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Tim Farrell, co-founder of fund to honor brother killed on 9/11, dies

Tim Farrell, 62, of Wantagh, died on Dec.

Tim Farrell, 62, of Wantagh, died on Dec. 14. Credit: Farrell Family photo

When Tim Farrell helped found the eponymous Terry Fund in the months after Sept. 11, 2001, to memorialize his brother, an FDNY firefighter killed in the attacks, the charity gave small $500 scholarships, said their sibling and the fund’s co-founder, Brian Farrell.

In the 18 years since, the fund, named to honor Terry Farrell, who died while serving with Rescue 4, has expanded across the country, with 17 chapters from New York to California, including Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Nevada.

Through the efforts of the brothers and others, the fund oversees several charitable efforts, including blood drives, scholarships and the transfer of surplus equipment from fire departments to other agencies in need.

Tim Farrell, who operated R.P. McMurphy’s Public House in Wantagh for nearly 40 years before his family sold the bar last year, died Dec. 14 at Good Shepherd Hospice of esophageal cancer. He was 62. 

Over the past decade, Brian Farrell said, the fund has given $3.5 million cash to first responders and their families, and $4.7 million in equipment.  As recently as Friday, the fund donated an ambulance to a fire department in Missouri. 

“Even while he was in the hospital and he only had a week to live he directed a fundraiser,” Brian Farrell said Thursday of Tim Farrell. “We all told him to cancel it — and he raised another $12,000 for first responders and their families.”

The fund that bears their hero brother’s name got started at the family's Wantagh Avenue bar when the sale of dark blue memorial T-shirts netted $17,000 — and grew from there. One of the sponsors, bourbon maker Jim Beam, has donated nearly a half million dollars over the years.  

Terry Farrell was in Tower Two when it collapsed after the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000, including 342 other FDNY firefighters.  He was also a chief of the volunteer fire department in Dix Hills and donated bone marrow to a girl in Nevada in the mid-1990s. 

Timothy Michael Farrell was born Sept. 17, 1957, on Long Island to Joseph M. Farrell, a Town of Oyster Bay building inspector, and his wife Ruth Marie Kelly Farrell, a homemaker. The family had moved to East Meadow and then Hicksville, from Elmhurst, Queens. He attended Hicksville High School and Maryville College in Tennessee. 

Tim Farrell lived in Hicksville before marrying Alice O’Keefe and moving to Wantagh. 

He is survived by his wife along with siblings Brian of Wantagh, Dennis of Oyster Bay, Kevin of Wantagh, and Kieran of Parrish, Florida. 

A funeral Mass is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Frances De Chantal Roman Catholic Church in Wantagh, with burial to follow at Pinelawn Memorial Park in Farmingdale.

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