I’ve struggled all day to come up with the right words to sum up the life of our friend, Chris Farlekas, who passed away this morning at the age of 86.
I met Chris when he was a reporter on the local newspaper. This was many years ago, but he was already a legend. He seemed to know just about everyone in the three counties the newspaper covered. More importantly, he knew every organization and every event that was being held to raise money or help someone, be it a veteran or a kid in need of a scholarship to attend college. He wrote about them all, always in the most positive way. To say that Chris was deeply involved in the community is like saying the heart pumps blood. Literally thousands of people had their lives enriched by him. People were important to him, and he made sure they knew it.
What made him that way? His small-town roots? His service in the Army? His time as a combat medic? His reporting in Vietnam? His years as a journalist, first in hard news and then, much longer, as a feature reporter?
I’m sure it was all of those, and much more. I do believe that he was born with a great heart, and went on from there.
There won’t be a monument to him, or a movie, and while I wouldn’t be surprised if his name is memorialized in a field or a hospital wing somewhere, it will never really be familiar to the masses. But it will live on in every life he touched. He was not a wealthy man by any means, but he lived such a rich life that it’s impossible to be sad when I think about him. I can only smile, even as it hurts to think of him gone.
(Here is a link to a story on him, in the paper he worked at for over forty years.)