Obituary: Helen Rose Farrar

Helen Rose Farrar
Helen Rose Farrar

NAPLES, Fla. — Helen Rose Farrar, accomplished church soloist, and widow to renowned swimming coach James Lawrence Farrar, passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 29, 2015 in Naples, Fla. She was 98.

Helen was born July 28, 1916, in Naugatuck, Conn., to Mr. Edward and Mrs. Anna Gargonia (neé Aquavia).

At the age of 18, Helen sang her first church solo as a soprano for Naugatuck’s Saint Francis Church. She became a fixture at the town’s religious celebrations and would serve as St. Francis’ star vocalist until her retirement from singing in 1977.

Helen and James Farrar married in 1942, and they remained devoted to each other until his passing in 2009. They spent the early years of their marriage in Opa Locka, Fla., as James served in the United States Navy during World War II. When the war ended, the couple moved back home to Naugatuck, Conn., where they raised their four children. Helen and James spent their later years in Naugatuck, Conn., and Venice, Fla., where they warmly entertained friends and family.

She is survived by her sister, Lillian Gargonia; her four children, Patricia Farrar Pawlak and her husband, Joseph, of Watertown, Conn., Sandra Farrar Reilly of Miami, Fla., Bette Farrar O’Reilly and her husband, Jay, of Wellesley, Mass.,, and James Farrar Jr. and his wife, Becky, of Uxbridge, Mass.; as well as her 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

A private funeral service and Mass will be held in Naples, Fla., for family.

The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the James and Helen Farrar Scholarship Fund at Sacred Heart High School, c/o Development Office, 142 South Elm St., Waterbury, CT 06706.

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