Alexander Anthony Farrelly
Former Governor of the United States Virgin Islands
Alexander Anthony Farrelly was the fourth elected Governor of the United States Virgin Islands.
Early life and education
Alexander Anthony Farrelly was born on 29 December 1923 on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands to Patrick and Mary (nee Hardcastle) Farrelly. He grew up in the town of Frederiksted and attended St. Patrick’s Parochial School from which he graduated in 1940.
After high school, Farrelly entered the United States Army, where he served with distinction and attained the rank of Sergeant before his honorable discharge in 1946. He attended St. John’s College in New York, graduating in 1951 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Government. Upon graduation from college, Farrelly continued his education at St. John’s University Law School, receiving his Bachelor of Law degree in 1954. 1958.
Farrelly began his legal career in 1955 as a practicing attorney in New York City; and in 1959 was appointed to the professional staff of the United Nations by the Secretary General of the United Nations as a Caribbean area specialist. In 1960, Farrelly entered Yale Law School to pursue a specialty in labor law and in 1961 earned his Master of Laws degree. Returning to the Virgin Islands in 1962, Farrelly was appointed by the Attorney General of the United States as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of the Virgin Islands. In 1965 he became a judge of the Municipal Court of the Virgin Islands. In 1966, he was elected as a Senator-at Large to the Seventh Legislature of the Virgin Islands. In addition to his duties a two-term senator, in 1967, Farrelly also became a partner in the law firm of Birch, Maduro, deJongh and Farrelly and served as the firm’s principal litigator until his election as the territory’s fourth elected Governor in 1986.
Farrelly served as Governor from 5 January 1987 to 2 January 1995. He tackled many major issues during his two terms as Governor, including increasing the number of affordable housing, enhancing the education and health system in the territory and purchasing the West Indian Company from the Danish government, which will continue to be one of the beacons of the Farrelly/Hodge Administration. Farrelly also had to manage a territory that was ravaged by Hurricane Hugo, and that destroyed most of the homes and infrastructure on St. Croix and St. Thomas. Farrelly will be remembered for the unprecedented number of women he hired in his administration, from Commissioners to Judges to members of his security detail.
Honours and awards
Farrelly was awarded two honorary degrees of Doctor of Laws from the University in New York.
In 1991, Joan Harrigan married Farrelly, becoming the First Lady of the Territory. Mrs. Harrigan-Farrelly continued to work full-time as the Director of the Coastal Zone Management, while carrying out her responsibilities as First Lady. Mrs. Harrigan-Farrelly has been and continues to be a champion on issues concerning empowering women and reducing and eliminating domestic violence; teenage pregnancy prevention, literacy issues and environmental issues.
Death and legacy
Farrelly and his wife were married for eleven years before he died at his home in Arlington, Virginia, on 10 September 2002, aged 78.
The Alexander A. Farrelly Justice Center is named in his honour.