Francis G. McFarland, 84, Knights of Columbus leader


Francis G. "Bud" McFarland, a retired electrical engineer and a longtime Knights of Columbus leader, died of a heart attack Friday at St. Joseph Medical Center. The Lutherville resident was 84.

The youngest of eight children, Mr. McFarland was born in East Baltimore and graduated in 1940 from Polytechnic Institute, where he was a member of the National Honor Society. After graduation he worked for the Glenn L. Martin Co. and the Bethlehem Fairfield Shipyard.

In 1944 he joined the Navy, serving as an electrician's mate. After he was honorably discharged in 1946, he entered Loyola College and graduated with a degree in chemistry in 1949.

"Everything he did, he was really dedicated to it," said his wife of 55 years, the former Carmen Croke. "He was compulsive to get something done exactly right and get it done as fast as he could."

He spent 40 years in electrical engineering, retiring in 1989 as a project engineer with Westinghouse Electric Corp., where he had worked since 1967. Earlier he had worked for Martin Marietta Corp.

Mr. McFarland joined the Knights of Columbus in 1948 and held many leadership positions in the organization. He served as state deputy for the Maryland State Council from 1963 to 1966. He became a grand knight in 1959.

"The Knights was very important in his life," said Francis Feeley of Lutherville, who knew Mr. McFarland for more than 40 years. "I considered him my mentor - I think all of us looked up to him."

His dedication to his Roman Catholic faith was recognized nationally, and in 1997 he received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal from Pope John Paul II.

"He's gotten over the years a lot of different honors," said his son Joseph M. McFarland of Ellicott City. "I think he felt that one was the most important one because that was coming directly from the pope."

His other honors included the Archdiocesan Medal of Honor, the Cardinal Gibbons Award, and awards from the National Council of Catholic Men and the National Union of Holy Name Societies.

"Priests, lawyers, he was well-respected by them all - especially by me," Mr. Feeley said. "He was a legend in his own time."

A history buff, Mr. McFarland could be found reading books or watching the History Channel. He wrote several histories of the Knights of Columbus in Baltimore and Maryland.

He also enjoyed creating miniature cities in which model trains would weave their way around the track.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Roman Catholic Church of the Nativity, 20 E. Ridgley Road in Timonium.

In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by two daughters, Joan M. Parr of Towson and Clare M. McFarland of Olney; two other sons, John F. McFarland of Lutherville and Robert W. McFarland of Cockeysville; and three grandchildren.

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