Newpaperman Farrow was a ‘treasure’ in Harrington

HARRINGTON — Harry G. Farrow Jr. was a lifelong Harringtonian, American Legion member, mayor in the early 1980s and harness racing enthusiast.

All that’s about as Harrington as you can get.

He was once the owner, publisher and editor of The Harrington Journal. That, especially, made him a friend of the Delaware State News and this editor.

Last Sunday, we ran his obituary.

Mr. Farrow died Nov. 2 in the hospice center in Milford. He was 84.

There will be a memorial service for him Saturday at Melvin Funeral Home in Harrington.

The first time I met him was at the old Blue Coat Inn in Dover. It was a Thursday night before a NASCAR weekend in 1991 and we were there at the invitation of Dover Downs International Speedway to hear what driver Harry Gant had to say. (As I recall, that didn’t amount to more than half a page of a small notebook.)

Mr. Farrow reached across the table and introduced himself as the editor of The Harrington Journal and thanked me for the harness racing coverage I was doing for the Delaware State News at the time. Horses dominated the sports pages of his weekly. He also had a auto racing weekly called Raceweek.

We talked horses pretty much every time we saw each other, and I especially enjoyed some of his tales of legends such as the Greenwood-stabled Adios Harry, a 1954 Little Brown Jug winner.

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This column appearing on Veterans Day weekend would likely make Mr. Farrow proud.

He certainly gave a lot of his time and heart in telling the stories of other Delaware veterans. Over the past 20 years, he wrote several such stories for the Delaware State News.

He started writing those while editor of The Harrington Journal.

“My special gift to the community and surrounding area was writing articles on veterans,” Mr. Farrow once wrote in a review of the World War II battle in Anzio on Amazon.com, “It was Memorial Day every week if I could find a veteran I could make a hero. I usually discovered them when reading obituaries.”

Mr. Farrow then shared stories about two Delaware men who were paratroopers with dramatic tales of survival

Harry Farrow

during the campaign in Italy.

His last byline was in April. It was a piece on Jimmy Doolittle and his Raiders on the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Japan.

One of his more memorable stories was about his cousin Bobby Tee, one of the four Harrington men killed in World War II.

Mr. Tee, who graduated high school in 1944, was killed by a sharpshooter nine months later in Alsace Lorraine, France. Mr. Farrow recalled how his cousin was a great soccer player at Harrington High and how he likely was relying on those same quick legs to sprint across a battlefield.

Mr. Farrow was a Korean War veteran and member of Harrington’s Callaway, Kemp, Raughley, Tee American Legion Post 7, which bears the names of the city’s fallen World War II heroes.

Prior to his honorable discharge in 1956, his Signal Company was placed on orders three times for Korea. He was a cryptographer who sent and received top secret information.

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Mr. Farrow purchased the Harrington Journal in 1974 and operated it for 20 years. He was proud of the fact that he was only the fifth editor of the weekly newspaper, one that his great uncle Frank Fleming had founded in 1913. Somehow, that same ink got in his blood and stayed there.

His late wife, Margaret, was his original editor. She died in 1977.

Mr. Farrow occasionally shared stories about the old days in the newspaper business and how Jack Smyth, our company’s founder and the newspaperman who made the Delaware State News the first daily in the capital of the First State, had helped him.

He credited Mr. Smyth with leaning on Kent County Levy Court to get weekly newspapers a fair rate on legal advertisements. “Jack never got any big slaps on the back or honor for doing it and got nothing out of it, but it helped his brother newspaper people,” Mr. Farrow said.

Mr. Farrow described the difficulty in finding qualified people to run the linotype machine and work with hot metal in the newspaper shop. He laughed about a disastrous day when one of the employees printed envelopes upside down and blew any chance of a profit on one job.

“I have a million stories,” said Mr. Farrow.

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Mr. Farrow purchased a building on Commerce Street in April 1974 to serve as an office for his real estate business and the newspaper.

There are plans in the works to renovate the building that were put into motion last winter. Prior to his death, Mr. Farrow worked out a contract to sell the small three-story building to Blue Hen Construction.

Darrin Simpson, a Harringtonian and owner of Blue Hen Construction, said he plans to have apartments in the top two floors and rent the first floor as commercial space.

Once the renovations are complete, a plaque will added to honor Mr. Farrow’s wife, Margaret. Mr. Simpson said Mr. Farrow had once told him the building was bought for her.

“I’ve known Harry ever since I was little,” said Mr. Simpson. “He was a classy gentleman, always very professional.

“He had a wealth of knowledge and knew all kinds of stuff about the city of Harrington,” said Mr. Simpson. “They’ve lost a real treasure.”

 

Reach editor Andrew West at awest@newszap.com

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