Michael Ralph Leo McFarlane
October 14, 1933 – February 22, 2015
Michael Ralph McFarlane passed away peacefully on February 22, 2015, at age 81, at St. Catharines Hospital in Ontario, Canada. Born in Boise Idaho and raised in Twin Falls, he attended Boise Jr. College and was proud to serve honorably in the U.S. army 1954-1956 as a tank driver in Regensburg Germany on the Czech border. He later graduated with a Bachelor of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory, Master of Music from Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University, and, thirty years later, in 1995, a Master of Divinity from Chicago Theological Seminary.
Michael McFarlane’s professional singing career was extensive. He sang in Europe, South America, the U.S., and Canada. His singing included opera, oratorio, concert, and musical theater, as well as creating, directing, and singing in his own very successful “concert shows” for the Community Concert Association of New York. He and his wife Doreen sang together in these shows, in opera and concert, as well lighter music on five-star cruise ships and hotels. In the role of Emile DeBecque in “South Pacific”, in the 1990s, he received acclaim in ten different productions in ten cities.
Not only did Michael serve as a pastor to many churches after his ordination in 1995, he and his wife, Doreen McFarlane, became missionaries appointed by Global Ministries, of the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), in 2006, in Nanjing, China. There, he served as a professor of church music at the Nanjing Jingling Union Theological Seminary. He was also the seminary’s choir director for three years and the concert manager for the Shanghai YMCA.
Michael is survived by his devoted wife, Reverend Doreen McFarlane, Ph.D. of St. Catharines Ontario Canada; daughter Sarah Polly (Steve) of Rocky River, Ohio; two step- daughters, Debbie Nazir (Dean) of Burlington, Ontario, and Christine Ryan of Machesney Park, Illinois; four granddaughters, Iris and Evelyn Polly, Yasmin and Layla Nazir; and two sisters Phyllis Kollar (Ferdy) and Nancy Gates (Arthur), and their families.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in euros to the John McCormack Society, c/o Elizabeth O’Brien, Secretary, 8 Upper Pembroke Street, Dublin 2, Ireland. Condolences may be sent to his wife, Doreen McFarlane, 15 Ted Street, St. Catharines, Ontario, L2N 1E6 Canada.