The man known around New England as the “Wolfman” at Clark’s Trading Post in Lincoln, New Hampshire, has died at the age of 60.
William “Bill” Farrand, of Lincoln, passed away Monday after a “lengthy illness,” according to his obituary.
Clark’s Trading Post described Farrand, who took on the role of the Wolfman at the New England attraction’s White Mountain Central Railroad in 1993, as a “kind, gentle soul.” The staff wrote that he was a “quick study” with his bushy-bearded portrayal of the character, who chased after visitors on the railroad in order to protect his “Unobtanium mine,” yelling about trespassing “pigeon lickin’, city slickin’ hodags.”
“By 1994 he was entertaining guests at Clark’s as though he was born for the job,” staff of the family theme park wrote. “Bill was the Wolfman 24/7/365. In fact we are sure that in heaven Wolfman Bill is still chasing trains.”
Farrand’s battle with lung disease forced him to retire 10 years ago as Wolfman, according to The Concord Monitor.
“For fourteen years he rode his crazy car protecting his [‘Unobtanium’] mine as thousands of children screamed ‘Scram you old Goat,’” his loved ones wrote in his obituary. “Many people have played the part of Wolfman at [Clark’s], but Bill lived the part! He loved children and loved to entertain them. His kindness touched many hearts.”
Maureen Clark, whose grandparents started the Trading Post in 1928 and who works there as a bear trainer, told Boston.com that over the years there have been more than 30 different wolfmen, but Farrand was the favorite.
“We all loved Bill,” she said. “He was just so sweet. It’s hard to describe a man as being sweet and innocent, but he was just a wonderful soul. He was a sweet person.”
Though he never had children of his own, Clark said Farrand spoke of wanting to have “a million kids.”
“In the end, he basically had New England’s children, who loved to see him and looked up to him,” she said.
Her cousin, David Clark, met Farrand in 1993 at a KOA campground in Woodstock, where the 60-year-old had been working as a groundskeeper.
“After talking to Bill for just a short time, he realized that he would be an ideal Wolfman,” Clark said.
At the end of most days, Farrand did a meet-and-greet as the Wolfman where he would sign autographs with an “X” and take photos with kids. The gatherings became so popular, Clark said they had to be moved to the parking lot outside of the park’s grounds.
Otherwise, she said, they “never could get people to leave.”
When speaking with kids, the 60-year-old’s voice would “go up an octave” as part of his effort not to scare the children when they approached him.
“He did not want anyone to be frightened,” Clark said. “He just wanted them to have fun.”
When the park held auditions for a new Wolfman last year, Clark said a video with clips of Farrand was shown to hopeful applicants as “Wolfman 101.”
“He’s the measuring stick by which the other wolfmen are measured,” she said.
Farrand’s portrayal of the curmudgeonly recluse was recalled lovingly by dozens of people online as the highlight of many a childhood visit to the park.
“You will forever be one of my most fond memories as a child, and you will forever live on, inside the hearts, of every person you’ve touched, and every person who’s visited Clark’s,” one woman wrote on Farrand’s tribute wall. “You were an amazing and kind soul, and I’m so thankful for all the entertainment, and hysterical memories you’ve left behind with me. Keep on chasing those trains.. ‘Wooohoooo’ to you.”
Deb Ford said Farrand, who came into the grocery store where she worked almost every day, was kind to everyone. She said her children considered him “their Wolfman.”
“We saw him one day in a parking lot of a store,” she wrote. “He saw me and came over to say ‘hi’ and we chatted for a while. My kids were awestruck because ‘the Wolfman knows your name, Mom!’ There will never be another Wolfman quite like Bill and he will live on in the memories of thousands of people.”
“‘Wolfman’ you gave our family many memories for sure,” Iris Mattia wrote. “You became a part of our family tradition every August while our 3 boys were young. Of course you scared the bejesus out of them, which was hysterical. Thank you for being so fun.”
His health didn’t allow him to continue working at the Trading Post, but he never stopped being the Wolfman, Clark said.
Farrand howled from his hospital bed for a visitor on Saturday, just a few days before he passed, Clark said.
“He’s still the Wolfman up in heaven, I just know it,” she said.
Read the obituary for Farrand, shared by Fournier-Hale Funeral Home, below:
William Michael Farrand of Lincoln, NH died on Monday April 2 after a lengthy illness- age 60
Bill was a truly unique person whose challenges in life started at birth. He never let those challenges stop him from pursuing the things he loved in life. He was a fiercely independent man who loved nature and the outdoors. His family and friends were extremely important to him. He was a very kind man who believed in the goodness of everyone.
He found his true calling the day he was hired to become the Wolfman at Clarks Trading Post in Lincoln, NH. For fourteen years he rode his crazy car protecting his” Unatanium” mine as thousands of children screamed “Scram you old Goat”. Many people have played the part of Wolfman at Clarks, but Bill lived the part! He loved children and loved to entertain them. His kindness touched many hearts. He will be remembered by generations of families who enjoyed his performances. To this day, many years after his retirement, families still take the time to write to him and pass on their good wishes.
The Clark family became his adopted family and showered him with love and kindness.
Bill’s family will be forever grateful to them for embracing him, protecting him and loving him for who he was. Cathy Cook of Lincoln Green became his second Mother and always looked out for him. He loved her and always looked forward to seeing her.
As his lung disease progressed every breath became precious never knowing if there would be a next one he struggled to get through every day. Despite the challenges he was always kind, pleasant and cheerful to all. In his declining years he found great comfort in the Bible. His faith gave him the strength to move on and fight the disease until the end.
He is survived by his brother Richard Farrand and his wife Patricia Farrand of Wilmington, NC, his brother Frederick Farrand and his wife Deborah Farrand of Westford, Ma, his brother Thomas Farrand and his wife Sheriley Farrand of Bradford, Ma., his brother David Farrand and his wife Lise Farrand of Hooksett, NH, his sister Elizabeth Reilly and her husband Thomas Reilly of Roanoke, Va. and his sister Judy Lavalliere of Bradenton, Fla. He is also survived by 14 nieces and nephews and 4 great nieces and nephews.
Calling hours will be held Sunday April 8, 2018 at Fournier-Hale Funeral Home, 144 Main St., North Woodstock, NH from 2-5, with a memorial service at 5:00.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Loon Mountain Ministry in his name www.loonmtnministry.com