John Farrington, author, reporter and good friend of Stompin' Tom Connor's, died in his sleep on August 29, 2017. He was 74. At the time of his death, he was anxiously awaiting publication of his most recent project, a coffee table book called "Stompin' Tom's Canada".
A few years ago, I saw a photograph of #stompintommusic, hatless and before he became "Stompin'", greeting former Prime Minister, Lester B. Pearson during a campaign stop in Timmins in 1963. That photo appeared in the local Timmins newspaper and it was taken by John Farrington. Legend has it, John was the first reporter to recognize Tom's genius and publish a story about it.
John was that rarest of Stompin' Tom friends, a newspaper reporter. Tom's opinion of Canadian media is legendary. John however was a trusted friend and was welcomed into Tom's home many times over the years. Many of those visits culminated in the two autobiographies of Tom, Before the Fame and The Connors Tone.
Tom's wife Lena introduced me to John when I began to tour with my show, #whiskeyjackmusic Presents Stories & Songs of Stompin' Tom. We became instant friends, both of us devoted to the memory and legacy of one of Canada's greatest citizens. He told me about working long into the night, often many nights in a row, pouring over the memories that Tom had written, then working to shape hundreds of pages of material into a transcript ready to be published. He had done this before with another great Canadian, Gordie Tapp (What's On Tapp?). It was a labour of love for John. He said he never received credit as a ghost writer but by anyone's definition, that's exactly what he was.
A meeting with John over coffee or lunch always turned into a fascinating exploration of his history with Tom. One incredible story, always leading into even more stories.
What a life he lived. There are so many great stores left untold. We're all the sadder for it. He will be greatly missed.