Meet the Parents

Joan Bridge Baez
Joan Bridge was born April 11, 1913, in Edinburgh, Scotland, the second daughter of an Episcopal minister. The family moved to Canada when she was a child, and continued moving throughout the United States. Joan met Albert Baez at a dance at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Their first daughter, Pauline, was born in New Jersey, their second, Joan, on Staten Island in New York City, and their third, Mimi, in Palo Alto, California. When their daughter Joan became famous, Mrs. Baez referred to herself as "Big Joan" to avoid confusion. Big Joan, however, managed to make the news in her own right: in 1967 she was arrested for attempting to block entrance to the Oakland Army Induction Center in an effort to protest the draft and the Vietnam War. Big Joan and Albert separated in 1977, and in the 1980s Big Joan began writing a series of short books about her varied experiences, including her humanitarian efforts and anti-war activism. She died on April 20, 2013, at the age of 100. Her books are:

  • One Bowl of Porridge: Memoirs of Somalia.
    John Daniel & Co., 1986.
  • A Year in Baghdad. (Co-written with Albert Baez)
    John Daniel & Co., 1988.
  • Inside Santa Rita: The Prison Memoir of a War Protester.
    John Daniel & Co., 1994.
  • My Childhood: As I Remember It.
    Terrace Press, Palo Alto, 1996.
Albert Vinicio Baez
Albert Baez was born in Puebla, Mexico, November 15, 1912. His father had left the Catholic faith to become a Methodist minister and moved to the U.S. when Albert was two. Albert grew up in Brooklyn and considered becoming a minister as well before he turned to mathematics and physics. He met Joan Bridge while he was still in high school. After they were married Albert and Joan moved to California, where he studied for a master's degree in mathematics and a doctorate in physics. As the cold war arose in the 1950s, Albert saw many of his colleagues pursue lucrative careers in the arms race. He finally decided to devote his career to education rather than destruction, and worked with Unesco. His work took him around the world, and he lived in Baghdad, Paris, and Africa. He also served as president of Vivamos Mejor, an organization dedicated to improving quality of life in Mexico through education and community development. He endowed an award, The Hispanic Engineer Albert Baez Award, which is given for Outstanding Technical Contribution to Humanity. He died on March 20, 2007, at the age of 94.

Theresa Crozier Farina
Theresa Crozier, called Tessie by her family, was born July 16, 1911, in Moortown, a fishing village in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. She and her sister Lizzie, the oldest children in a large family, moved to the United States in 1929. Tessie was working in a sandwich shop in New York when she met Ricardo Farina, and they were married in Manhattan in 1934, but they divorced sometime in the 1950s. Tessie then moved to Rhode Island and married Henry Sullivan. In the early 1970s they moved to Northern Ireland. However, terrorist activity, and a bomb explosion outside her house, impelled them to move back to the States. Tessie died in May of 1986 and is buried in West Nyack. Her gravestone reads, "Mother of Richard Fariña." It is rumored that during his college years Richard started a novel based on his family history in Northern Ireland.

Liborio Ricardo Fariñas
Born February 7, 1907, Ricardo grew up in Matanzas, Cuba, the twenty-third of twenty-four children according to one source, or one of eighteen children according to Hajdu. In 1925, at the age of eighteen, he ran into trouble while trying to form a union, and he fled the country, an incident which his son would later fictionalize for his short story "The Passing of Various Lives." In the U.S. he Americanized his name to Richard Farina, dropping the tilde and the final "s". Mr. Farina settled in Flatbush, a middle-classed neighborhood in the center of Brooklyn. He found work as a machine builder, and married Tessie Crozier. After they divorced in the fifties, he married a woman named Lillian and moved to Gerritsen Beach, a quiet, Irish Catholic, cottage-style community in the southeast of Brooklyn. Commenting on his relationship with his son, he said, "I think we had the same character--the same drive. I told him, when you want something, don't stop until you get what you're going after. Be very dedicated to whatever you do." Mr. Farina loved to talk about his son and meet his fans. He would give slideshows and boast of his son's prodigious achievements. Mr. Farina died on August 24, 2001, at age 94, only a few months after the publication of Positively 4th Street.


Mr. Farina with his cousin, Tony Fariñas (left), and Mimi (right) in New York City in the 1980s.
© Tony Fariñas, used with permission.

Mr. Farina with his second wife, Lillian.
© Will Flanagan, used with permission.

Dick Farina at age 17 with his mother, Tessie.
© Joe Crozier, used with permission.

The Baez family with Richard Fariña.
Top row: Joan Senior, Albert, Joan Junior.
Bottom: Pauline Marden, Nick Marden, Mimi, Richard.
© Thomas McKean, used with permission.

Big Joan, Joan and Mimi are released from Santa Rita Prison October 27, 1967, after serving ten-day sentences for protesting the draft at an Army Induction Center. Left to right: Albert Baez, Joan Baez Jr., Pauline Marden, unidentified woman, Joan Bridge Baez, Mimi Fariña.
From Joan Jr.'s autobiography, And a Voice to Sing With, Summit Books, 1987.

Article from Washington Post, Oct. 27, 1967, p. A3.
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