Joseph R. Farina
Joseph Farina, who has served with the Genesis Group to form the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor since the group formed in 1995, was born on January 26, 1921. A native of Newburgh, New York, he attended Newburgh schools graduating from Newburgh Free Academy in 1939. While serving in the military, he attended the U.S. Army Morse Code School and attended DeForest Institute in Chicago after his discharge from military service.
Shortly after graduation from NFA, he joined the 156th Field Artillery, New York National Guard. His unit was called into federal service on September 16, 1940, and was stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey. When war was declared on December 7, 1941, he volunteered to go overseas and was transferred to Jackson Barracks in New Orleans to await assignment. As a high-speed Morse code operator, he embarked on a secret mission to the Philippine Islands–a mission that failed.
He was then reassigned to the Southwest Pacific Theatre of Operations under the command of General Douglas MacArthur. His initial assignment in New Guinea was as a radio operator at General MacArthur’s Advanced Headquarters. He remained involved in the New Guinea campaigns for well over a year. He was then assigned to Biak Island and then on to Leyte and Luzon in the Philippine Islands. He attained the rank of sergeant and served with honor and distinction in the Southwest Pacific and the Philippine Islands in World War II. He received numerous decorations including four battle stars and two Presidential Citations.
After the war, he became involved in bowling both as a participant and as a bowling center owner. In 1960, he was invited to Australia to assist with the introduction and promotion of bowling in that country. He served in an executive position as technical advisor to Brunswick of Australia and director of the school of management. In that capacity, he trained management personnel for bowling centers in Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
In 1975, his talent was further recognized when he was invited to assist with the selection of the Australian National team to compete in the FIQ World Championships in London. He is the only non-Australian to ever receive this honor. He placed Australian bowlers in competition with the greatest of the American professionals when he secured entry for Australia into the PBA Hawaiian Invitational in Honolulu. He is credited with having placed Australian bowlers on the world stage.
In addition to his many executive and promotional duties, he still found time to work with those who were physically handicapped. He devoted many hours to teaching bowling to the blind children of Sydney. He also devoted time to working with groups from the Physically Handicapped and Poliomyelitis Society, the Multiple Sclerosis Center and the disabled Australian war veterans at Mt. Wilga Rehabilitation Hospital. In 1961, he appeared weekly on a sports TV show on Channel 10 in Sydney. He also wrote a weekly newspaper column in the Newcastle newspaper, and he edited a bowling booklet that was widely distributed throughout Australia. He was featured in one movie with World Champion Marion Ladewig. In addition, he was a member of the Board of Directors of two Australian companies and served on the executive board of the Professional Bowlers of Australia. He made numerous TV and radio appearances throughout Australia, and his name became synonymous with the sport in that country.
After twenty-one years in Australia he returned to the United States in 1981. Upon his return he became very active in veteran’s affairs addressing many issues of concern to veterans. He was a member of the Genesis Group that included Lt. Gen. James D. Hughes, State Senator William J. Larkin, and publisher Everett Smith. The four were instrumental in assisting with establishing the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor. He twice served as Post Commander of Catholic War Veterans Post 386. In addition, he has served on the state and national level in that organization. He has also served on the Veteran’s Committee in Albany, and he is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor. He is a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1161, a member of the 156th Field Artillery Association in Kingston, CWV Post 386, past member of the Australian-American Club, Australian RSL, Lions Club, Nomads Athletic Club, and former licensed basketball official in the states of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Walter T. Kunowski award for Americanism, the Nicholas Brooks Memorial award from the Town of New Windsor for outstanding community service, and the Zeal award from the CWV Department of New York.
He is now retired and resides in New Windsor, NY, with his wife, Elizabeth.