Former Assemblyman Herman “Denny” Farrell Jr. Remembered

Herman “Denny” Farrell Jr. (Philip Kamrass/ Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Over the Memorial Day weekend, New York State lost an exemplary statesman with the passing of Herman Daniel “Denny” Farrell Jr. He died on Saturday in a Manhattan hospital. He was 86. The cause was heart failure, his son, Herman D. Farrell III, told the New York Times.

Denny Farrell served in public office for more than four decades and one of the last survivors of Harlem’s political Old Guard. He chaired the Assembly Ways and Means Committee for over 20 years. Farrell represented Harlem, Washington Heights, Hudson Heights, Sugar Hill, and Hamilton Heights in the Assembly for 42 years, making him the third longest-serving member in the history of the New York State Assembly. Albany colleagues lauded him for guiding the Assembly during tough budget negotiations through his ability to find common ground.

“I am heartbroken by the passing of my friend, mentor and partner-in-government Denny Farrell. Denny was a compassionate leader, a brilliant political mind and a trailblazer who left an indelible mark on New York politics,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement.”Denny also believed in my father when others did not, and he took me in when I was a 23-year-old campaign manager for my father. And he continued to be an inspiration for me throughout my career.”

On September 5, 2017 Cuomo honored the retirement of Assemblyman Farrell by dedicating the most visited State Park in New York City as Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park. He also announced the completion of the $25 million signature pedestrian and bicyclist bridge, named after Farrell, over the Henry Hudson Parkway, which will improve community access to the Hudson River waterfront.

Farrell is survived by his partner, Barbara Klar, ex-wife Theresa Adele Farrell, children, Monique Guidry-Farrell, Herman Daniel Farrell III, Sophia Ilene Farrell and grandchildren, Simone Adele Guidry and Madeleine Jones Farrell.

A wake honoring former Assemblyman Denny Farrell was held in Manhattan on Thursday, May 31st from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Church of the Intercession, 550 West 155th Street, Sanctuary, enter on Broadway.

Funeral services occurred on Friday, June 1st at 10 a.m. at the Church of the Intercession. Cemetery services followed the funeral at Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum, 601 West 153rd Street, between Broadway and Riverside Drive. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations be made to Isabella Geriatric Center and/or Children’s Aid.

Legislative Colleagues Remember Farrell

Statement from Speaker Heastie on the Passing of Herman “Denny” Farrell Jr.

“Today we lost an icon in New York State politics with the passing of our beloved former colleague, Herman “Denny” Farrell, Jr. In the People’s House of the New York State Assembly, Denny blazed a trail of dedication and commitment to the constituents of his northern Manhattan community and created a legacy that is a model for all who serve in the New York State Assembly. I will miss Denny’s advice and counsel, but his guidance will stay with me forever.

“Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, to Denny it did not matter which side of the aisle you called home. He had an uncanny ability to bridge divides and bring people together for the good of New York. I have often said that it is difficult to put into words just how much Denny meant to the Assembly. Always quick with a story and generous with his time, Denny was a humble public servant but someone who authored some of the most consequential laws in New York.

“Denny served as chair of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee for more than 20 years, shepherding New York through both good times and difficult times. He wrote the landmark Consumer Protection and Banking Act to provide citizens with critical services and protections, making a difference in the lives of so many. A force in local and state politics for so long, Denny earned the respect and admiration of all who worked with him and to list all his good works would fill a book. He was a proud member of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus and a tireless advocate for our communities.

“My heart aches for Denny’s friends and family, but I know he is smiling down on us all. In announcing his retirement last year, Denny told the New York Times “Next year they won’t remember my name.” Happily, this is not true. I for one will remember Denny and I know all the lives he touched will fondly remember him and his good works. Rest in peace, Denny.”

Assemblyman Victor M. Pichard (D-86 AD):

“It was my distinct privilege to call Denny my colleague, but more importantly, to call him my friend. As members of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative (BPHAL) Caucus, we worked together to help our diverse communities grow and thrive. Denny was a voice of reason, compromise and compassion and served as a role model and guiding hand for the Majority Conference.

“It’s up to us to carry on Denny’s legacy in the Assembly and in our daily lives. We must never waver in our commitment to improve the lives of New Yorkers in each and every community across our great state.

“I want to extend my heartfelt condolences to the Farrell family during this difficult time and join the community in honoring the life of a truly exceptional New Yorker.”


“New York State has lost one of its most distinguished public servants with the passing of Herman “Denny” Farrell Jr. He will always be remembered as a true gentleman, a giant in the State Assembly, and a credit to the institution of government.

“Denny was universally respected by all who were fortunate to serve with him, regardless of political party or conference affiliation. His intelligence, demeanor, and grace were rare and refreshing traits that transcended political divides.

Denny’s Assembly career began in 1975 and for more than 40 years he provided constituents with unparalleled representation and one of Albany’s most admired voices. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and loved ones during this tragic time. All of New York State mourns his passing.”


“On behalf of the New York State Senate, we send our deepest condolences and want his family and friends to know that they are in our prayers.”

“Recently, Denny retired from the Assembly, and embarked upon a new chapter in his life. That chapter was supposed to include more time spent with his family and other loved ones, with many new adventures, but regrettably that time was all too short.

“When we were colleagues in the Assembly, it was a daunting task to have to debate someone with such a great command of complicated budget issues, but Denny always did so with civility and respect. He helped elevate the public discourse in every way and worked tirelessly to make the lives of his constituents better. That will be part of a legacy which will endure.”

“There is no doubt that Denny will be missed by all those who knew him and loved him. Rest In Peace, my friend.”


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