"The family of Dr. Joe McFarland wishes to thank you for your prayers for Joe these many years. We thank you for your thoughts expressed on this tribute page. Joe touched the lives of many people, not only in Kansas and Pennsylvania, but also in Taiwan and Cyprus. I(Roberta), especially am thankful for the picture chosen for the heading. I can't remember seeing this particular picture previously. It shows Joe with the same smile he gave when he revived a bit after not moving a muscle for 24 hours. I think he had a glimpse of heaven! Twelve hours later, he rose to be with his Lord.
We so appreciated Dr. & Mrs. Smith's coming for both the burial service at Sterling, Kansas and the memorial service here in Topeka. Friendships mean a lot and we're thankful for all of our friends from the Geneva Community. May God continue to bless you all."
- The family of Joe McFarland
"Dr. McFarland was president at Geneva during my four years of college. I remember his pleasant voice, tall stature, and his genuine friendliness. But it is a memory of him after my stay, that I will remember most. Another Graduate of Geneva and I were staying in the "The President's House" for Homecoming of 1998 and she and I, along with the McFarlands were the only people occupying the house at the time. We got a chance to sit down and talk with them and the following year they sent me a Christmas Card. He was telling us how he was the president who pushed for the buildings on campus to have signs. Prior to his presidency they had no signs large enough for people to see from a distance. We had a pleasant stay and a wonderful time talking and laughing with them.
My husband just recently passed away so I know the heartache that the family is feeling, first hand and I wish them the blessed comfort of the Holy Spirit at this time and the assurance that comes from knowing that a loved one is in Heaven."
Sincerely In Christ.
- Ms. Lori Spring (Griffith) Kurtzhal
"I, like Pete Smith, fondly remember Dr McFarland making the promise that if he didn't say "hi" he owed you a silver dollar. He was a great person and a good college president too."
- Rich Kirkwood '88
"Just reading through others noted has brought back so many memories. the love and compassion of Joe and Roberta for Geneva and her students was second to none. Spending time in their home and around their table generated many happy memories from my time at Geneva. I also had the benefit of knowing the McFarlands in the broader church setting. Seeing them in their service for the kingdom of God was an example for us all."
- Craig Milroy '92
"One word: 'Porkchops!'"
- Jonathan Schaefer
"I remember Dr. McFarland calling my dad up one day when I was about 14 years old and inviting the two of us on a ride in his plane. He had business in Hays, Kansas, and had room for us on board. What an amazing experience to ride in a Cessna. We enjoyed visiting some friends in Hays and then took the flight back with him. He even let me steer the plane for some of the trip. A few years later, he became the President of Geneva, and it always brightened my day when, as a freshman, he remembered me and greeted me warmly. He was such an example of a person who had his focus on the Lord and on others. I am so thankful that he is perfectly healed and in the presence of Jesus, our King."
- Bonnie Weir, Board of Corporators
"In my time at Geneva, Dr. and Mrs. McFarland were examples of Matthew 5:14-16: "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Dr. McFarland's vision, hospitality, kindness and leadership impacted the college as an institution, and the lives of all those who came to Geneva during his time as President. Many thanks, Dr. McFarland for your service and your example of a joyful life lived for the Lord. May the light of God's grace bring comfort and strength to the McFarland family."
- Donanne Seese, '92
"His wisdom served the college well, and he was a blessing to many doing the work God planned for him. My sympathies to his personal family and the Geneva family."
- Rick Vaccarelli
"Dr. McFarland knew the students at Geneva. I was so amazed by that as I would walk across campus and he'd say hello to you...by name. I remember in 1990, the Genevans were getting ready to go on our European tour. We met outside of Alex's and were loading our luggage onto the bottom of the buses. Dr. McFarland was there to wish us well. He spoke to us, individually and as a group. Dr. McFarland made his way through the group, hugging and shaking hands with us. He came to me, and my parents who had come to see us off. He put his arm around me and then proceeded to tell me that he had heard something about me. Curiously, I listened to this amazing man as he spoke. He said, "Chelli, I heard something about you and this trip." I asked him what he'd heard. He replied, with a big grin on his face, "I heard that you were taking a vow of silence." Then he chuckled. He knew his students and if any of those reading this remember me, I was anything but silent. I'm glad that I have that memory of Dr. McFarland. My parents love to tell that story. I was blessed to have known him and be a part of Geneva College...a place he loved. Thank you, Dr. McFarland, for your love for Geneva and for knowing your students. You were a wonderful example to us. God bless."
- Rachelle (Abbey) White
"I look at that smile and feel unfortunate that I did not get to met the soul of a man with such a joyful smile but I know what it is to lose a loved one. Therefore, my heart goes out to the family, friends and co-workers of Dr. McFarland. I wish you God's peace."
- Crystal Richards
"It was my privilege to know Joe McFarland in many capacities and to appreciate the many, many contributions he made to Geneva, his family, his church, and even the sporting world. There are many memories, but I almost always think of him as I drive up Route 18 by Reeves Field and recall how determined he was to have the wall at the south end covered with ivy. It's there now. Thank you, Joe. Praying for Roberta and the rest of the family and praising God for the life of one who honored him."
- Joyce Lynn
"My love and sympathy to Roberta, Matt, Bill and Kathy and the rest of Joe's family. It was a real privilege to serve as secretary to Joe during his 8 years as President of Geneva College. He was an amazing person, always friendly, full of energy and a real joy to all who knew him. Thank you Joe for all you did for Geneva College and for me as well. You will always be remembered in our hearts until we meet again in Heaven."
- Marian Dunlap
"Dr. McFarland served a term at the American Academy in Nicosia, Cyprus, as a principle of the school. He came into a school that was disorganized and with low morale and by utilizing his many skills and vast experience he laid the foundation on which the school was rebuilt. He would never be forgotten. May God comfort his family."
- Alex and Ermi Kantartjis
"I have known Joe and his family since he was in first grade when the "preacher" and his family arrived in Quinter, Kansas. We have kept in touch these many years. The three McFarland boys were certainly interesting characters. We loved them all. Roberta has been such an asset in his life. My love and prayoers are with his family."
- Marge Cox
"Dr McFarland served as president of Geneva during the last years of my service as a member of the Department of English. I never felt uncomfortable in addressing him as Joe, for he and Roberta and I had long known one another from our Sterling, Kansas childhood. He was, then, always Joe to me. I appreciated his quiet strength and professionalism that guided faculty and administration from stormy seas to a calm harbor. But above all Joe and his wonderful wife, Roberta, were simply good friends whose warmth enriched our family's life."
- Norman Carson, Ph. D., Professor Emeritus, Dept. of English
"I join with the Geneva family in sorrowing for Joe's passing, but rejoicing for him. I served on the Geneva Board of Trustees, when we extended the call to him to serve and lead the College. He loved the College and her students, and was instrumental in extending Geneva's outreach. My condolences to his family; he will be missed by many."
- Dee Morris, '59
"My deepest sympathy to Dr. McFarland's family and to the Geneva College community. I always respected and admired him for being such a kind man and inspirational leader of the College."
- Ray VanSickle '91
"We remember Dr. McFarland as a mature Christian, loving husband and father, strong leader and shining example to us all. I appreciate his friendship to my father Ed Jackson. I would like to think that Dr. McFarland and my dad are smiling down on the friendship that their sons (Matt & Chuck) enjoy. Thank you Dr. McFarland.
PS: Even though Matt, Mark and I love a good time we will do our utmost to stay out of trouble so you don't worry about us. Well most of the time anyhow."
- Chuck Jackson
"I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to the family of Dr. Joseph McFarland and to the staff and faculty of the Geneva College."
- Bob Baldwin, '86
"I thank God that in His providence and wisdom, He appointed men like Dr. McFarland. Great leader with a winsome spirit. May God confort his family and many friends."
- Stephen Nzita di Nzita, '86
"I appreciated Dr. McFarland's warmth and kindness. He was always respectful of us students and happy to interact with us. My fondest memories are attending the Psalm sings at their house. I loved those evenings together. I especially enjoyed their hospitality specifically the hot ham and cheese sandwiches wrapped in tinfoil straight from the oven! It was a privilege to be influenced by such a humble, godly man. My prayers are with the McFarland family."
- Eileen Dietrich-Councill
"Dr. McFarland will always hold a special place in the hearts of the Class of 1988. We were his first class of freshmen and he walked along side us through all the joys and sorrows of those four years. Personally, I appreciate the time fellowshipping at Richardson House with he and Mrs. McFarland. They always made me feel like that was the place I needed to be at that moment. I had the opportunity to chat with him at a church conference in 2008 and was surprised that he had kept up with my career in college athletics through the previous 20 years. I remember him saying he was proud of me for what I had accomplished during that time. I hope I can continue to make him proud. Thank you to Mrs. McFarland, Bill, Matt and Kathy for sharing him with us!"
- Judy Willson
"Dr. McFarland was a special person. He and I became personally acquainted on a few occasions in the mid 80's at Geneva. I found him to be an incredibly honest, ethical, moral leader. I was fortunate to come in contact with him last January as he had mentioned a story about he and I in his book. We shared some funny stories of our Geneva experiences. He provided me great advice in the 80's and throughout this past year. I will hold a special place for Joe. I look forward to seeing him one day in Heaven. "
- Brian Paul
"Although it had been some time since I last saw Dr. Joe, I considered him a dear friend. He certainly will be greatly missed. He was a muched-loved man, highly respected for his outstanding academic achievements. My prayers are for his dear wife, Roberta, and for his family. He is with his resurrected and living Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
- Rev. James M. Wright
"Thank you for making our college experience from 1984 to 1988 a wonderful experience. You did an awesome job!"
- Jeri and Jim Kanuch
"I was able to work with Dr. McFarland as a member of the Alumni Council during his time as President, and I appreciated very much the use he made of God's gifts to the benefit of Geneva College."
- Elizabeth Scott '72
"Dr. McFarland was kind to me during my junior and senior years here. I appreciated his encouragement and affirmation. It is priceless to a young person.
Yet my fondest memory comes from after I graduated. I was working at WBVP and doing sideline reporting for a football game at Monaca High School. As I stood in the end zone before the game, I looked over and there was Joe McFarland, sporting the pinstripes of the refereeing crew! I never would have imagined he was a football referee. But I suppose we all have much about us that others would never guess is there.
First the cross, now the crown. We will meet again in glory."
- Tom Stein, Director of Alumni Relations
"Joe McFarland became President of Geneva College after my years as a student, and retired before I returned as a member of the Board of Trustees. Nevertheless, I knew him through my many communications with the college during those years. Joe brought some much-needed stability to the college community after a season of turmoil, and did much to give a facelift to the campus. But I mostly remember him for his love of athletics, and his sense of humor, both of which were blessings to Geneva. Joe loved all kinds of sports, with a particular affection for football; he officiated high school football games for decades. And who doesn’t remember his story about the pork chops? Joe loved the Lord, his wife, children, extended family, church, and the College. We will miss him."
- Kenneth A. Smith, Ph.D., President, Geneva College
"I was a student when Dr Joe McFarland was inaugurated. He made a promise that day that I never missed an opportunity to test. He said if you ever greet me and I do not acknowledge you, I will give you a silver dollar. I remember calling to him even from 30 yards away to see if he'd respond. He always did. Although I never won a silver dollar, Dr McFarland appreciated my efforts, so when I graduated, taped to the inside of my diploma was a silver dollar. It's still there, taped to my diploma with a short inscription. May God extend his mercy and joy to his family."
- Pete Smith, Bible Dept.
"I have many good memories of president Joe McFarland. But one that comes to mind every time I visit Geneva's campus is this: Joe wanted the campus to look attractive and be functional. When I view Old Main today, I no longer see the remains of cork dust and smoke embedded in the now natural sandstone walls. At night the tower, flooded with light, beckons attention and tribute. Joe described the old residences on Park Place by pointing out their back doors as the first glimpse of the campus as one came up the hill from town, and he set out to remove them. And then there was the chapel with its noisy seats and divided stage. To get new seats he "sold" them to us seat by seat, and the rebuilt stage became enlarged and impressive. Appearance meant something to Joe. And with it, I should add, he knew that his faith in Jesus had appropriately suited him to meet the King of kings."
- Rev. Kenneth G. Smith, Chairman of the Board of Trustees when Dr. McFarland was appointed
"Joe McFarland was President when I first started working here at Geneva. His presence was always felt on campus. He never failed to warmly greet students (often by name), faculty and staff as he walked across the campus. He had a wry humor that kept us smiling – and sometimes shaking our heads. He had a great enthusiasm for Geneva and came back from Kansas for many Homecomings. In fact, it was for one of the Homecoming events that I last saw him. But we kept up a correspondence by email when he sent crazy jokes which again kept me smiling – and shaking my head. I'll miss him."
- Ann Burkhead, Director, Crossroads/International Student Services
"When I arrived on Geneva’s campus for the first time on a recruiting trip in the summer of 1988, the first person my father and I ran into was President McFarland. As we were aimlessly walking around Geneva’s campus, Dr. McFarland pointed us toward the field house and took the next five minutes welcoming us to Geneva College and passionately talking about his love for Geneva and what an amazing place Geneva College was. It was in that five minutes that I decided to attend Geneva College and my life had been changed forever. Let the incredible example of Dr. McFarland be a reminder to all of us about the impact that we can have on students everyday if we simply take those extra five minutes. I have still never met anyone that loved Geneva as much as President McFarland. I want to thank you one last time “Doc” for pointing me in the right direction. God bless you and your family!!"
- Van Zanic
Geneva’s Adult Degree Completion Program (ADCP) offers two fully online majors—Christian Ministry Leadership and Human Resources.