Carl Farah, 89, walked into eternal life surrounded by family at his home in Naples, FL very early in the morning on May 1, 2022, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.
He was born to first-generation Lebanese immigrants, Sufiya (Sophie) Shalhoub and Esber Abraham Farah, on June 13, 1932 in Green Bay, WI. The fifth of six children, he was always accompanied by at least one of his four brothers (George, Barney, Don, Phil) and one sister (Alice), but also many, many Lebanese cousins. Family was important even from an early age, and Carl tried to emulate his older brother George, even briefly borrowing his name for his own self-chosen middle name before settling on James. As a child, he went to St. Patrick Elementary School before attending Central Catholic High School, where he even joined the football team for one brief year.
As a first-generation college student and the only sibling to graduate, Carl was a proud 1954 University of Notre Dame alumnus, majoring in Business Administration. He put those skills to early practice while in school by starting a radio-repair business with his friend, which was ultimately shut down by his dormitory’s rector.
After graduation, Carl returned to Green Bay and briefly worked as a salesman for WBAY before enlisting in the United States Military in 1956. Trained as a radio operator, he proudly served his country for two years on active duty before transitioning to Army Reserves, and was honorably discharged in 1962. During that period, when Carl again returned to Green Bay, Fr. Orville Janssen introduced him to Doris Jean Stimart, a secretary at the Catholic Register newspaper office. They connected over their shared birth date of June 13—which established “13” as the family lucky number, particularly for weddings and events. They were wed in Green Bay on September 13, 1958 and welcomed their first child, Mary, exactly ten months—and one day—later. Over the next decade, they were blessed with five more children: Andrew (“Andy”), Theodore (“Ted”), Teresa, Ann Margaret, and Angela.
In Green Bay, Carl took on a seminal role in the family business still run by his brothers, which had grown from Esber’s single fruit cart into the Farah family grocery store (now Meat Processors of Green Bay). He had been involved even since he was a child, as Esber let Carl “test” the fresh produce coming into the store—a skill that stayed with him his entire life—only ever picking the ripest, sweetest-tasting fruit. As Don ran the family grocery store, Carl’s sharp business acumen led him to add a liquor store to the family brand, a particularly effective contribution especially in northeast Wisconsin. This enterprise was highly successful, and eventually expanded into a chain of thirteen liquor stores. Eventually, Carl sold the business to Badger Liquor in 1987 and retired at the ripe age of 55. He and Doris then split their time between their cottage on the Green Bay and their Winter Park condo in Naples.
In 1997, Doris lost her battle with multiple myeloma. However, as a truly loyal and faith-filled man, God had something special in mind for Carl’s big heart, for he met Patricia Longmore Leicester (Pat) in 1998 on Fifth Avenue in Naples. They were wed soon after on August 11, 2001 in Green Bay. With this, he also gained three more daughters: Sharron, Rachelle, and Patricia (“Trish”).
With Pat, Carl was able to live a voracious life filled with activities, travel, family, and good food. Together, they traveled extensively through Europe and the Middle East, making religious trips to the Holy Land and Rome, but also taking special trips to see France and even experience local destinations like Door County. On beautiful days, they would bike by themselves or with family on the Wisconsin trails, sometimes up to Pulaski, but always stopping for ice cream, especially if there were grandchildren around. Their time in Green Bay was spent at the cottage on the bay, boating, fishing, playing shuffleboard, or visiting with family.
After moving to Lely Resort in 2004, their early days in Florida were filled with playing tennis, eating at some of the best restaurants in downtown Naples, and hosting friends and family for visits and vacations. After moving down as full-time residents in 2015, later times were filled with playing Hearts with his card buddies (and winning more often than losing), visiting to Costco weekly, and sitting out on the lanai with a cup of coffee and the newspaper. In fact, Carl would frequently say that they lived in paradise.
In addition to his love of God, family, and the Green Bay Packers, Carl was fair, just, and abundantly generous to a fault with his time, gifts, and talents. Determined to have things his way, he continued to care for every single person in his life, though fought stubbornly when they tried to care for him. Carl’s empathy, love, support, and giant presence will truly be missed along with his special “tongue click/trill” and inescapable bear hugs. His sharp mind, sass, and one-liners—frequently aimed at his wife, Pat—had those around him in fits, as he would sit back to enjoy the trouble he caused with his huge smile and deep, infectious laugh.
Carl will also be remembered for his love of Bud Light on tap and feeding others, particularly for making the best scrambled eggs for big family breakfasts at the Green Bay cottage (always with Raisin Bran!) or popcorn for late-night snacks and playing cards. He will also be remembered for stuffing his grandchildren with ridiculous amounts of sugar, especially orange slices and Raisinets, cookies, and occasionally blueberries.
As a faith-filled Catholic, Carl’s unwavering relationship with Jesus and the Blessed Mother is of comfort as he is called home: “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy” (Matthew 25:21).
Carl was welcomed into Heaven by: his parents, Sophie (Shalhoub) and Esber Abraham Farah; first wife, Doris Farah (Stimart); sister and brother-in-law, Alice and Basil Koury; brothers and sisters-in-law George and Fern Farah; Bryan “Barney” and Ruth Farah; Daniel “Don” Farah; his special goddaughter, Jo Beth Farah; and special cousin Janet Jacobs.
Carl is survived by: his wife, Patricia; brother, Phil; sister-in-law, Joy; brother-in-law, Carl (Mary) Stimart; godson, Jimmy Farah; daughters Mary (Greg) Dickhut, Teresa (Todd) Deckard, Ann Margaret Farah, and Angela (Doug) Gole; sons Andrew (Laura) Farah and Theodore (Lisa) Farah; step-daughters Sharron (Charles) Barnett, Rachelle (Mark) Wernham, and Patricia (Gary) Oros; his well-loved grandchildren: Sarah (Clint) Luth, Elizabeth (Hung) Dickhut, Jessica Dickhut, Kimberly (Andrés) Villalba, Alex (Tyson) Eggers, Stephanie (Nathan) Towle, Andrea Farah, Veronica Deckard, Matthew Gole, Joshua Gole, and Hannah Gole; step-grandchildren Charlotte and Rachel Barnett; Oliver Wernham; Lexi and Sofi Shirey; his “beautiful, beautiful” great-grandchildren Vayda, Zia, and Sophie James Villalba; Lincoln and Grady Eggers; Levi and Adeline Towle; and many more Lebanese “cousins,” nieces, and nephews.
The family would like to extend special thanks to the caring doctors and nurses of Physicians Regional Medical Center, the compassionate staff with Avow Hospice, and Fuller Funeral Home for the physical care and comfort they have provided. Another special thank you to Frs. Adams, Ben, Leo, and VanZee, all of whom have brought great spiritual comfort to Carl and his family.
Lastly, a heartfelt thanks to his kind card-playing friends in Naples, who assisted Carl with cards. More importantly, they continued to play Hearts with him, even when he would pretend to be “asleep” before swooping in with the winning hand!
A visitation will be held in Naples on Friday, May 6 at 10:15 AM at his parish, St. Finbarr’s, in Naples. The funeral Mass will follow a 11:00 AM. A second funeral Mass will be held in Green Bay at a later date. A private Rite of Committal and burial will be at Allouez Catholic Cemetery and Chapel Mausoleum in Green Bay.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to St. Matthew’s House in Naples at: https://stmatthewshouse.org/give-2/.