March 3, 2002

Joseph D. Farrelly: Love Notes to His Queen

Joseph D. Farrelly met Stacey Goldberg when she was 17 years old. It was love at first sight for Captain Farrelly, then 21. But he waited nearly a month before he asked her out on a date.

"He wouldn't ask me out until after my birthday" when she would turn 18, said Mrs. Farrelly, who married Captain Farrelly two and a half years later. "That's the kind of guy he was."

Captain Farrelly turned out to be the kind of chivalrous husband who always opened doors, washed the dishes after dinner and started his wife's car to make sure it was warm when she got inside. A 22-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department, Captain Farrelly, of Engine Company 4, also left Mrs. Farrelly love notes nearly every day, on her pillow or in her car.

"Joe made it a point to make her happy," said Marge Neefus, a longtime friend of the couple. "I used to tease her all the time and call her the queen. He treated her that way. He dedicated his life to making her happy."

Though the couple would eventually have a family of their own, for 10 years they served as foster parents to crack-addicted babies. Captain Farrelly, who was 47 when he died, always took the night shift.