My Encounter With

Pritchard Farley Collins 1944-2005
"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13)

Farley Collins was a searcher. A brilliant mind, he was unafraid of intellectual debate or exploration. I fondly remember long discussions about Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Sartre...and so much more. Farley was a man of faith but he was also a man of reason and questioning. His was not a hollow faith anymore than his inquiring spirit was anyway shallow. He didn't take himself seriously but he took his journey and search most seriously. His laughter came easily and he could reward you with his humor in the midst of even serious discussion. It is a rare man who leaves the world a better place than he found it. Farley was such a man.

The Old Library On The Campus Of Morehead State University...MSU is rated one of the best Southern universities today. When Farley and I attended it was in a growth spurt as it transitioned from a college in the mountains to a large university. It was the 60's and those, like Farley, who were serious about finding truth and meaning spent a lot of time reading and questioning. Farley and I would sometimes "cut" our scheduled classes to research in the library or drop into classes we found more relevant but were not registered to attend. It may not have been economically prudent but there were more pressing things on our minds. There was a controversial and disastrous war going on. The Civil Rights Movement contended for a nation's conscience and we were right in the middle of Appalachia with all of its needs and problems.

We majored in history. We studied about New Deals and Fair Deals. We debated the purpose and position of America from Pre Colombian times to the present and future. We looked at the past hoping to discern the future or at least come to grips with the present. For some, college was a kind of trade school that bought you entry into some part of the capitalist plan. For Farley it was a place to examine the weightier matters of life. It was a place to find out what you should believe and why you must believe it. It was a place to was rehearsal for life. There was really only one course of study. It could be summed up in such things as man's search for meaning. Victor Frankl wrote a book by that title and created a whole new approach to psychological counseling called Logotherapy. Jean Paul Sartre forever warned us of the importance of living in good faith. We discussed these things and we took them to heart. No, college was not a trade school. No course was an isolated exercise. When viewed as Farley viewed it, college was about learning and all learning and thought were spiritual...and life long duties.

The Old Auditorium At MSU...Farley (along with Ron Thomas) was one of the editors and driving forces behind Statement Magazine. It was a time and emotion consuming endeavor but it was truly an intellectual journal of the highest quality. Farley was not afraid of free speech and supported his writers and contributors even in the face of controversy. Statement Magazine has since been used as the title of the University's promotional magazine. In the 60's it was the center of intellectual expression on campus and in the region. Farley Collins was an intellectual force on campus. The quotation from Ecclesiastes is a passage we once discussed for its existential examination of life.
"To everything, turn, turn, turn
There is a season, turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

A time of war, a time of peace
A time of love, a time of hate
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time of peace, I swear it's not too late"

Ecclesiates as interpreted by Pete Seeger

Farley Collins From The MSU Yearbook '66...I knew Farley Collins in the 60's but we lost contact over the years as busy lives pulled us in different directions. He was a good man. Nations and worlds are built and sustained by people who rarely make it into the history books. When word reached me of his passing I realized that the world had lost a special person. I regret not having stayed in closer contact but our friendship rests now in pleasant memories.
"I am a truthful man
From the land of the palm trees
And before dying,
I want to share the poems of my soul
My poems are soft green,
My poems are also flaming crimson
My poems are like a wounded fawn
Seeking refuge in the forest
With the poor people of this earth
I want to share my fate
The streams of the mountains
Please me more than the sea"

From Guantanamera By Pete Seeger

Simply Called "The Lake" In The Old Days...This was one of the most beautiful spots on the MSU campus. I think they eventually named this Alumni Reservoir and may even have eventually named it after some politician. The Board Of Regents may think they own the property and I won't challenge that. I do know that God owns the beauty though and it is this beauty that I choose to name after my friend. For his friends and other loved ones, this tiny part of his beloved Appalachian Mountains will forever be known as Farley Collins View.
"Oh if a man tried
To take his time on earth
And prove before he died
What one man's life could be worth
I wonder what would happen to this world?"

Harry Chapin


For a better and more extensive presentation of the life of Farley Collins please visit THIS OBITUARY written by his sister Carol Collins Schroeder.

For a moving tribute to Farley Collins see OUR BELOVED "PECAN" by his nephew, Raymond Steven Ingool-Collins.

The Streams Of The Mountains Please Me More Than the Sea
My Encounter With Pritchard Farley Collins
© Copyright 2005 Bill Stockland
Except As Noted