On Sunday, March 10, 2019, Bernadette “Pat” Devlin Farley ‘faded away’, ‘in her words’, three weeks before her 96th birthday, with emerald green rosaries in hand and a reflection of the map of Ireland on her face. If her body complied, she wanted to live long enough to become a centenarian and be recognized on the ‘Today Show’, for Al Roker’s milestone birthdays.
She was preceded in death by her husband, James (‘Frecks’) Farley in 1993, her parents Patrick and Mae Devlin, her brothers Vincent and Edward (Jean) Devlin, and her son-in-law CWO Rolin ‘Jay’ Crosby. She is survived by her sister, Sr. Marita Patrick Devlin, IHM, her son, Joe (Rosemary Parisi); her daughters Francie (Jack Young,) Anne (Peg Costello), and Maureen; her grandchildren Joe, Jr. (Allie), Brendan (Rachel), and Melissa Farley, Drew Fioravanti (Danielle), Tony Fioravanti (Kate), Nicole DiMarco (Phil) and Meghan Costello. She is also survived by her great grandchildren Luke, Will and Jake Fioravanti; Dominic and Vinnie DiMarco; Rainey, Zoe and James Farley; and Natalie Pearson Mason; nephews Terry and Daniel, and nieces, Patty Ann, Marie Theresa, and Kathleen.
Born on March 29, 1923 in the coal region of Pennsylvania, Pat, Frecks and their four children moved to Delaware in the early 1950’s after the mines closed. Leaving their childhood hometown of Ashland, Pa., where they had friends, family and traditions, was difficult. There were frequent visits, nostalgic stories and special recipes, like “Poorman’s Bread’ that kept ‘back home’ alive. They reveled in their new tight-knit neighborhood in Elsmere, DE. In 1997, Pat moved full-time to Rehoboth where she enjoyed the beach with her family. She was an active member of the Ladies Auxiliary American Legion Post 5, social member of the Rehoboth VFW 7447, St. Edmonds Catholic Church, and remained active in the Democratic party.
She was President of the Ladies Auxiliary Rehoboth American Legion Post 5 from 2001 to 2005 and past Membership Chair. When president, she led many volunteer efforts to serve those in need. Pat was recognized in a Cape Gazette article as a ‘Thoroughly Modern Day Millie’ for her activism and altruism. She was honored to receive a Governor’s Volunteer Award for her service to veterans and youth.
A woman before her time, Pat had multiple professional careers from computer programming to real estate sales. She created a blue print for aging, and was dubbed a medical mystery by her grandson, based on her diet of unhealthy foods, sweets, taste for VO, and lack of exercise.
An avid Democrat, Pat was the first woman elector from Delaware, voting for Bill Clinton in the 1992 Electoral College. She served as the past president of the Eastern Sussex Democrat Club, past president of Sussex Women’s Democratic Club, a Democratic committee member, and routinely cooked a hearty breakfast for volunteers each Election Day. She was a recipient of the Alexis I. duPont Bayard Award for her service to the Democratic Party.
She was known for ‘telling it like it is’ and being ‘a force of nature’. Thankfully to all, especially her family, these qualities were tempered by her keen sense of humor and love of a good story.
Love of God, family, community, her Irish heritage and her country were enduring values that she taught her family. Pat was a trailblazer and a hell raiser, but most of all, she was a devoted great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and friend. She overcame poverty and discrimination to create a life that she could not have imagined. She leaves behind a legacy that will live in our hearts forever. In her final journey, as in life, Pat made her desires clear. She wanted to ‘go home.’ Special thanks to Lucy Stepnowski for her care and St. Francis Compassionate Care staff, Dr. Dan and Dr. Sandy Gibney, for making our mother’s homecoming what she had wanted it to be- a death with dignity, in her faith, surrounded by family. Her Irish wit endured. When her daughter Maureen asked if she was ready to cross over, she responded, “I’ll wait my turn.”
A mass of Christian burial will be held at St. Edmond’s Catholic Church, Rehoboth Beach, De on Friday, May 10 at 11:00 a.m. Interment will be privately held at Delaware Veteran’s Memorial Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, find a person in need and pay it forward in Pat’s memory or make a contribution in her memory to the St. Patrick’s Center, 107 East 14th Street, Wilmington, DE 19801 or donate.stpatrickscenter.org/donation.