Bob Farrell (motivational speaker)

Last updated
Bob Farrell
Born(1927-12-10)December 10, 1927
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.
Died August 14, 2015(2015-08-14) (aged 87)
Vancouver, Washington, U.S.
Occupation Motivational speaker, entrepreneur
Years active 1945–2015
Spouse(s) Ramona Farrell (1946-2015; his death)

Robert E. "Bob" Farrell (December 10, 1927 – August 14, 2015) was an American motivational speaker, author, and founder of Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant. [1] [2]

A motivational speaker or inspirational speaker is a speaker who makes speeches intended to motivate or inspire an audience. Such speakers may attempt to challenge or transform their audiences. The speech itself is popularly known as a pep talk.

Farrells Ice Cream Parlour

Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour is an American ice cream parlor chain founded in Portland, Oregon, in 1963.


Early life

Farrell was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1927. His grandfather, Patrick Farrell, owned an auto parts company which his father later ran. Following the stock market crash in 1929 Farrell's father committed suicide. His mother placed 4-year-old Bob and his sister in an orphanage for five years, taking them back when she remarried in 1934. [3]

Wall Street Crash of 1929 stock Market crash of 1929

The Wall Street Crash of 1929, also known as the Stock Market Crash of 1929 or the Great Crash, is a major stock market crash that occurred in late October 1929. It started on October 24 and continued until October 29, 1929, when share prices on the New York Stock Exchange collapsed.

Suicide intentional act of causing ones own death

Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Mental disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, and substance abuse—including alcoholism and the use of benzodiazepines—are risk factors. Some suicides are impulsive acts due to stress, such as from financial difficulties, troubles with relationships, or bullying. Those who have previously attempted suicide are at a higher risk for future attempts. Effective suicide prevention efforts include limiting access to methods of suicide—such as firearms, drugs, and poisons; treating mental disorders and substance misuse; proper media reporting of suicide; and improving economic conditions. Even though crisis hotlines are common, there is little evidence for their effectiveness.

Orphanage residential institution devoted to the care of orphans

Historically, an orphanage was a residential institution, or group home, devoted to the care of orphans and other children who were separated from their biological families. Examples of what would cause a child to be placed in orphanages are when the biological parents were deceased, the biological family was abusive to the child, there was substance abuse or mental illness in the biological home that was detrimental to the child, or the parents had to leave to work elsewhere and were unable or unwilling to take the child. The role of legal responsibility for the support of children whose parent(s) have died or are otherwise unable to provide care differs internationally.

In 1945 he dropped out of high school to join the Air Force, remaining in the service for a year after the war. He met and married Ramona in 1946; they later had three daughters. He earned a business degree and took a job with Heinz Foods. After a year he became a salesman for Libby Foods. [4]

United States Air Force Air and space warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially formed as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the fourth in order of precedence. The USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.

Ice cream

On September 13, 1963, he and his friend Ken McCarthy created Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour, an 1890s-themed ice cream parlor in Portland, Oregon. Farrell later bought out McCarthy's interest. Within five years he had six Farrell's locations, then began franchising. Among other publicity stunts, he built the World's Largest Sundae (1,551 pounds (704 kg)) for the Guinness Book of World Records. [5] He built up a franchise chain of 55 restaurants, which he sold to the Marriott Corporation in 1972. He remained with the chain as spokesperson until 1985. [4] The chain expanded to 120 locations by 1975, but then sales began declining; by 1990 almost all Farrell's locations had closed. In 2008 the chain was revived, with Farrell serving as an advisor to the new owners. [6]

Ice cream parlor a shop selling ice creams

Ice cream parlors is a place that sell ice cream, gelato, sorbet, and frozen yogurt to consumers. Ice cream is typically sold as regular ice cream, gelato, and soft serve, which is usually dispensed by a machine with a limited number of flavors. It is customary for ice cream parlors to offer a number of flavors and items. Parlors often serve ice cream and other frozen desserts in cones or in dishes, to be eaten with a spoon. Some ice cream parlours prepare ice cream desserts such as sundaes or milkshakes.

Portland, Oregon City in Oregon, United States

Portland is the largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Oregon and the seat of Multnomah County. It is a major port in the Willamette Valley region of the Pacific Northwest, at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. As of 2017, Portland had an estimated population of 647,805, making it the 26th-largest city in the United States, and the second-most populous in the Pacific Northwest. Approximately 2.4 million people live in the Portland metropolitan statistical area (MSA), making it the 25th most populous MSA in the United States. Its Combined Statistical Area (CSA) ranks 18th-largest with a population of around 3.2 million. Approximately 60% of Oregon's population resides within the Portland metropolitan area.

Marriott Corporation was a hospitality company that operated from 1927 until 1993, founded by J. Willard Marriott and Frank Kimball as Hot Shoppes, Inc. in 1957, Marriott Corporation opened its first hotel in Arlington County, Virginia, United States as the Twin Bridges Motor Hotel. Marriott Corporation's first international property was opened in Acapulco, Mexico in 1969. Hot Shoppes became Marriott Corporation in 1967, which subsequently split into Marriott International, Inc. and Host Marriott Corporation in 1993.

Motivational speaker

While at Farrell's he developed a speech for new employees called Give 'em the Pickle!, based on a letter he received from a disappointed customer. He expanded this speech into a career as a speaker at motivational and employee-training events. In 2002, he put his Pickle speech to video, followed by The Leadership Pickles!


Farrell resided in Vancouver, WA until his death on August 14, 2015, and was active for decades in Young Life.

Young Life organization

Young Life is a parachurch ministry that is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The organization was started in Dallas, Texas in 1941 by Presbyterian minister Jim Rayburn. Young Life operates globally as several different organizations with different focuses.


In 1976 he received the Horatio Alger Award. [3]

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  1. "Ice cream parlour founder Bob Farrell dies at 87". The Orange County Register.
  2. "Robert 'Bob' Farrell, founder of popular chain of ice cream parlors, dies at 87". The Oregonian. 16 August 2015. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  3. 1 2 Robert E. Farrell Archived June 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine ., Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Inc. website, accessed May 5, 2010
  4. 1 2 "Who is Bob Farrell?". Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  5. "Avalanche hits ice cream sundae". The Telegraph. March 28, 1974. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  6. "The Farrell's Story". Farrell's USA. Archived from the original on 2013-05-30. Retrieved 2013-05-30.