Another Bahamian sports icon has died.
J. Barrie Farrington, a former tennis standout and president of the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA), passed away on Wednesday after a prolonged battle with cancer at the age of 85. Farrington and his son John Farrington are both tennis legends in the country. The younger Farrington was a national team player for many years, and former national champion in singles and doubles, before retiring from the game competitively in the early 2000s.
The BLTA, the governing body of tennis in the country, released a statement on Farrington’s passing yesterday.
The Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) extends deepest condolences to the family of J. Barrie Farrington on his passing. He is a former president of the BLTA, serving from 1974-1976, and 1986-1992. As president, Farrington contributed tremendously to the growth and development of tennis in The Bahamas.
Even after demitting office, he continued his philanthropic contributions to tennis and fully supported the BLTA.
Mickey Williams, who served as BLTA President from 1992-1995, said: “Barrie was the longest-serving BLTA president, having served two separate terms – two years in the mid ‘70s and another six between 1986-1992. The Bahamas started playing Davis Cup on its own (as opposed to being part of Commonwealth Caribbean team) under his presidency in ‘89. I actually served under him in several capacities until succeeding him as president in ‘92. He was a very accomplished sportsman and national team player in several sports – baseball, rugby, softball and later tennis, a sport in which he won scores of national championships in singles, doubles and mixed in many age categories.
“He was also a philanthropist, donating to many charities over the years. One of his last charitable acts was to donate to the BLTA several trophies that he had previously won in tennis competitions for use in future national championships with an understanding that the BLTA could ‘raid’ his trophy cabinet for as many additional trophies as they wanted. He was a visionary leader and a true friend to tennis.”
Immediate past BLTA President Darnette Weir reminisced on her interactions with Farrington.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of a great tennis giant who was truly a wonderful person. Mr. J. Barrie Farrington supported my administration
wholeheartedly during my tenure as BLTA president. He always found the time to send encouraging e-mails about the things he loved that were happening in tennis. He gave unselfishly to the growth and development of the sport for many years. What I admire most of all is his strength and tenacity to give of himself despite the vicissitudes of life. Mr. Farrington will truly be missed. May his soul rest in peace!”
BLTA President Perry Newton stated: “Mr. Farrington was a very nice and caring gentleman. He cared about people and he cared about tennis. This is a tremendous loss for the tennis community and for the entire Bahamas. We extend condolences to his wife and children as we pray for their comfort during this difficult time. We will all miss this giant of a man with a giant heart. May his soul rest in peace.”
Farrington was also instrumental in the tourism industry, serving as president of the Bahamas Hotel Employers Association for 31 years. He was a Kerzner International executive, retiring as Senior Vice President of Kerzner International in 2013. Farrington was named Hotelier of the Year in 1995, honored with the prestigious title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1997, received the Clement T. Maynard Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of tourism in 2008, and is a lifetime director of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), among other accolades and honors.
Farrington was also Chairman of the Bahamas Hotel Industry Management Pension Fund for seven years and a trustee of the Bahamas Hotel Allied Industries Pension Fund for more than 30 years. He was also recognized as a Cacique Award winner.
The Nassau Guardian’s sports team offers condolences to the wife, children and family of J. Barrie Farrington on his passing.
May his soul rest in peace.