John Faris

John Crockett Faris, 82, of Glendale, passed away Dec. 24, 2016.  He was born Sept. 16, 1934, in St. Louis, Mo., to John Claire Faris and Helen Hart Faris. His father owned a small restaurant in a medical office, and his mother was a musician, teaching voice, piano and organ. 

After graduating from Maplewood-Richmond Heights H.S. (1952) in Maplewood, Mo., John entered Oklahoma Baptist University and married his first wife Cleta. Their son, Craig, was born, and soon after Mr. Faris graduated with a BME (voice) in 1957. They moved to Phoenix after Mr. Faris became an elementary music teacher at Tolleson Elementary, then moved to Tolleson H.S. as band director, and eventually, on to Agua Fria H.S. in 1965, teaching band, handbells, and choir. 

While still teaching H.S. music, Mr. Faris taught handbells at Phoenix College, retired from H.S. music in 1990, and also taught the Monday Night Band at Phoenix College. In 1964, he got his Master of Arts in Education (music) Degree. He was in the Naval Reserves. 

Throughout his career in education, he also served as music minister at various churches in the Valley, including First Baptist Church of Phoenix and Lakeview United Methodist Church in Sun City. Serving his community was important to Mr. Faris, as he held many positions for the Billy Moore Days Parade in Avondale, creator of the City of Tolleson City Seal, conductor of the CAS-illons community choir in Avondale, member of the Tolleson Lions Club, the Tolleson Community Boosters, the Phoenix Youth Symphony, the Fiesta Bowl National Pageant of Bands from 1974 to 1976, conductor of the Glendale Summer Band, and most recently in the Glendale Rotary Club, serving as president from 2013 to 2014. 

As music educator, Mr. Faris received many awards, such as 1972 Music Educator of the Year, Distinguished Service Award from the Az Music Ed. Association, and the Ring of Fame Award from the AGEHR, Area XI (handbells). While at Agua Fria H.S. he started the first high school handbell choir in Arizona. In 2016, he was awarded the Glendale Summer Band Music Director Emeritus Award from Glendale Mayor Jerry P. Weiers, and the Matt O. Hanhila Inspirational Educator Award from Glendale Rotary Club.

While serving as choir director at Lakeview United Methodist Church, he met Dana, a substitute organist, and they married in 1983. This was an amazing man, having served his community selflessly and always was an inspiration to those who worked with him. He will be missed in so many ways. 

He leaves behind his wife, Dana; his son, Craig (Cecelia); his daughter, Susan Faris; his grandchildren, Janelle Wojahn (Eric), Jonathan Faris, Matthew Compton, Crystal Compton, Kristin Butler (Fred), Mitchell Compton, Becci Gross (Jacob); and 11 great-grandchildren. 

Visitation will be 4 p.m. Jan. 2, at Chapel of the Chimes, 7924 N. 59th Ave, Glendale. Funeral will be 10 a.m. Jan. 3 at First United Methodist Church of Glendale, 7102 N. 58th Drive, Glendale, AZ 85301. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Glendale Rotary Club, P.O. Box 987, Glendale, AZ 85311, or to the charity of your choice. If you would like to write a personal message about Mr. Faris, go to for condolences.