Long-time Platte County attorney and Civil War historian James W. Farley died Monday. He was 86.
“He loved the pursuit of justice,” said Sue Farley, his wife of 33 years. “It was his goal in life to pursue justice as carefully as he could. He loved helping people and there were a lot of people he helped over 61 years of practice.”
Farley, who was active in Democratic politics, was a proud resident until 1991 of Farley, which was founded by his great, great grandfather.
A graduate of Parkhill High School, Farley earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration in 1949 and a law degree in 1952 from the University of Missouri in Columbia.
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He began practicing law in Farley in 1952 and continued practicing in Platte County until he retired in January 2014.
“There were no small details in the law for Jim Farley,” said Owens Lee Hull Jr., former Platte Country Circuit judge.
“He paid attention to it because he wanted to cross the smallest ‘T’s’ and dot the smallest ‘I’s,’” Hull said. “He did not want there to be a problem.”
Farley knew if you didn’t pay attention to the smallest details, it could be costly for someone.
Throughout his career, he incorporated many water supply districts that brought water to towns and rural areas that were not served by public water systems.
“He enjoyed his water districts,” Sue Farley said. “He enjoyed the camaraderie of the water boards and he enjoyed being able to keep them out of the difficulties that water districts sometimes get into.”
He was a forming member of the Missouri Rural Water Association and in 2014, he was awarded its 2014 annual Outstanding Service Award for more than 50 years of service.
Tammy Glick, an attorney who started working with Farley in 1996, said there was always a very down-home personality to Farley.
Farley owned 10 Brittany hunting dogs over the years, which he brought to his law office.
“The dogs, they had their role in the office,” Glick said. “If you thought your importance trumped Jim Farley’s Brittanys, you were humbled very quickly.”
Farley was extremely active in politics, including serving an unexpired term in the Missouri House of Representatives in 1956.
But it was the behind the scenes that appealed to him and he supported many candidates and participated in numerous campaigns over the years.
“He wanted to make sure the best he could that people who went into office were truly in his opinion going to be good quality servants for the people,” Sue Farley said.
Farley also was a Civil War buff who wrote two books.
His book, “Forgotten Valor, The First Missouri Cavalry Regiment C.S.A.,” was published in 1996.
In 2006, he co-wrote “Missouri Rebels Remembered: Si Gordon & John Thrailkill” with his son, John W. Farley.
“Jim Farley was an incredible person, and there are many of us out there who owe a lot to him,” Glick said.
Farley is survived by his wife, Sue Farley; a daughter, Susan Farley of Platte County; daughter-in-law Terri Farley of Allison Park, Penn.; daughter-in-law Wendy Farley of Olathe; stepsons Michael Murphy of Kansas City and Mark Murphy of Parkville; stepdaughter Kathy Murphy Show of Kansas City; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his two sons, James W. Farley Jr. and John W. Farley, and his first wife, Marcella Farley.
To reach Robert A. Cronkleton, call 816-234-4261 or send email to email@example.com.