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Farace left his heart at Saint Francis

By Pat Farabaugh

For the Mirror

Pat Farace, Saint Francis class of 1954, died in Florida at age 88 on April 7.

Farace was a team captain on Saint Francis’ 1953-54 men’s basketball team that posted a 20-5 record and made the school’s first appearance in the National Invitation Tournament.

I met him when I served as sports information director at Saint Francis and I got to know him well while conducting research for my book, “An Unbreakable Bond,” which shares the story of Maurice Stokes and Jack Twyman.

Farace and his college roommate, Ed Dugan, shared a Quonset hut with Stokes and Gene Phelps at the “Zeta Barracks” on campus.

Following World War II, the Army sold surplus huts to many colleges around the country, and these schools used them to house students. Farace, Stokes and Dugan were also fraternity brothers in Tau Kappa Epsilon at Saint Francis, along with fellow teammate Emil Wandishin.

Farace and Wandishin were high school and college teammates who became lifelong friends. They led Hazleton High School to a 26-1 record in the 1949-50 season.

Farace was the smallest player on Frankies’ head coach Skip Hughes’ team, and Stokes was the largest.

But in so many ways, the two men were similar. Both were unselfish and kindhearted, and both shared a deep love of their alma mater.

Stokes was laid to rest, at his request, in the Franciscan Community Cemetery on campus at the time of his death in April of 1970.

Farace’s oldest son, David, noted in an email after his father’s death last month that his dad “wore his college class ring every day of his adult life.”

I recognized Farace’s love for Saint Francis and his teammates in his voice as I interviewed him for my book. And I saw it when he visited campus a handful of times for different athletics and alumni events. His smile lit up the Stokes Center and JFK each time he returned to Loretto.

It was awesome to see him and his teammates swapping stories from the old days at these events. The love they had for one another was genuine and beautiful.

Farace’s joy filled the room on these occasions, and he was one of Father Vince Negherbon’s favorites, although Father Vince would never admit to playing favorites.

His name always brought a little crooked smile to Father Vince’s face. And then, of course, a story (or two or three) would follow.

Like Negherbon, Farace was also a fantastic storyteller, painting a vivid picture of his time in Loretto during my conversations with him. His ability to recall details from decades earlier was incredible. One example: “There was a quote in the paper that said ‘Ed Dugan uses the backdoor better than a young man sneaking in after curfew.'”

In describing the kind of person that Stokes was, Farace told me that “if you were a friend of his, you were a friend for life.”

The same is true of Pat Farace.

Pat Farabaugh is an associate professor of communications at Saint Francis and play-by-play announcer for the Red Flash men’s basketball and football programs.

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