William F. Farrington ’52

William Francis Farrington, of Old Orchard Beach, Maine, died Sunday, May 3, 2020, at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough. He was 90 years old. Born at Maine General Hospital in Portland, Maine on March 27, 1930, to James Leo Farrington and Marian Tanguay, William, also known as Bill, was raised in Old Orchard Beach and Biddeford, along with his three younger brothers: Robert (Bobby)-deceased, Daniel (Danny)-of Marshfield, Massachusetts, and James (Jimmy)-deceased. He graduated from Old Orchard Beach High School in 1949, where he played football and acted in theater productions.

Bill attended Maine Maritime Academy, graduating with a Bachelor of Marine Science on June 7, 1952. He qualified for a free education at MMA upon passing the Navy physical in 1949, which included a commission in US Naval Reserve as an Ensign. After graduation, he began working for American Export Lines, from 1952 to 1955 and again from 1957 to 1959. As a young man he traveled extensively, to Central and South America as a midshipman at Maine Maritime, and then as a marine engineer on the SS Constitution and other American Export Lines ships, sailing to Mediterranean ports and through the Suez Canal to ports in India, Pakistan, Angola, and Ethiopia. He often told stories of his adventures abroad.

He served in the US Navy from 1955-1957, entering as Lieutenant (Jr. Grade) and was promoted to Lieutenant (Sr. Grade) in 1956. While stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, he returned briefly to Maine to marry Constance June Tripp of Saco on November 12, 1956 at St. Margaret’s Church in Old Orchard Beach. The following September their first daughter was born in Norfolk and a couple of months later he was discharged from the Navy and the family moved to a house on Hall Avenue in Saco.

In the fall of 1959 Bill returned to school to take a B.S. in Education (History and Government) at the University of Maine at Orono. During the summers, while at Orono, he worked for United Fruit Lines, primarily shipping bananas, and tells the story of a tarantula which landed on his arm, and of how he snapped it off and then killed it with a board. He also worked on a Sun Oil supertanker for a trip from Philadelphia to Beaumont, TX. He finished in the fall 1961 semester (January 1962 graduation) and began teaching at the new Yarmouth High School that January.

The following fall (1962) he moved to Thornton Academy, where he taught Political Science, European History, and Current Events for 29 years, 25 of them (1962-1989) as chairman of the department, retiring in spring 1991. He took Thornton students on trips to the UN and NYSE in New York City and abroad, bringing them to West Germany, England, Soviet Union (USSR), France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, and Switzerland. Bill served as program chair of the Sweetser Lecture Series in the late 1960s, bringing prominent authors, including Alex Haley and Vance Packard, to lecture at Thornton Academy.

While at Thornton, he took a sabbatical after being elected to the Maine House of Representatives to serve as the representative from Old Orchard Beach, using this one term (1971-1973) to gain practical knowledge that he could use in the classroom. He ran the Neighborhood Youth Corp in Saco and Old Orchard Beach from 1964 to 1970 and served on the Old Orchard Beach School Board from 1975 to 1979, as member and then chairman. He also managed the Camp Ellis Municipal Parking Lot for the City of Saco in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

After retiring from Thornton, took up bicycling, often riding 25 miles a day, until an accident forced him to stop in his early 70s. He enjoyed spending time with his children, and especially enjoyed watching his grandchildren play sports, whenever possible.

William is survived by his wife Connie and three daughters: Lynne Farrington (John Pollack) of Philadelphia, PA; Cheryl Farrington (Joseph Lorello) of Scarborough, and Rhonda Farrington (Eric Berg) of Bedford, NH; by six grandchildren: Benjamin Breslauer, Alexander Lorello, Brendan Lorello, Nicholas Lorello, Hayley Berg, and Katherine Berg; and one great-grandchild: Nathan Breslauer.

A gathering to celebrate Bill’s life will be held at a later date. To leave online condolences please visit www.cotefuneralhome.com For those wishing to make memorial contributions in his name, please consider Maine Maritime Academy, Thornton Academy, and Hospice of Southern Maine.