Billie J. McFarren

October 8, 1924 ~ July 4, 2019 (age 94)


DALTON – Billie J. McFarren, age 94, passed away on July 4, 2019, Independence Day, a fitting day for his homecoming.

A life-long resident of Dalton, Bill was born on October 8, 1924 to the late Oakley “Toby” and Harriet (Purdy) McFarren. 

Bill’s father died when Bill was eight years old as a result of injuries incurred during his service in World War I. Bill and his four brothers were raised by their single mother in Dalton during the midst of the Great Depression. He had many grateful memories of family and community members who played significant and benevolent roles in his family’s life in those very difficult years.

After graduating from Dalton High School in 1942, he served his country in World War II, where he served in France with the 103rd Infantry Division during the Battle of the Bulge. He earned the Purple Heart. Full military honors will be part of the memorial service.

Returning home from his service to his country, he married Betty Lou Keller, his high school sweetheart and the great love of his life. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster in 1951 and two Master’s Degrees from Kent State University and the University of Akron.

Following his graduation from the College of Wooster, he accepted a teaching and coaching position in Lisbon, Ohio, at David Anderson High School, where he built friendships with colleagues and students that lasted a lifetime. After a short time in Lisbon, Bill and Betty Lou returned home with their family to Dalton where Bill served as a teacher, coach and High School principal. He coached several sports at Dalton but is most remembered for his twenty-one years leading the Dalton Bulldog Football team to nine WCAL titles. He is a member of both the Wayne County Sports Hall of Fame and the Ohio High School Football Coach’s Hall of Fame. Bill and Betty Lou were honored when the football field at the Dalton High School Stadium was name McFarren Field honoring their years of service to the community and its young people.

After retirement, they traveled frequently to Denver and rural Montana where he coached eight-man football for four years. He enjoyed fishing, golfing, working with horses, shooting pool and the Cleveland Indians as well as spending time with family and countless friends. He especially delighted in spending time with his former students and athletes and enjoyed receiving guests through the final day of his earthly life. He was a lifelong member of the Dalton United Methodist Church where among many activities, he enjoyed singing in the choir.

One of Bill’s greatest wishes was to have his body donated to the Northeast Ohio Medical University. The family is pleased that the wish was accomplished.

He was preceded in death by his beloved Betty Lou, who he loved to call Bets or Slim, in 2007; brothers, Clair (Tobe), Robert (Poot), Johnny and Tom. He is survived by his children, Mike (Robin) McFarren of Dalton, Pat (Jan) McFarren of Fairview, NC, and Paula McFarren (Al McGehee) of Denver, CO; grandchildren, Eric (Kim), Phil (Jenny), Zach (Shelly), Thomas,
 Cooper (Wendy) and Keely (Katelyn); great-grandchildren, Tony, Mario, Tyler, Nicholas, Keller, Scout, Brady ( the other “B.J.”), Emersyn, Tripp, Cael, and Everett. There are many nieces and nephews who loved their Uncle Bill.

Many, many heartfelt thanks to Katy Biggs for her love and devotion.

Bill was loved by his family, his community, friends and colleagues. He will be exceedingly missed. A Celebration of Life Reunion will be held on Saturday, August 3, 2019, at 2 p.m. at the Dalton High School Auditorium.  A time of fellowship and light refreshments will follow the service in the high school cafeteria where you can share your stories and greet old friends. You are encouraged to wear your orange and black (or your own favorite school colors).

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Dalton High School Athletic Department, PO Box 514, Dalton OH 44618. An online obituary and guest registry are available at

(Zak-Thacker & Monbarren, 330-828-2536)




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Celebration of Life
August 3, 2019

2:00 PM
Dalton High School
177 N. Mill St.
Dalton, OH 44618


Dalton High School Athletic Department
177 N. Mill St., Dalton OH 44618

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