John E . Farley Jr., 92, died October 18 in Providence after a brief illness. A veteran of the US Army, he received his bachelor’s degree from Providence College and his medical degree from Tufts University in 1948. He trained at Boston-area hospitals, including the Floating Hospital for Children and Boston Children’s Hospital, and completed his residency at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Providence. In 1953, he launched a pediatric practice based out of his family’s Riverside, RI, home that he would operate for the next four decades. An “old-school” doctor, he made house calls, black leather bag in hand, and took patients’ phone calls late into the night. With a firm belief that physical and mental health are tightly intertwined, he had a long-standing affiliation with Bradley Hospital, where he served for decades as director of pediatrics. As an adjunct clinical professor at Brown University, he trained medical residents at Bradley in the psychiatric dimensions of children’s health. In the early 1960s he was instrumental in founding the East Providence Community Mental Health Center, and the Adams-Farley Counseling Center in Riverside is conamed in his honor.
Dr. Farley was a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the chair of its Rhode Island chapter. An early advocate of the Head Start Program, he promoted universal school breakfasts for Rhode Island children, work for which he was honored in 2000 by the Rhode Island chapter of the AAP. In retirement he continued to work with the George Wiley Center in Pawtucket on behalf of disadvantaged Rhode Island children. He is survived by his wife, Mary; three sons; five granddaughters; and three great-grandchildren. Memorial donations may be made to the Bradley Hospital Foundation, PO Box H, Providence, RI 02901; or East Bay Center, 610 Wampanoag Trail, Riverside, RI 02915.