H. McFarland Obituary

Service Information

 
In Memory of

H. Neill McFarland

September 3, 1923 - July 14, 2017
Obituary

Dr. H. Neill McFarland, Professor Emeritus of History of Religion at Perkins School of Theology, SMU, passed away July 14, 2017. Born in Dallas on September 3, 1923, he lived there most of his 93 years. A graduate of Woodrow Wilson High, he received a BA from TCU, BD from SMU, and PhD from Columbia University. He served as Assistant Pastor of First Methodist Church of Dallas (1946-47), Associate Pastor of Crown Heights Methodist in Oklahoma City (1947-49), and Pastor of Goodsell Memorial Methodist Church in Brooklyn (1949-1954). Neill joined the SMU faculty in 1954 and served as Associate Dean of Perkins (1966), Vice President and...
Dr. H. Neill McFarland, Professor Emeritus of History of Religion at Perkins School of Theology, SMU, passed away July 14, 2017. Born in Dallas on September 3, 1923, he lived there most of his 93 years.

A graduate of Woodrow Wilson High, he received a BA from TCU, BD from SMU, and PhD from Columbia University. He served as Assistant Pastor of First Methodist Church of Dallas (1946-47), Associate Pastor of Crown Heights Methodist in Oklahoma City (1947-49), and Pastor of Goodsell Memorial Methodist Church in Brooklyn (1949-1954).

Neill joined the SMU faculty in 1954 and served as Associate Dean of Perkins (1966), Vice President and Provost of SMU (1967-72), and Director of International Programs (1975-79). He authored two books, The Rush Hour of the Gods and Daruma: The Founder of Zen in Japanese Art and Popular Culture, and numerous professional articles. He retired in 1988.

As a visiting professor at Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan (1956-57), he developed a lifelong fascination with Japan, which he visited 14 times. In 1970, he founded the Japan-America Society of Dallas. Deeply committed to the importance of understanding other cultures, he was a prolific lecturer in the community about religions of the world. In Dallas, he served leadership roles in the Japan-America Society, Dallas United Nations Association, Thanks-Giving Square Foundation, and Multicultural Community Center.

At SMU, he received the "M" Award for Outstanding Service to the University from the SMU Students Association (1973), the SMU Alumni Association's Faculty Award for Excellence (1987), and the Author's Award from the SMU University Lecture Series (1988). In 1986, he was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, by the Emperor of Japan for his contributions to mutual understanding and friendship between the U.S. and Japan. In 2005, he received the Bridges-to-Friendship Award from the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth; and in 2014 he was named to the Woodrow Wilson High School Hall of Fame.

In his personal life, he was an avid collector of crosses of the world, stamps, and Japanese folk art, and he enjoyed carpentry, creative woodwork, and tennis.

Preceding him in death were his wife June Balch McFarland and his parents George Albert McFarland and Anna Josephine Neill McFarland. He is survived by his wife Connie of 44 years; his and June's three daughters Sharon Groves, Anna McFarland, and Marsha McFarland; brother George A. McFarland, Jr., and his wife Rosario; stepson Bill Kamperman and his wife Jean; grandson Brad Groves; granddaughter Erin Street and her husband Chip Street; and great-grandchildren Briana Street and Ayden, Jackson, and Connor Groves. He also leaves nephews and nieces Stephen G. McFarland, Anne McFarland, Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, John McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, David Steel, Janice Normile, Esther Duncan, Jim Routt, and Cindy Losak.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday, July 27, 2017, at 3 pm in Perkins Chapel at SMU. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in memory of H. Neill McFarland to the Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth at www.jasdfw.org.

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"To Anna and Family, Our deepest condolences for your loss. We met Dr. McFarland many years ago through the JASDFW and admired his knowledge and dedication..." Sandra Prachyl (Arlington, TX)

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