HOLLY HILL -- Jeffrey Edward Farance, 67, a retired writer and editor who had worked at the Daytona Beach News-Journal for 18 years, was found deceased March 7 in his Twelfth Street home after friends asked police to conduct a wellness check.
Known throughout Florida for his incisive movie reviews, Jeff was a member of the Florida Film Critics Circle, formerly served on the board of the Cinematique art moviehouse and helped organize the Daytona Beach Film Festival. More than 300 of his mini-reviews can be found online at the RottenTomatoes.com cinema website.(Look for the "critics" tab and search under his name.)
Besides writing reviews, he wrote and edited many entertainment, travel and food articles for the newspaper’s feature sections. He also served as the paper’s wine columnist. Cathy Klasne, a longtime colleague who was the News-Journal’s food editor, rated him the best headline writer on the 14-member features team.
Mike L. Czeczot, one of Farance’s former supervisors, remembered Farance for his rebellious streak in the newsroom – “always ready with the quick one-liner retorts to senior management (mostly in whispers, but effective nonetheless), and always, always a great confidante. His writing was witty, often scathing, but fair.”
Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, Farance attended Case Western University and then transferred to Pennsylvania State’s Erie campus, where he received a degree in journalism in 1972. As a high school student, he wrote a column for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania. After college, his early career included 17 years at the Derrick newspaper in Oil City, Pa. His beats ranged from municipal governments to courts to food.
After visiting the Daytona area as a tourist, Jeff moved to Florida and began working at the News-Journal in 1990. He took a buyout in 2008 when the paper, under new management, began major staff cutbacks that eliminated many of its locally written lifestyle features.
His dry wit and self-effacing personality earned him a devoted following among Daytona’s movie buffs and restaurant patrons. He guest-lectured at many high schools, introducing students to the technical aspects of film production.
Jeff was a member and tireless volunteer at New Church Family. He kept a hand in film reviewing by penning occasional pieces for the church’s website and newsletter. He also encouraged church members to attend movies, plays and museum exhibits. He frequently attended and took part in film discussions at the Southeast Museum of Photography at Daytona State College. Helping with the editing of a church cookbook was one of his final projects.
Jeff also served as chairperson of the Volusia-Flagler Rainbow Alliance, a nonprofit scholarship provider for gay, lesbian and transgender youth. He represented both the church and the alliance at several GLBTQ pride festivals in Volusia County.
He was the son of H.W. Farance and Sara Louise (White) Farance of Conneautville, Pa. He is survived by a sister, Elaine, and her husband Paul Mattis of Poinciana, Florida, niece and great-niece, Ann Mattis and Sara Bilal of Westminster, Colorado and nephew Steven Mattis and his wife Kathryn Beaty of Munich, Germany. He also leaves behind his loyal feline friend, Sally Bowles.
Arrangements are being handled by the Dale Woodward Funeral Home in Holly Hill, and the McCauley Funeral Home in Pennsylvania. Interment of ashes will take place at the Conneautville Cemetery in Conneautville, Pa. A memorial will be held April 6 at 11 a.m. at New Church Family, 3520 W. International Speedway Blvd, (US 92), Daytona Beach. Friends are invited to share their photos and memories of Jeff. Memorial donations may be made to New Church Family or any humane society.