Joseph R. Farina


Joseph R. Farina a decorated Army veteran and a driving force behind the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, died Dec. 27, 2018 in Newburgh. He was 97.

He was born in Newburgh, NY on January 26, 1921, the son of the late Louis and Anna Farina. He married his wife Elizabeth (Palmer) Farina in Brisbane, Australia in 1942. He was educated through the Newburgh School System and graduated from NFA in 1939. He is predeceased by his parents, and his two brothers Louis and John and his nephew, Stephen.

He was a U.S. Army Veteran and saw combat in New Guinea and the Philippine Islands in World War II. He received four battle stars, numerous medals and two Presidential Citations. His war experience is recorded in the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas, and the U.S. Army Signal Corps Museum at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

“Joe was my brother,” said Senator Bill Larkin. “His drive to see his mission through to completion was awe inspiring. I know for sure that the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor would never have been built if not for his passion and never-quit attitude. This is a man who never was interested in the spotlight, only getting the job done. I will miss our conversations and our friendship. Our veteran’s community will miss this juggernaut whose accomplishments and contributions were immeasurable.”

He was the former owner of a bowling center in Punta Gorda, Florida and manager of Bowl-O-Matic Lanes in Newburgh. His managerial and promotional talents were recognized by the Brunswick Corporation in Chicago, and he was offered a contract to go to Australia to assist with the introduction of the sport in that country. He accepted a position as Technical Advisor to Brunswick of Australia and remained in that country for 21 years assisting with the introduction, promotion and development of the sport in Australia. He served on the Board of Directors of two Australian companies, and his name became synonymous with the sport in Australia. He was recognized as one of the major pioneering executives of bowling in Australia.

He, along with Lt. General James D. Hughes (Ret.), State Sen. William Larkin and newspaper publisher Everett Smith were the four men who comprised the Genesis Group who were instrumental in the establishment of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor. In recognition of his outstanding achievements in Veterans Affairs, he was inducted into the New York Senate Veterans Hall of Fame in 2012.

He was the founder and Past Commander of Catholic War Veteran’s Post 386, and served on State and National level with that organization. In 2016 he received the Catholic War Veterans highest national honor when he was presented with the Honor Legion of the Loyal Order of St. Sebastian. He was a Life-member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1161, the 156th Field Artillery Association, a member of the Board of Directors of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, Inc., past member of the New York State Veteran’s Legislative Committee in Albany, past member of the New Windsor Lions Club, the Australian Returned Soldiers League, St. George Rugby Club in Sydney, Australia , the Australian-American Club in Sydney, a honorary life member of the Rockdale Tenpin Club in Sydney, the New Windsor Seniors and Club 60. He is a former licensed Basketball official in the State of Florida, and attended his sports seminars at the University of Miami.

In his youth he was active in sports as a member of the Nomads Athletic Club and the William Street Social Club.

“Our country lost a legend last night when Joe Farina passed away.,” said Assemblyman-elect Colin Schmitt. “ Joe served under General Douglas MacArthur in WWII and never stopped serving our nation and community until his last breath. Among the many accolades Joe has earned is being the founding member of our local Catholic War Veterans Post and a founding member of the Purple Heart Hall of Honor. Joe counseled me on countless occasions that I will forever be grateful for. I can never repay you for all you have given to me Joe but I will always strive to serve others in the model that would make you proud. A friend and an icon I will never forget. Nikki and I have Liz and the entire Farina family in our prayers. Godspeed soldier.”

He is survived by his loving wife Elizabeth, and nieces Lynn Distefano and her husband Jim of Slate Hill, NY, Stephanie Cabral and her husband Mario, Kym Garbatini and Tracy Daniels all from Connecticut and a niece, Ellen Palmer in Sydney, Australia and several nieces, nephews, great and great-great nieces and nephews. He was a communicant of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Newburgh NY.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday, December 31, at St. Francis Church, 145 Benkard Avenue, Newburgh. Entombment with military honors was in Cedar Hill Mausoleum, Newburgh.