Honoring the Life and Dedicated Service of William Earl ``Gator’’ Farringtonby Representative Jeff Miller
Posted on 2016-01-05
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Mr. MILLER of Florida. Mr. Speaker, it is with profound sadness that
I rise today to recognize the life and service of my friend, Northwest
Florida's beloved William Earl ``Gator'' Farrington. Throughout his
long and distinguished life, Gator was a devoted family man, a
patriotic veteran, committed community leader, successful small
businessman, and a true friend. The entire Northwest Florida community
mourns the passing of a truly remarkable man.
Earl Farrington was born on Tuesday, April 5th, 1927. He and his twin sister, Earline, were the youngest of three children born to James and Laura Farrington. During his formative years, Earl was spotted at the tender age of thirteen dragging from a lake a five-foot alligator he had shot. He was dubbed ``Gator'' on the spot and being somewhat of a comedian ``Gator'' has worn his nickname with great joviality, good cheer, and eternal optimism.
Gator graduated from Milton High School in 1944 and served in World War II and the Korean War in the U.S. Navy. After 30 years he retired from civil service at NAS Pensacola in 1984.
He was one of the founding members of Grace Bible Church of Milton and served on the board of directors of Gospel Projects, Inc. Gator is preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Voncille (Hobbs) Farrington; his two sisters, Louise McLellan and Earline Tompkins; and his parents, James Farrington and Laura (Broxson) Farrington.
Gator loved serving his community with his family through his restaurant, Gator's Seafood in Milton, Florida, which he opened in 1975, with Voncille. The rustic building known as Gator's was constructed from juniper logs felled by Gator and his then 75-year-old father off their land, floated by the two across the lake, and cut into lumber by a small sawmill.
Gator's quickly became popular for its fresh seafood, family friendly environment, and impeccable service. The restaurant has become world famous for its fresh and perfectly prepared fried mullet, which many in Northwest Florida consider a delicacy. The summer months attracted large crowds to the restaurant on Friday and Saturday nights, not only for the fried mullet and catfish, crab claws, cheese grits, cole slaw and [[Page E4]] hushpuppies, but for the special brand of humor and entertainment Gator brought to each and every family that walked through the door.
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the United States Congress, I am proud to recognize the life and legacy of William Earl ``Gator'' Farrington. My wife Vicki and I extend our deepest prayers and condolences to his daughter, Lisa Jeffers; his son, William E. ``Bill'' Farrington, II; his four grandchildren, Jeffrey Bennett, Brandon Bennett, Zachary Farrington, and Abigail Farrington; two great-grandchildren, Allie Jae Bennett and Troy Bennett; and the entire Farrington family.