In 2017, Thomas F. Farrell II told The Times-Dispatch that he grew up with “duty, honor and country,” which is the motto of the U.S. Military Academy. The son of a military officer who attended West Point, Mr. Farrell lived those words.
Mr. Farrell, the longtime chairman, president and CEO of Dominion Energy, died Friday after battling cancer — tragically, one day after retiring as the company’s executive chairman. He was 66.
One of Virginia’s most powerful leaders, Mr. Farrell leaves an extraordinary legacy that spans a wide range of business, civic, charitable and cultural endeavors. He helped build the Richmond-based Fortune 500 utility into a $61 billion company. Under his leadership, Dominion donated more than $400 million to philanthropic causes.
“Over his years as chairman, Tom shaped the board in his image — strong and able with a keen eye on ethical behavior, diversity and inclusion, public and community service and innovation,” Robert H. Spilman Jr., Dominion’s lead director, said in a statement. “The commonwealth of Virginia has lost a kind soul who was abundantly generous to nonprofits supporting the arts and culture, education and critical community needs.”
Mr. Farrell left an indelible mark on downtown Richmond, helping to lead the renovations of the performing arts center that’s now known as the Dominion Energy Center as well as the Altria Theater.
He played a leading role in organizing the UCI Road World Championships bicycle races, an international event held in Richmond in 2015, serving as co-chair. Additionally, he served as rector and on the board of visitors of his alma mater, the University of Virginia, from which he earned his undergraduate and law degrees.
His other extensive board service included the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the Greater Washington Partnership, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Also, he was a leader of the GO Virginia initiative, which fosters regional cooperation in economic development, and served as non-executive chairman of Altria Group Inc., the Henrico County-based parent company of Philip Morris USA.
“It’s hard to think of an individual who has had a greater impact on the growth and success of our city in the 21st century more than Tom Farrell,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney told The Washington Post.
Mr. Farrell served his community well. As he told the RTD in 2017, “If we can help, we have a responsibility to help.” And he did, many times over. We extend our deepest sympathies to Mr. Farrell’s family.
— Pamela Stallsmith