Remembering Doctor Jean Farrell

My aunt, Doctor Jean Farrell of Stamford Connecticut died on July 3, 1984. She was a well known Pediatrician at Stamford Hospital. Those of you who were her patients will now have children (perhaps even grandchildren) of your own and realize how important a good pediatrician is in your life.

Doctor Jean Farrell, 1947 Vassar College 1952 Georgetown Medical School

Doctor Jean Farrell,  Vassar College
1952 Georgetown Medical School

Jean was a big woman. She was big physically. She had a loud booming voice and a hearty laugh. If you were her friend she would do anything for you, and if you were her enemy, then God help you because nothing else would be able to.

Jean Farrell was also a a pioneering woman for her time. She went to Georgetown Medical School at a time when female doctors were still very unusual. She became a Board Certified Pediatrician and spearheaded  many new techniques that saved children’s lives.

She was only 56 when she died and since she was unmarried my father (Dr. John Farrell)  and I had to review the death certificate. If you have never seen a death certificate they are very cold and terse documents to sum up a person’s life.  I still remember the wording. It read:

“Occupation – Doctor, Unmarried, No Children”

It struck me how wrong that document was. Jean Farrell had hundreds of children. All of her patients were her children. If any of you read this, I would like you to know that despite her rough exterior Doctor Jean Farrell cared for each of you very much and as individuals. She knew all your names. You were her life.

When Jean died there were many large floral bouquets, but one tribute stood out from the rest. It was from a friend of Jean’s named Iris, who like, Jean was a devout Catholic.  There was a simple cut glass vase with a single red rose in it. (Jean’s hobby outside of work was growing roses.) Beside the rose was a card with the handwritten note:

“Until we meet again”

7 thoughts on “Remembering Doctor Jean Farrell

  1. Thank you so much for this! I was doing a search on Dr. Jean because I’m looking for my immunization records and ran across this article. She was my pediatrician from infancy through high school. This brought back wonderful memories of her and her larger-than-life personality. She was marvelous.

  2. I came across your tribute to your aunt as I was looking for information on Dr. Farrell. My brother is one of those children your aunt saved through her pioneering work (I’ll share the specifics with you privately if you’d like) and in tribute to her work, I was named after Dr. Farrell. My mother was a HUGE fan and even after we moved to Long Island, she still drove us up to Stamford for several years to continue our relationship as Dr. Farrell’s patients. I’m sorry to see that she died so young. She was indeed a larger than life personality and greatly admired from this end. I’m happy to report my brother is happy, healthy and 56 years old thanks to Dr. Farrell’s work!

  3. I was searching for Dr. Farrell and came across this lovely tribute. She was my pediatrician for as far back as I can remember. My mom tells me since I was born. Funny irony. I became a pediatrician myself!

  4. I remember your aunt so well, and with fondness. I also remember your parents, and the fun times we had at your house on the Sound. You had a cat that actually swam!!!! Rick Farrell was the doctor who did my follow-up after I had a skirmish with polio, when I was a toddler. All the best to you…

  5. Dr. Jean Farrell was the pediatrician who took care of me, my 2 sisters and my brother starting in 1960 until she passed. My mom adored Dr. Farrell. She made house calls. She treated us all for chicken pox and the various injuries of childhood-rusty nail in the foot, large splinter. I can still see and smell her office in Stamford. Dr. Farrell appreciated how my mom was raising 4 children who were almost like quadruplets because my mom had the 4 of us in less than 3 and 1/2 years. I think she gave my mom a break on our exams because money ran short for a variety of reasons. She took care of me until I was about 21. I think we shared a special bond because I went to Georgetown University for undergraduate. Because of her, we didn’t have believe physicians were always men. She probably gave her last Small Pox vaccine to me because I needed it to go to Venezuela for a summer exchange in 1977. She also gave me some of the vaccines and immunoglobulin that I needed to go to Colombia for a semester abroad from January to May 1980. I still have my Yellow book with her signature for all the vaccines she gave me. It was such a loss when she passed so young. She inspired me when my husband and I were choosing a pediatrician in Austin. Our pediatrician was so much like Dr. Farrell–not necessarily warm and fuzzy–instead really practical, knowledgeable and focused on taking care of children really well. And I always enjoyed reading Highlights in her waiting room as she saw all 4 of us every time in order. Thanks for posting this remembrance of her because I have so many memories of her.

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