Robert T. Farrell of 3509 West Avenue, Interlaken, died unexpectedly at his
home on Thursday, July 31, 2003 at the age of 64. Robert Farrell was born
on November 16, 1938 in Bronx, New York, the son of Raymond and Gertrude
Klesius Farrell. He was a true child of the Bronx, where he spent his early
years and completed most of his formal education, including his Fordham BA
in 1960, and his Fordham PhD in 1967, the year he came to Cornell, where he
spent his entire academic career. Since his mother died when he was eight,
and since his family was poor, Bob had to work to support himself and his
family from early childhood onwards. Endowed with a wonderful voice, which
he retained throughout his life, he financed his way through college as a
professional singer, and might well have made a career as a singer had he
so chosen. Many in this area will remember his performances with the
Cornell Savoyards during the 1980's as Grand Duke Rudolph, Sir Joseph
Porter, William Shadbolt, and Ruthven Murgatroyd, the Pirate King, and Lord
Mountarrarat, and his "Morning Performance" series of Renaissance concerts
in the 70's and 80's. Bob never lost his memories of the poverty which
nurtured his music, and was a constant source of personal and financial
support for needy students throughout his life.
Bob was a man of prodigious learning (as well as a legendary cook). His
professorial appointment at Cornell set him simultaneously in English,
Medieval Studies, and Archaeology, and, until illness began to slow him
down, he made distinguished scholarly contributions in all those areas,
several of which have been translated into French, German, and other
languages. He was perhaps best known by students at Cornell for his courses
on Anglo-Saxon literature, on Bede, on the Vikings, on Chaucer, on Medieval
Archaeology, and on his beloved teacher during the only months of his
formal higher education outside Fordham, at Merton College, Oxford: J. R.
R. Tolkien. It was in Archaeology, and especially underwater archaeology,
where he was one of the pioneers, that his scholarly reputation stands
highest and where he has won international acclaim and awards. His most
recent work was the investigation of many "turf islands" in Irish
freshwater lakes. And his most durable contribution to undergraduate
education at Cornell was his design of the Emphasis on Writing Program in
the 1970's which became the basis for Cornell's current Freshman Writing
Seminar Program.
Bob is survived by his beloved wife, Shari, of Interlaken, by his daughters
Eva and Erica of Baltimore, Maryland, and by his son-in-law David Dudich,
also of Baltimore. And there are many others, locally and all around the
world, who feel that with his passing they have lost not a friend, but
another father or brother.

The family will be present to receive their
friends at St. Francis Solanus Roman Catholic Church, 3660 Orchard St.,
Interlaken on Monday, August 4, 2003 from 7-9 pm. A Mass of Christian
Burial will be celebrated at St. Francis Church on Tuesday, August 5, 2003
at 10:00 am. Prayers of Committal will follow at Lake View Cemetery in
Interlaken. Contributions in Robert's memory may be directed to the
Interlaken Public Library, P.O. Box 317, Interlaken, New York 14847. The
family has entrusted arrangements to the Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South
St., Trumansburg. 1-888-534-5446.

Page Submitted By: Joseph L. Sibley, Director