CHICAGO — Mark Farina, a longtime PA announcer known for calling Chicago Public Schools sports, died this week. He was 61.
Farina died Monday morning from complications of COVID-19 after being hospitalized, according to his loved ones and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Farina called Chicago Public League football, basketball and baseball championships. He also owned a communications company and was a published author.
David Rosengard, executive director of sports administration at CPS, called Farina “the voice of some of our most historic Chicago Public League moments for decades.”
“He was a tremendous advocate for our student-athletes and programs and always proudly represented the league and Chicago Public Schools at any chance he could,” Rosengard said in a statement. “His encyclopedic knowledge of Chicago Public League sports was truly incredible, and his stories told at many games over the mic or to any community members became the soundtrack of Saturdays at many events at his alma mater Steinmetz and Lane Stadium.”
Dominic Scianna, a CPS communications specialist, was friends with Farina for about 40 years. They met at Columbia College while Farina was at the radio station and Scianna was at the school newspaper.
“He had this big, booming voice,” Scianna said. “When he was in a room, he just commanded the room.
“He was a comedian. I always said he should have been a comedian, too, because he was always making people laugh. And he always kept everybody in good spirits.”
Lane Tech’s athletic director Nick LoGalbo knew Farina as a colleague and as a friend. He said Farina loved calling the games, giving the athletes and the fans a full experience.
“He was always so prepared. He emailed every week before the game because he wanted the stats. Whether it was a senior night or a special game, he always went above and beyond,” LoGalbo said.
Farina spent a lot of time making high school sports a full experience for the student athletes, LoGalbo said.
“He made sure that every student playing the games he was calling felt special,” he said.
Farina is survived by his wife and his son. They could not immediately be reached for comment.
Colleagues and friends all over social media agreed that, despite his commitment to work, Farina was, first of all, “a family man.”
“He was great father to his son and he was a great husband,” Scianna said. “He travelled with his son all over the country.”
Farina’s wife and son have arranged for donations in Farina’s name to go to the Kiwanis/AKTION Club, a service for adults with disabilities. Information on how to donate can be found here.
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