Martin Farkash, 1937–2011

A Heart Turned Toward Love and Life


By Kenneth Curry Professor of Literature Maurice O’Sullivan






Martin Farkash

In Deuteronomy, Moses told the Israelites, “I have set before you life and good or death and evil.” Together with Sandra, his beloved wife and constant companion of forty years, Marty Farkash always chose life.

His gift was love, and it was a gift that touched everyone who knew him. A man of remarkable compassion and extraordinary learning, an inspiring teacher, and a skilled psychotherapist, Professor of Psychology Martin Edward Farkash devoted his life to his family, his students, and his patients. On December 6, 2011, he died peacefully at home in Longwood, Florida.

Marty received his B.A. from the City University of New York, his M.A. from Yeshiva University, and his Ph.D. from what is now Albert Einstein College of Medicine. At Rollins, he found the perfect environment for his teaching and scholarship. He created a number of courses that quickly became among the most consistently popular classes in the history of the college, including Suicide and Depression and Hanging Loose in an Uptight World. Students loved the fact that he not only taught them to think critically but to open their minds to new possibilities.

In addition to his teaching, Marty had an extensive, successful practice as a clinical psychologist and was active in his profession. His broad clinical knowledge made him an invaluable resource for his students, both as a personal and a professional adviser. Dean of the Arts & Sciences Robert Smither describes him as “one of the most caring persons ever associated with Rollins College. It would be hard to count the many students, alumni, and colleagues who were in some way touched by Marty's wisdom and kindness.”

Marty’s intense love for his family was the driving force in his life. Marty and Sandra—and it was often hard to think of them separately—were close with their son, Evan, and his wife, Cherie, who live in Boston, and their younger son, Mathew, who lives in Manhattan.

Marty waged a heroic seven-year battle with melanoma. Unwilling to yield to its relentless attack, Marty endured without complaint a wide range of often painful medical therapies as he fought for his health and to help others struggling against cancer.

Even when his physicians warned him death was near, he refused to give up. His daughter-in-law was due to deliver his and Sandra’s first grandchild on Thanksgiving. He lived long enough to celebrate with his family the birth of his grandson, David Logan Farkash.

Donations be made in Farkash’s memory to the Rollins College Book-a-Year Program, c/o the Rollins College Gift Lockbox, PO Box 864168, Orlando, FL 32886-4168.