Dr. Kathryn Noel Farrow


Dr. Kathryn Noel Farrow, 46, physician, scientist, wife, mother, and mentor, died peacefully on February 7, 2018, following a three-year battle with cancer.

Kathy was the valedictorian of Kilgore High School in 1988. She studied chemistry at The Colorado College, received her MD and PhD degrees at the University of Colorado, Denver, and did her pediatric training at SUNY Stony Brook in New York. Dr. Farrow finished a fellowship in neonatal-perinatal medicine at The Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and joined the faculty of Northwestern University in 2005, rising rapidly through the academic ranks to Professor of Pediatrics in 2017.

Dr. Farrow knew all life was precious and worth fighting for, and her life was anchored on her love of family and work. Her medical practice at Lurie Children’s Hospital and Prentice Women’s Hospital focused on intensive care for premature babies, the tiniest and most vulnerable of people. She treated every baby, no matter how small, as a special individual, and she spent just as much time supporting and teaching their parents.

With that same dedication, Dr. Farrow cherished every moment of her role as wife and mother to three beautiful young children, Daniel, Maggie, and Liam.

Kathy’s work, funded by the National Institutes of Health for more than 10 years, included a rethinking of how oxygen is used to support neonatal respiratory failure. Her advances were recognized through many awards, including a Young Investigator Award from the American Heart Association, the Richard D. Rowe Young Investigator Award from the Society for Pediatric Research, and election to the American Pediatric Society, the highest honor society for pediatricians. Dr. Farrow’s own scientific contributions were greatly amplified by her passionate mentorship. One of her greatest legacies is her numerous trainees and young physicians who have launched their successful medical and scientific careers.

Kathy is survived by her wife, Rachel Hegarty; her children, Daniel, Maggie, and Liam; her mother, Joyce; her brother, Andrew. She is preceded in death by her father, Stephen, and son Stephen James.

A memorial service will be held at St. James Cathedral, 65 E Huron, in Chicago, Illinois, on Saturday, February 17 at 11 a.m., with a reception to follow. No flowers please -- Kathy’s strong preference would be a donation to the Jackson Chance Fund (, which supports families while their baby is in neonatal intensive care.

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