Harford County Priest Is Killed on U.S. 1 in Single-Car Accident
Rev. Kenneth Farabaugh Spearheaded Expansion Campaign for the Chapel
By Suzanne Loudermilk
December 13, 2000
A Harford County priest who was devoting his energies to building a new chapel for his growing parish died yesterday morning when his car ran off the road and crashed into a tree.
The Rev. Kenneth R. Farabaugh, 63, pastor of St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church in Hickory, was driving a 1997 Chevrolet Tracker north on U.S. 1, not far from the church, when he lost control of the vehicle at 8:40 a.m., said Tfc. Jerry Skrzypiec of the Bel Air state police barracks. No passengers were in the car.
Farabaugh was transported by the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Department to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, where he later was pronounced dead.
The accident was under investigation yesterday evening.
The news of Farabaugh's death spread quickly through the county and archdiocese.
"I'm stunned," said the Rev. Francis Callahan, pastor of St. Margaret Roman Catholic Church in Bel Air. "He will be sorely missed by me, his friends, his (seminary) classmates and especially the people of St. Ignatius."
The mood at St. Ignatius, a 208-year-old fieldstone and white stucco church at Jarrettsville Road and U.S. 1, was somber. Several women cried and said they were in shock over the news of Farabaugh's death.
Outside, construction of his legacy - a new church building - continued. The $4 million structure, which will seat 800, is expected to be completed in August.
"That was his dream," said St. Ignatius parishioner Bernie Mullin. "It is sad, in a way. But in another way, it will be seen by people as a tribute to him."
Cardinal William H. Keeler, archbishop of the Baltimore Archdiocese, also spoke of Farabaugh's dedication to the project.
"It was this hope and vision of constructing a new and worthy place for the worship of God that was uppermost in his mind," Keeler said. "We will miss him, and we pray God be good to him."
Farabaugh was appointed the 29th pastor of St. Ignatius in 1993. He was a member of the faculty at John Carroll School in Bel Air, where he was director of religious education and coached basketball and track from 1980 until 1992.
"He was very much athletically inclined in his younger days," said the Rev. Bill Hisky, a retired priest who celebrates Mass on weekends at St. Ignatius. "Now, he worked seven days a week. He did not take a day off." He described Farabaugh as a traditional priest. "He was an old-time priest like you had 50 years ago. He was comfortable with the old ways."
Farabaugh was ordained in 1963 by Cardinal Lawrence Sheehan at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore. His first assignment was as associate pastor at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Baynesville.
From 1964 to 1967, he held a similar position at St. Bernadine's Church in West Baltimore. He also began teaching religion at St. Paul's Latin School, a Baltimore preparatory high school for seminarians. In 1969, he joined the faculty at Cardinal Gibbons High School, where he was a teacher, athletic director and track coach.
Since arriving at St. Ignatius, Farabaugh oversaw the restoration of the historic church and directed construction of the new building to accommodate the more than 2,100 families who belong to the parish.
Farabaugh is survived by two brothers, Edwin M. Farabaugh Jr. of Fleetwood, Pa., and Michael J. Farabaugh of Rosedale; four nephews and three nieces.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Margaret Church with Keeler officiating.
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