Press "Enter" to skip to content

Libertarian John Famularo passes away in Philadelphia

As reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

John Famularo, 70, a Libertarian force

By Sally A. Downey

Inquirer Staff Writer
John D. Famularo, 70, of Center City, a computer consultant and leader in the Libertarian Party, died of complications from multiple myeloma Monday at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Mr. Famularo was secretary of the National Libertarian Party and former treasurer of the Pennsylvania Libertarian Party. For more than 15 years he also chaired the Philadelphia Libertarian Party and ran for several state and city political offices on the Libertarian ticket. The party’s agenda calls for less government, lower taxes, and more emphasis on individual rights.

“John was always the smartest person in the room and was a great mentor and teacher,” said John Featherman, who ran for the Pennsylvania House and U.S. House as a Libertarian. Eventually, Featherman became a Republican, because candidates generally must belong to one of the two major parties to win, he said.

“John was disappointed when I switched, but he understood the pragmatics of politics,” Featherman said.

Mr. Famularo’s political campaigns included runs for the state House, for state treasurer twice, and for controller in Philadelphia. Though he knew he could not win, he believed having a Libertarian candidate brought up more issues for debate, Featherman said.

When Mr. Famularo ran for the state House in 1994, he told The Inquirer: “Government at all levels has increased far beyond its ability to return benefits to the taxpayer in any proportion to the taxes paid. The entire state and local budgets must be reevaluated in the light of our 21st-century world. We pay enough now for the best police and school systems. Why don’t we have them? Because the systems are mismanaged. First, because of ignorance, and secondly, because of patronage and politics.”

Mr. Famularo was generous with his talents, Featherman said.

“John was the person the Green Party and other third parties would go to when they wanted to learn the rules for getting on the ballot,” he said.

A native of West Oak Lane, Mr. Famularo graduated from La Salle College High School and studied chemistry at Villanova University.

He served as a Navy airman on flight crews detecting Soviet submarines during the Cold War.

He later served on ground crews in the Navy Reserve at Willow Grove Naval Air Station.

Mr. Famularo began his professional career as a chemist at Rohm & Haas before becoming a systems analyst for the company.

He later worked for Honeywell Corp., Standard Pressed Steel in Jenkintown, and the Trilog Group in Philadelphia.

In the late 1960s he cofounded General Data Systems, and in 1984 he founded a computer-consulting and design firm, Perseus Systems.

Mr. Famularo had been retired for several years, his brother Alex said.

“His passions were politics and computers,” his brother said.

Mr. Famularo is also survived by a nephew.


  1. Lois Kaneshiki Lois Kaneshiki January 26, 2011

    I learned so much from John, and wish he was still around to teach me more.

    I will miss him greatly.

  2. Mark Tuniewicz Mark Tuniewicz December 4, 2009

    I was fortunate enough to attend the service, mass, and sit with John’s family for a lovely lunch after we laid him to rest. We talked about his upbringing, growing up Catholic, looked at old photos, and all of the other things you might expect.

    While not involved since 2001, I expressed my appreciation for all of John’s efforts on behalf of the Party and the movement over the decades–in particular, his bringing to the attention of the Libertarian National Committee issues that ultimately became known as “the Willis matter” and that raised important issues of conflict of interest between the national office and the presidential campaign.

    John had plenty of detractors…perhaps some with reason….but I always respected him for taking a difficult, principled stand on this issue.

    Rest in Peace.

  3. I also mailed the veterans information to ‘hard to mail’ Libertarians to the national office with money for remailing.

    Hmmmmm, the last time I fronted funds to a Lib organization [Ed Tessler of Sandy Ego County. The guy who printed a veterans abuse / Citizens For A Better Veterans Home article in the local Lib news letter. Could not copy and mail such, as if it were rocket surgery. Had to hound him for my money]

    [and these guys do not have the patriotism to criticize lethal veterans programs and yet they want to do a better job than the &@$#&$% government ?????? The on going arrogance!]

    If any one in the alternative political movement wants to learn effective PR and out reach. Study San Diego County’s Richard Rider. Do the exact opposite. You’ll be fine!

  4. Darcy G Richardson Darcy G Richardson December 3, 2009

    Thanks for the address, Don.

    As Ralph Swanson said, John Famularo worked closely — and often tirelessly — with other political parties.

    This was not only true in 1988 when he maintained close ties to the now defunct Consumer Party, but also in the years subsequent to that.

    In the late 1990’s, for example, John organized Fair Election Watch to organize Election Day poll workers for Philadelphia’s minor parties. He came up with the idea shortly after John J. Featherman’s congressional campaign in 1998 — a race in which the colorful former local television correspondent officially netted 1,198 votes in Philadelphia’s first congressional district. Famularo was convinced that Featherman had actually received twice as many votes as the official count indicated, but lazy poll workers — representing the two major parties — couldn’t be bothered with an accurate count of the votes cast for minor candidates.

    He also moderated a mock debate that included John McDermott, the Constitutional Party’s candidate for mayor in 1999, and several candidates for other city offices from the Green, Libertarian and Reform parties.

    We might not always agree on the issues, he once said, but “there’s no reason why we can’t cooperate on those things that have nothing to do with ideology.”

    More than anything else, John was interested in “keeping the process as open as possible” and for that the third-party community is a lonelier place tonight.

  5. not a mailing address, not even a PMB or POB in sight! Ah courage and bravery in a brand new century! Here’s the best I could do for a sympathy card address. Sorry I could not do better, but then ……

    Patient John Famularo, RIP
    Jefferson Medical College:
    Office of Admissions
    1015 Walnut Street, Suite 110
    Philadelphia, PA 19107
    (215) 955-6983

  6. Did John have any thing to do with the Philadelphia state ment ????? Short, concise, to the point, powerful!

    “The Libertarian Party is founded on the Belief in Liberty. And the belief that Two Party Rule was slowly and surely making this country less of a Free Country and more of a Dictatorship of the Majority. That was true in 1971 when the party was founded, and unfortunately, more true today.
    Mission Statement

    The Libertarian Party is for fewer laws and lower taxes.
    The Libertarian party is for free enterprise and defending the Bill of Rights”

  7. Thomas L. Knapp Thomas L. Knapp December 3, 2009

    Not having heard from him in some time, I was excited to see John commenting at IPR recently. It’s saddening to learn that he’s no long with us.

  8. Ralph Swanson Ralph Swanson December 3, 2009

    John was great, and was one of the rapidly vanishing “old guard” on the board of advisors of the Libertarian International Organization. The last 2 years have seen many unwelcome deaths.

    He did a lot of unsung work in networking with other political groups and strategic ideas. He helped us isolate the best practices being used in Costa Rica LP and elsewhere. He had a lot of management savvy. Sadly, he had been battling one illness or another for some time. Though when I last spoke with him a while ago, he was still chipper.

  9. Dave Walter Dave Walter December 3, 2009

    John’s passing leaves a void in the LP ranks because John could always be counted on for sage advice, delivered in an intelligent manner and without the anger and accusations that sometimes accompany factional disputes.

    He was an instrumental managerial cog in helping NatCom to right the Party in 1989 and working with national director Nick Dunbar and the national staff to untangle and enhance the office data base systems. In 1996, he was one of the partners who staged the very successful Libertarian National Convention in Washington, DC that celebrated the Party’s 25th anniversary.

    Those who worked with John in the Philadelphia and Pennsylvania parties know what we have lost. His giant’s shoulders will be sorely missed.
    Thank you, John, for all the advice, work, and devotion to the Libertarian Party.

  10. Solomon Drek Solomon Drek December 3, 2009

    I met John Famularo several times, along with John Featherman, and corresponded with him as well. He was a class act and someone who I greatly respected.

    I’m sure he’ll be greatly missed by those who knew him alot better than I did.

  11. Darcy G Richardson Darcy G Richardson December 3, 2009

    This is really sad news. John was one of the good guys and — as John Featherman said — sharp as they come. As chair of the Philadelphia LP, he always demonstrated a great deal of solidarity with other third-party candidates in and around the City of Brotherly Love.

    I particularly remember him showing up at several press conferences for the late Eugene McCarthy, the Philadelphia-based Consumer Party’s candidate for President in 1988. We knew how busy John was and were surprised that he always made an effort to attend such events.

    He’ll be deeply missed.

  12. Michael H. Wilson Michael H. Wilson December 3, 2009

    John will be missed. Though I only knew him through email his comments always inspired me to think.
    Let’s hope that his new journey will be an adventure.

Comments are closed.