Nancy Jane Farrissey


Nancy Jane (McDonald) Farrissey died peacefully in her sleep on February 3, 2012.

Nancy was born in Fall River on February 5, 1933, to mother Loretta, a former dancer in the Zeigfield Follies and father Bernard McDonald, an attorney. She was one of nine close-knit brothers and sisters. Happy and always good-natured, she was head cheerleader at Durfee High School where she met her husband, star basketball player Andy Farrissey.

Honeymooners for 60 years, they brought up four children and nine grandchildren with immense love. Her great joy was her family, as she was theirs. A talented artist, Nancy poured her creativity into her warm home, her lush garden, and her extraordinary food.

For 25 years her hard work and imagination made Nancy and Jo-Anne Catering a success. She cooked for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Julia Child, and Emeril Lagasse. Lively, beautiful, and unfailingly kind, she was loved by everyone who knew her.

She is survived by her husband: Andrew J. Farrissey of Fall River, four children; Colleen Farrissey McGowan and her husband, Steven McGowan, of Providence, R.I., Jo Anne O’Neil and her husband, John C. O’Neil, of Fall River, Nancy Jane Duncan and her husband, Samuel H. Duncan, of Arlington, Andrew J. Farrissey and his wife, Katherine (Anderson) Farrissey, of Oak Bluffs; six siblings, Patricia Barrar of Somerset, Bernard McDonald and his wife, Joan, of Fall River, William McDonald and his wife, Nan, of Westport, Susan Coombes and her husband, William, of Somerset, Barry McDonald of Fall River, and Mary Elizabeth Hargraves and her husband, Robert, of Fall River; brother-in-law Arthur Shea of Somerset. Also by 11 grandchildren — Musa Gurnis and her husband, Nathaniel Farrell, of St. Louis, Mo., Leah Winship of Berlin, Germany, Andrew W. Farrissey of Martha’s Vineyard, Rachal Winship of New York, N.Y., Leila Duncan of Arlington, Colleen Farrissey of Martha’s Vineyard, Samuel H. Duncan of Arlington, William Farrissey of Martha’s Vineyard, John A. O’Neil of Fall River, Cameron and Margot McGowan, both of Colorado, and her best friend since childhood Eleanor McNally, S.U.S.C., and many beloved nieces and nephews. She was sister of the late Loretta McMurray and Barbara Shea and sister-in-law of the late George McMurray, William Barrar, and Gabriella McDonald.

A funeral was held Tuesday at the Waring-Sullivan Home of Memorial Tribute at Cherry Place, 178 Winter St. Fall River, followed by a Funeral Mass in Holy Name Church, Fall River. Contributions in her honor may be made to Thomas Chew Memorial Boys and Girls Club, 803 Bedford St., Fall River, MA 02720. Burial was private. For tributes visit