William MacFarland

Obituary of William John Lewis MacFarland

William John Lewis MacFarland, 95, of Glenville, NY, passed away on September 10, 2020. He died at home with loving family and caregivers at his side.  

William was born in the Bronx in New York City on September 9th, 1925 to James and Fannie MacFarland, immigrants from Northern Ireland. He was a gifted student and gained admission to the Bronx High School of Science, where he received the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Award for Excellence in Physical Sciences and Mathematics, and from which he graduated in 1942.  He then entered Columbia University, and began to study chemical engineering. Some required humanities courses awakened a deep love of literature, philosophy, and poetry. His studies were interrupted by WW2. During the war, William served in the US Army in the Philippines as a communications officer in the 706th tank battalion. Upon leaving active duty in October 1946, he had attained the rank of 1st Lieutenant as a tank unit commander. William made use of the GI bill to return to Columbia and complete his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering, and Master’s degree in Industrial Engineering in 1949.

In 1948, while at Columbia, he met Georgia Crane, the love of his life. They married in NYC on August 6, 1950. They lived in Texas for a few years before making their home in the Schenectady area in April 1954, where they raised their children James, Wendy, and Elizabeth.

William worked as a reliability engineer at GE in Schenectady from 1954 until retirement.  For several years before and after retirement he was an adjunct professor of statistics at Union College. During retirement, he and Georgia enjoyed an active life together by taking literature classes at Union College, going to concerts, and visiting with their children. After more than 64 years of marriage, Georgia passed away in 2015. William continued to live in his home up to the very end of his life, enjoying regular visits from his children and numerous extended visits to the homes of his daughters.

William was a great reader of literature, philosophy, and poetry, with an immense love for and knowledge of classical music. His infectious wit and playful sense of humor endeared him to everyone who knew him. He wrote many poems, both clever and serious, and loved word play, difficult word puzzles, puns and jokes, and creating silly songs. He was a loving and supportive husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He was a unique and good man.

William was predeceased by his wife Georgia. He is survived by his: son James (partner Rosita Campbell, and former daughter-in-law Susan MacFarland), daughter Wendy (husband Whitney Adams), daughter Elizabeth (husband Barry Klein, and former son-in-law Robert Petito), grandson Robert Petito (wife Zujeil), grandson John Petito (wife Jane), grandson Benjamin Adams, and great grandsons John Jr., Henry, Sian, and Axier.

Committal Services with military honors will be held on Friday October 16th at 11:30 am at Gerald B.H. Solomon National Cemetery, 200 Duell Rd., Schuylerville. If planning to go in procession, please meet in the Funeral Home parking lot at 10:15am. A reception place will be announced following the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the City Mission of Schenectady and/or The Nature Conservancy. Assisting the family was the Glenville Funeral Home of Scotia-Glenville, New York. Online condolences www.glenvillefuneralhome.com  

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Military Honors and Service

11:30 am - 12:00 pm
Friday, October 16, 2020
Gerald B. H. Solomon National Cemetery
200 Duell Rd
Schuylerville, New York, United States

Procession from Funeral Home

Meet at Glenville Funeral Home at 10:15 on Friday, October 16th to line up cars for procession to National Cemetery.
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