Remembering Jeremiah “Jerry” Farrell

It is with great sadness that G4G notes the death of Jeremiah Farrell (December 12, 1937 – July 4, 2022).

We are collecting here some recollections from various members of the G4G community. If you have any anecdotes, memories, or tributes that you would like to share, please email us at

Colleagues Jeremiah Farrell and Steve Bloom at the 2016 “Celebration of Mind” at Butler University

I always looked forward to seeing Jerry. If he knew he was going to see me he would always have a new mathematical magic creation he would delight in showing me. Many of his tricks involved his style of printed colored cardstock sheets, and the ideas were always original and unique. 


Jerry also loved trick words and wordplay, and he was the perfect person to take over as editor and publisher of Ross Eckler’s “Word Ways”. It was only after many years of knowing him that I found out about a crossword puzzle called “Election Day” that appeared in New York Times in 1996. To my surprise, I saw that it was created by Jerry! He never told me about it, I discovered it on my own. When I asked him about it, he proceeded to tell me about other crossword ideas he came up with. The election day crossword is genius, and one of my favorite ideas of all time. 


I will miss my friend Jerry Farrell.



– Mark Setteducati

Left to Right: Scot Morris, Jerry Farrell, Jim Gardner
Jerry putting tape on Lennart Green for one of Lennart's famous tricks
Left to Right: Jerry Farrell, Martin Gardner, Mark Setteducati, Tom Rodgers. Front: Soct Morris

We have gotten to know Jerry and Karen over some 25 years of IPP’s, G4G’s, and the occasional Midwest Puzzle Party.  They have become good friends even though we see them only once or twice a year.  I have spent untold hours trying to solve the mechanical puzzle designs Jerry comes up with.  Sometimes with computer, other times not.  Sometimes successfully, other times not.


Below are 3 pictures.  At IPP37 in Paris, we shared a 2-hour tour of the city with them.  They are getting ready to enjoy their Croque Monsieurs for lunch.  The other two photos were taken at a Midwest Puzzle Party in Palatine, IL in November of 2019 – perhaps the last puzzle event Jerry attended in person.



– Bill and Janice Cutler

Jerry Farrell was a cherished friend for many years, the kindest, gentlest, most generous human being, with a quiet intelligence that was awe-inspiring. He lived puzzles and gave life to them with his creative designs. For many years I was privileged to be commissioned to produce several of his IPP exchange puzzles, G4G designs, and IPP competition entries. Examples were his Magic Die, The French Resolution, Most-Perfect Magic Squares, and the Cubic Rube, among others. It was a joy to work with Jerry, as we shared a love of creativity in puzzles, and he always made me feel appreciated.
Besides mechanical puzzles and math-based puzzles, Jerry also had a penchant for word puzzles, a large part of them as crossword challenges.
For many years Jerry had health problems but never lost his good humor and courage, inspiring admiration and great affection. I always looked forward to seeing Jerry and his wonderful wife, Karen, at gatherings. My heart aches to realize he won’t be there physically. Assuredly his spirit will always be with us,  beloved and unforgettable.
– Kate Jones

2 thoughts on “Remembering Jeremiah “Jerry” Farrell

  1. Katie LaSeur Reply

    Jerry and Karen were so welcoming and helpful to Jodi and I during our first stressful time running the G4G conference (G4G13). We were so appreciative of their warmth and support. Jerry will be greatly missed.

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