The late Joseph Farish, Jr. had a reputation for being a tough litigator and successful businessman. He also was known as an honest man with a wonderful sense of humor and a soft heart for those who needed a helping hand.
Farish died on Sept. 13, 2010 at the age of 89, leaving behind a legacy of caring for others. It is no surprise that he and his wife, Loreen Beisswenger Farish, also well known for her effervescent personality and genuine concern for people, bequeathed a multi-million dollar donation to PBA to establish a scholarship program. The Farish Scholars program will provide a four-year, full tuition scholarship annually to two incoming freshmen who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievements and a commitment to community service.
“My husband was the most dynamic, interesting, sweet and tenacious man I have ever met,” Mrs. Farish said. “He lived his life by traditional American values and would be proud to see his name attached to this scholarship at Palm Beach Atlantic University. The Farish Scholars will continue Joe’s legacy of forward thinking and patriotic devotion.”
The first recipients of the scholarship will be announced in the fall of 2012. They will be selected through an application and interview process. To qualify, applicants must have a 3.5 GPA and qualifying SAT score of 1,380 or ACT score of 31, be an entering freshman, be a Florida resident, and complete the full admissions application process and demonstrate extensive community involvement.
“As a long-standing friend of Joe Farish and a fellow Rotarian, I take special pleasure in seeing his name join those of John D. MacArthur, Marshall E. Rinker, Theodore Johnson, Dr. William G. Lassiter, Jr., Lloyd L. Gregory and Dr. Rich DeVos in the annals of Palm Beach Atlantic University,” said Interim University President William M.B. Fleming, Jr. “Like these men, Joe was an entrepreneur and visionary who led by example, sharing his blessings with other generations so they could achieve their dreams.”
Working hard, serving his country and helping others were basic beliefs for Farish, who was a resident of Jupiter Island, Fla., and the son of one of Palm Beach County’s first lawyers. During a notable career that spanned more than 60 years, he served as a municipal judge in Palm Beach County and leveraged his courtroom success by investing in real estate, radio stations and car dealerships.
“I lost a great friend when Joe died,” said PBA Founding President Dr. Jess Moody. “He was fun and sensational to be around. Joe was a tough lawyer with a huge heart. He helped a lot of people. The Farish Scholarship is fitting of his character.”
Farish was a patriot and a World War II veteran and survivor of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. He was on the beach that day when a land mine blew up his jeep. Farish also took part in the Battle of the Bulge. He served with the Big Red One First Infantry Division and fought in the North African, Sicilian and European campaigns, earning five battle stars. Farish proudly wore his Big Red One First Infantry Division army pin throughout his life.
After the war, he attended the University of Florida Law School and handled several high-profile cases during the 1970s and 1980s.
“Joe was known as ‘Smokin’ Joe’ for his fierce and successful litigation style,” said R. Marshall Jones, principal, Jones Lowry, and a member of the PBA board of trustees. “He took on the big boys when he thought they had wronged his clients and won many a tough litigations.
“His energy was amazing,” Jones said. “On the weekends, he would work on the farm land he owned in various areas of Florida.” Farish also transformed former orange groves into cattle land.
At the time of his death, he was the longest-serving member of the Rotary Club of West Palm Beach. He also supported a number of charities, including the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, the Palm Beach Historical Society and the March of Dimes.
A strong supporter of military organizations, Farish was among the veterans who gathered in Normandy in 2004 for the 50th anniversary of D-Day. He was so moved by the ceremony that he made it one of his dreams to help families in their time of loss. At the age of 88, Farish fulfilled that dream, opening a funeral home near the South Florida Veterans Cemetery in suburban Lantana, Fla. While the cemetery serves all people, it especially caters to veterans.
“Joe would want to be remembered as a man who did the best he could, worked extremely hard to make a difference and never made any excuses,” Jones said.
“It was an honor to be his wife,” Mrs. Farish said. “He was my cowboy, my best buddy, my hero and my love.”