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In memory of John A. Farmakis (1923-2016)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Rev. John A. Farmakis died on January 24th, 2016 at the age of 92.


John was born on August 30, 1923 to Alexander Farmakis and Henrietta (Cunningham) Farmakis. He received a Bachelor of Art from the University of Pennsylvania in 1944. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1946, in hopes of serving the mission of the United Nations; he was stationed in Germany and served time in Fort Hood. After leaving the army, he enrolled in Harvard Divinity School. He received a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Harvard Divinity School in 1950, and continued on to study as a graduate student through the 1950-1951 academic year.


Rev. Farmakis was ordained to the ministry in 1952 by All Souls Universalist Church of Oakland, ME. He held a pastorate at All Souls from 1951 to 1953. He was next called to serve as minister to First Parish Church of Saugus, MA in 1953, and he remained there until he joined the United States Navy as a Chaplain in 1954.  He served as a Navy Chaplain for two years. Upon his release in 1956, he was called to the Unitarian Universalist Society of Stanford, CT, and he served as minister to the congregation until 1970. In 1970, he was called to serve as minister to the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence. Rev. Farmakis held that pastorate for eighteen years, and retired from active ministry on his sixty-fifth birthday in 1988. Following retirement, he served as interim chaplain to Manchester College, Oxford (now Harris-Manchester College) throughout the 1988 -1989 academic year.


Rev. Farmakis engaged within the denomination outside of parish ministry. He was active within the Universalist Service Committee (now Unitarian Universalist Service Committee) and the Universalist Historical Society (now Unitarian Universalist History and Heritage Society), and served on the Advisory Board of the Universalist Service Committee from 1957 to 1961. He was a member of the Planning Committee of the Universalist Church of America; trustee of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) Metropolitan New York District; and member of the UUA Department of Overseas and Interfaith Relations Advisory Board from 1961 to 1964.


John was born in Philadelphia, and of Greek and Scottish decent. He remained always a staunch Philadelphian, and his grandfather, John P. Farmakis was instrumental in the building of the city’s St George’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral. John deeply loved his family, and enjoyed reading, research, and participating in many Philadelphia-based community activities.


Of John, Rev. Judy Buck-Glenn writes:


"John was a dear friend of nearly thirty years. He was honest, honorable, kind, and deeply-read, with a keen mind and a passionate commitment to Enlightenment liberalism. He is deeply missed by a small circle of very devoted friends, who feel privileged to have known this quietly-rather-great man." 


He is survived by his nephew, John L. Farmakis, Jr., and his family, in addition to several close friends.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to The John A. Farmakis Memorial Fund, Att’n Patrice M. Wiseley, University of Pennsylvania, Associate Director of Gift Planning Services, 3535 Market Street, Suite 500, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3309.


Notes of condolences may be sent to John L. Farmakis Jr. at

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