A Tribute to Pat Farish

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[Note: Earlier this year Pat Farish went home to be with our Lord. Pat wrote many articles and made an impact for good wherever he served. As a young preacher I benefited from his articles and character. David Holder provides us with this memorial to God’s servant. I pray it will motivate our service. – Tim Jennings]

In 1993, I moved from Tennessee to Texas to preach for Castleberry church. Not long after this move, I met Pat Farish. He had preached for Castleberry church in years past and still lived in the general area. Pat and I became friends and for many years kept in close contact. He was several years older than me, but several things brought us together. He preached for Castleberry church for 11 years during which he baptized several people into Jesus, performed wedding ceremonies, and is still remembered and loved by many. Several times, people asked him to share with me in speaking at funerals. Jokingly, Pat announced he was mad at me when I started my 12th year with Castleberry church, since at that point I had stayed longer than he did. He had the longest preacher’s tenure with Castleberry church to that time. Privately, he let me know that he was happy I was still with this church and hoped I would stay longer.

Pat traveled with me several times to Ethiopia. I well remember the first time he rose to preach in this east African nation. He forgot he had a translator and plowed on in his sermon without pause. I flagged him down, reminding him that he had to give the translator a chance to do his work. He soon fell into the rhythm and preached many times in that distant land. Pat’s method of preaching was to work out a relatively brief outline and fill it out as he preached. He would use whatever illustration or idiom that came to mind as he spoke. I still remember the look on the translator’s face when Pat, rolling through his outline, mentioned someone going after something “like a duck on a Junebug.” The translator had absolutely no idea what this meant. We all got a big laugh when we realized that explaining this Southern idiom was much harder than stating that a person’s actions were aggressive!

Pat was a huge supporter of Florida College. He was an FC student from 1954-1956, played on the basketball, softball, and volleyball teams and was in the Sowers’ Club. He was also on the Beak staff for the school newspaper, work that helped prepare him for future writing. Pat returned to Florida College to speak occasionally on their annual lectureship. As an alumni, Pat regularly lent his booming tenor voice to the alumni chorus in their annual recordings. He was instrumental in starting the North TX FC Booster Club and served on its board for a number of years. Pat was a counselor at FC Texas Junior Camp for several years, always cheering for the Red team.

Pat wrote for and in time became the editor of With All Boldness, a paper published by Faith and Facts Publications. Gently but persistently, Pat urged me to write and consistently churned out a monthly publication for several years. When I visited him just about a month before his passing, he mentioned that he still wrote an article every week. His ability to stand and preach was past, but he kept his mind sharp and his heart attuned to God by the discipline of writing.

Pat Farish was a good friend and a good man. He was a big man, thick in his flesh as he was thick with the Lord. Pat and his good wife Frances loved and served throughout their lives. They weathered various difficulties with faith and grace, and the Lord, to whom both were seriously devoted, sustained and provided. Pat’s sermons were typically direct and to the point; he got right to the heart of the matter rather quickly. Should I say like a duck on a Junebug?! You didn’t have to wonder what he meant or where he was going. He made it plain and said it in short order. Pat was all for brief sermons and one-page articles, so I’d better end this one now. I’m sure glad our paths crossed in this life. We were friends, brothers, fellow-workers, comrades, and fellow-soldiers in the Lord’s army. Thank you, God, for Pat Farish, for the opportunity to know and walk beside him, a faithful servant and a beloved friend.

David Holder