August 16, 1944 - August 28, 2023

U.S. Veteran

A Funeral Mass will be held at Newman Catholic Student Center in Dekalb, IL on November 9 at 1:30. Burial will take place at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Ellwood, Ill on November 10 at 11:00 (Veteran’s Day observed).

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While listening to his own cover of “Wayfaring Stranger,” surrounded by family, Michael B.J. Farley took his last breath on the morning of August 28, 2023, after a brief cancer battle. He was 79.
He had recently warned one of his daughters that he expected to pass away soon, but told her not to be sad because he had a great life. He had believed he would die long ago, in the jungles of Vietnam, in 1968, where he was a platoon sergeant on the front lines, and so every year since then had been a bonus.
Michael Bernard Joseph Farley was born on August 16, 1944 in DeKalb, Illinois to Charles and Antonia (Anderson) Farley. He attended St. Mary’s grade school and graduated from DeKalb High School in 1963.
He attended Kendall Jr. College from 1963-65. From there, he transferred to Miramar Divine Word Seminary in Duxbury, Massachusetts. In March of 1967, he had a change of heart.
“While I was interested in serving my Lord, it was not as a priest,” he said in a recording. When he left the seminary, he lost his draft deferment status. A month later, he “volunteer drafted,” as he put it, to sign up for the war.
“My generation was asked, ‘Who is willing to die for your country? Who among you is patriotic?” he recounted. “Several hundred thousand of us stood up. We raised both hands; we were willing to put our lives on the line and did.”
He served in the United States Army from July 12, 1967, to May 21, 1969. In Viet Nam, he served as a Screaming Eagle in the 101st Airborne Division. As a Platoon Sergeant, he was responsible for 38 soldiers in combat.
He received the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge, Air Medal. He was nominated for the Silver Star while in combat.
While he lay in a hospital bed in Hawaii, his platoon ended up at Hamburger Hill, where he lost several friends.
He was a lifetime member of Viet-Now, serving the Rockford Chapter as the president for a year in the 1980s and an active member of the Knights of Columbus while living in Pella, IA from 2016-2019.
In 1976, he graduated from Northern Illinois University with a degree in Sociology. At the time, he was the only student to student teach at the Illinois Youth Center, then known as the St. Charles Boys School, a correctional facility.
He worked in construction for 16 years. He also worked as a security guard for the NIU Police Department from 1986 until his retirement in 2001. After serving in Viet Nam, he refused to carry a gun. Therefore, he held a position as a security guard, rather than a police officer, although he was proud of the fact that he made over 100 arrests without a gun.
Mike was a dedicated and expert soccer coach. He coached 29 grade school soccer teams for his children and grandchildren, naming each team “The Screaming Eagles” in honor of his unit in Vietnam. He went on to author a book, “Win the Ball,” a project he collaborated on with his son, Mike. The book was dedicated to soccer parents who would enjoy coaching their young players.
He had discovered Yoga as a patient in Trippler Army Hospital in Honolulu in 1969. Learning the headstand pose in rehab to learn to walk again, he would continue to practice the headstand until age 74.
He deeply loved and enjoyed his children and grandchildren, often playing his guitar and tambourine for them. (He has a few cover songs on YouTube). He affectionately referred to himself as “Papa” to his grandchildren. He enjoyed country drives down gravel roads in DeKalb County and practicing his Yoga headstand pose until the age of 74.
A devout Catholic all his life, he was also eager to learn about other world religions and cultures.
He was known to help complete strangers move and he opened his home to those who had nowhere to sleep.
He is survived by his four children, Danica Farley, of Longmont, Colo; Mike (Mihaela) Farley, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Shannon (Shaun) Maconaghy, Meritt Island, Fla; Josh (Madeline) Farley, Kalamazoo, Mich; eleven grandchildren: Crystal (Joseph) Dozier, Heather (Chris) Kanapackis, Allison, Matthew, Nicholas, Kaila, Isabelle, Linnea, Shaun, Reid, Spencer; two great-grandchildren Fiona and Stanley; his honorary son, Geoff (Lauren) Wagner, of El Paso, Tex; and honorary grandchildren, Ellie and Greyson; Siblings Marijo (Gerner) Anderson, James Farley, Terrence (Karen) Farley, Laurence Farley, Charles (Marlene) Farley, Kevin Farley; many nephews and nieces; and his former wife, Bonnie Greenisen, former Sister-In-Law Lynne (Johnny) Westerholm, former Brother-In-Law Bob (Louise) Skoglund .
He was preceded in death by his parents and sisters, Karen Lyons and Patricia McCabe.
A Funeral Mass will be held at Newman Catholic Student Center in Dekalb, IL on November 9 at 1:30. Burial will take place at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Ellwood, Ill on November 10 at 11:00 (Veteran’s Day observed).