees in engineering and economics. It was during this time, that John escorted Nancy Davis Reagan to her debut in Chicago and had a discussion with Dr. Albert Einstein at Princeton about the difficulty of his calculus homework. Dr. Einstein agreed with him.
John joined the US Army as a 2LT after his graduation from Princeton ROTC and was assigned to Ft. Sill, OK then to Ft. Hood, TX where he trained the “Tank Destroyers.” He was shipped overseas to the Pacific. He spent time in Luzon, Manilla and finally Okinawa where he was picked up by a destroyer and set sail into an incredible typhoon with 50 foot waves. He arrived in the Hiro, Japan area where his mission was to assure that the coastal defense guns and the anti-aircraft artillery had been disabled prior to the US occupation troops landing. He found nothing had been disarmed and his six man party faced a large number of armed Japanese troops. He demanded that the Japanese officers comply with the Emperor’s order and disarm the weapons since the war was over. After very tense moments, they complied and he completed his mission safely. His party went to the town of Hiro and formally received the surrender of the town by accepting the Japanese flag that had flown over City Hall. He safe-guarded the flag for 65 years and formally returned it to the town of Hiro, amidst much fanfare in 2010. The flag is now on display at Halljure-Hiro Japan Museum with John’s picture and provenance of the flag.
The next day Captain Farrington was one of the first three Americans to enter Hiroshima and observed the devastation of the atomic bomb. He carried the horror of these sights with him the rest of his life. This experience led him to write a book for his grandchildren entitled, Waging the Peace.
After the Japanese surrender, at age 25, John’s orders were to construct and command a prisoner of war camp with 3,000 captured Japanese soldiers and sailors on Luzon. In order to acclimate the prisoners to the concept of democracy, John gave lectures on “The Four Freedoms” and held question and answer discussions called “The Democracy Hour.” John established a deep and life-long friendship with his Japanese aide and interpreter, Kenji Mizushima. His family and off-spring visited John in the States and remain friends with the Farrington family to this day.
John was discharged in 1946 and returned to Wilmette, IL to begin his career with Marshall Field & Co. He was called back for active duty in the Korean War. In 1952, John moved his young family to Summit, NJ to join The Jiffy Manufacturing Co., maker of packaging materials and padded mailers. He was named U.S. Packaging Man of the Year in 1960. He travelled the world extensively as President of Jiffy International.
While residing in Summit, NJ for 37 years, John held numerous volunteer positions and was President of the Board of Health for 9 years. He was a member of the Princeton Club in NYC, the VFW, the Beacon Hill Club and Baltusrol Country Club, where he perfected his golf game.
Having been a property owner in Sea Pines since the mid 1970’s, John made Hilton Head his permanent home in 1989. John was always grateful to be surrounded by the beauty of Hilton Head and his friends. He was a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, The Princeton Club and Sea Pines Country Club. After realizing the magnitude of the war-time contributions of his Princeton classmates, John wanted to honor them by helping to compile their WWII experiences into a book, The Princeton Class of 1942 During WWII. It was later released in CD form. Until his death, John was the oldest living “Tiger” of the Princeton Club of Hilton Head which always brought him great joy.
Throughout his very interesting life, the stock market was both his passion and his hobby allowing his philanthropy to many people and organizations. He enjoyed interacting with family and friends who delighted in his quick wit, fascinating stories, charm and intelligence. He was proud of his family, his heritage and his service to his country. He has left a legacy that will never be forgotten by those who knew and loved him. We are so very proud the he was our father, our grandfather and great-grandpa.
On Christmas he said, “If you think I’m old now, wait until you see me next year.” How we wish we could…we will miss him every day.
There will be a private graveside service at Six Oaks Cemetery. A celebration of John’s life will be held at St. Luke’s Church, Hilton Head on Saturday, August 26, 2017 at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial gifts be made to The Princeton Class of 1942 Memorial Fund, Princeton University Office of Gift Records, 330 Alexandria St., Princeton, NJ 08540 or The National Museum of the United States Army, 2425 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201. Arrangements by The Island Funeral Home and Crematory. islandfuneralhome.com
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