Obituary: J. Terrence Farrell / McKeesport lawyer who biked around town with his pet dog

Nov. 14, 1947 - June 5, 2013

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J. Terrence Farrell practiced law in McKeesport for 30 years, but he also was well-known for riding his bicycle around town with a Pekingese dog stuffed in his backpack.

"He helped so many people," said his wife, Belinda O'Keson, his companion of 40 years. "He went out of his way to especially help elderly people, making house calls and going to hospitals and nursing homes to meet them. Everybody was important to him, from the little people he didn't make 10 cents on to the big people."

Mr. Farrell died Wednesday at UPMC McKeesport from a heart attack. He was 65.

He was a sole practitioner who learned the legal profession at the feet of his father, J. Paul Farrell, who also was an attorney in McKeesport.

The younger Mr. Farrell handled all types of cases for a wide range of clients, but he specialized in estate law.

Born and raised in McKeesport, Mr. Farrell spent his entire career practicing law in thecity. He graduated from McKeesport High School in 1965 and received his undergraduate and law degrees from Duquesne University in 1977.

Practicing law was Mr. Farrell's profession, but riding his bicycle with his Pekingese, Pokey, is what he loved.

"He always said he and Pokey had ridden over 3,000 miles together," Mrs. O'Keson said.

Mr. Farrell was active in community organizations in and around McKeesport.

He was a member of the Christ the Light of the World Parish in Duquesne; member and past president of the McKeesport Lions Club; member of the board and past president of the McKeesport Heritage Center; past president of the board of trustees of the Carnegie Library of McKeesport; board member of the Friends of the Library, the Mon Yough AAA and the Boston Rails to Trails; and solicitor for the McKeesport Palisades and the McKeesport Performing Arts Group.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Farrell is survived by three children: Michelle Farrell of Wyoming, Luzerne County, Christine Farrell Zacharia of Jefferson Hills and J. Paul Farrell of Mahwah, N.J.; seven siblings, Joanne Farrell Bonessi of Elizabeth Township, J. Paul Farrell of Setauket, N.Y., Gail Farrell Moyes of Boulder, Colo., Michael Patrick Farrell of Rochester, N.Y., Timothy Farrell of Cocoa Beach, Fla., Theresa Farrell Rosenberg of Mt. Lebanon, and Cindy Farrell Lichtenstein of Ashland, Mass.

Friends will be received from 2 to 9 p.m. today in Hunter Funeral Home, 1600 Coursin St., McKeesport. A Mass will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in Christ the Light of the World Church, 32 S. First St., Duquesne. The family suggests memorial contributions be made to the McKeesport Heritage Center or the Carnegie Library of McKeesport.


Tim Grant: or 412-263-1591.


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