Francis Robert Farley

By on June 9, 2011

Francis Robert Farley, 88, of Aurora, passed away at home, surrounded by the love and prayers of his family, on Sunday, June 5, 2011.

He was born Sept. 4, 1922, in Mifflinburg, Pa.

Francis grew up on a farm near Bradford, Ill., the son of Lewis and Rae (Finkel) Farley.

Upon graduating from Bradford High School in 1940, Francis moved to Kaneville to farm with his uncle, Albert Farley. Unbeknownst to Francis, he was riding the wings of fate toward the woman he would soon marry. Francis and Norma met at a local high school basketball game.

On March 8, 1945, Francis married Norma Jean Johnson in a double ceremony with Francis’ sister, Jeannette, to Donald Wright at the Kaneville United Methodist Church.

A few weeks later, Francis left for Germany to serve in the United States Army during WWII until his honorable discharge in May of 1946. Upon returning to civilian life, Francis helped his father farm the Blatner Farm on Owens Road near Kaneville. Lewis and Rae eventually moved back to Kaneville. Francis and Norma remained on the Blatner Farm and continued to work the soil until March of 1954.

That same month Francis and Norma rented one of the Alexander farms on Galena Boulevard near Aurora. He actively farmed there for almost 50 years, including over 35 of them with his son, Bob. This partnership would continue in later years while he also managed three farms for the Alexander’s. In addition to corn, wheat, oats and soybean crops, Francis raised hogs until 1972 and cattle until 1987. In 1985, Francis and Norma purchased land near the farm and built their home on Prairie Road in Aurora. Francis had a strong work ethic and an unwavering love for farming. When other farmers finally left their fields in retirement, Francis continued to run his combine until his 80th birthday, and even then continued to consult with his son Bob.

Francis was a member of the Kaneville United Methodist Church and past member of the Big Rock American Legion, Post No. 529. In addition to farming, Francis was a volunteer fireman in Sugar Grove, and also served as Secretary of the Board of Trustees for the Sugar Grove Fire Protection District from 1978-1991.

Both Francis and Norma were members of a card club that met monthly for nearly 40 years. They also were known for the pranks played on friends and neighbors over the years, let alone the mischief they created every Halloween.

On their 25th anniversary, they started a long tradition of trips to Hawaii. In later years, they enjoyed many trips to Arizona.

He is survived by his loving and devoted wife, Norma; three children, Robert Farley, Beth (Dr. Michael) Marzec and Diane Farley; three grandchildren, Brooke (Brett) Bonnell and son, Elliott Bauer-Brunswick, Alissa (Jeff) Hem, Michelle Marzec and her daughter, Molly Stanley; two siblings, Jeannette (Donald) Wright, Jean (Hank) Greenstreet; many nieces, nephews, cousins and a countryside of friends that will never forget him or the legacy he left for others to treasure.

He is preceded in death by his parents and one sister, Debbie Moffitt.

Visitation will be from 3 to 6:30 p.m., with a funeral service to celebrate his life to follow at 7 p.m., Thursday, June 9, at Kaneville United Methodist Church, Kaneville. Rev. Mark Harkness, pastor of the church, and Rev. Dave Bateman, will officiate with private family burial to occur at a later date.

A memorial has been established in his name to benefit Kaneville United Methodist Church and VNA Hospice of Fox Valley. Checks may be made to the “Francis Farley Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at