Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Grandpa Farmer, 1929 - 2008

This post was a long time in the making, but a life's journey of pictures and information isn't easy to compile! My favorite memories of Grandpa always include his enthusiasm and zest. For instance, whenever Grandpa was in a car and went under an overpass or through a tunnel, he would always honk his horn to my great delight! When Grandpa got sick with Parkinson's, his mind eventually turned off, but I will always remember my last conversation with him. During that conversation, Grandpa said to me, "Sarah, what's really important in life is integrity." And I think Grandpa's life spoke to that ideal very well.

Ross Jeffrey Farmer was born on April 2, 1929 in Moore, Montana, the son of Abraham Jeffrey Farmer and Ida Larson Farmer; and the younger brother of Raymond, and Idamae, who was his half sister. His father was a millwright, and his mother was a teacher.

The family moved from Montana to settle in south Minneapolis when Ray and Ross were babies. During high school, Ross enjoyed playing football for the "Roosevelt Teddies;" became an Eagle Scout; was involved with assorted YMCA activities; was a counselor at Camp Warren in northern Minnesota; and in January of 1947 was elected president of his class. He went on to the University of Minnesota where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a Master's degree in Public Administration. Ross met Elizabeth at school and married her in December of 1951.

Immediately after graduation, in June of 1951, Ross joined the Air Force and commenced his two-year commitment. In the autumn of 1952, Ross went to Officer Candidate School in San Antonio, TX. He was stationed in Valdosta, GA, as a lieutenant and he left the Air Force in the summer of 1953 and joined the Air Force Reserve where he eventually earned his final title of "Major."

Ross and Elizabeth started their family in the spring of 1953, while still in Georgia. Soon after Ross was discharged from the Air Force, he and Elizabeth moved their family back to the Twin Cities in Minnesota, where they would eventually raise five children. Ross began his career in insurance, and was an actuary for Mutual Service Insurance Company for most of his professional life. During his young adult years, Ross and his family became faithful members of the Hennepin Avenue Methodist Church in Minneapolis.

After raising his family, Ross traveled to Botswana in the 1980s to conduct an insurance study for AID (US Agency for International Development). His travels to Africa extended via South America where he took an especially memorable trip to Macchu Picchu.

In 1992 Ross and Elizabeth joined Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, where they received the sacrament of baptism and became grateful partakers of the rich gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the joyful fellowship of King's Friends (their class of senior prayer warriors).

At sixty-six years of age, Ross was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease at the Struther's Clinic and received care from his daughter Joanne for many years in Minneapolis. The last eleven months of Ross's life were spent at Bentley Farm with his daughter Janet's family in upstate New York.

Many family members stood by Ross's side on September 1, 2008 when his breathing slowed and his color began to fade. He surrendered his spirit peacefully and now knows the true mystery of Christ's victory that has overcome death. "'Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:55-56

Ross left behind a large and thankful family:

Wife - Elizabeth Merrill Farmer

Children, Spouses and Grandchildren -

Jeffrey Ross Farmer m. Marilyn Mauren
Rita Mauren Farmer m. Andrew Brantingham
Anthony Mauren Farmer

Mark Raymond Farmer

Scott Merrill Farmer m. Kamila Agayeva Farmer
Elizabeth Nanash Farmer
Yusif Afrayil Farmer

Janet Farmer Angell m. Thomas Nathaniel Newlin Angell
Sarah Elizabeth Angell
Isaac Merrill Angell
Nathaniel Newlin Angell
Luke Sewell Angell
Hannah Grace Angell
Jacob Elliott Angell
Rebecca Faith Angell
Caleb Henley Angell

Joanne Farmer Hager m. Michael Hager
Benjamin Ross Burton
Katherine Elizabeth Burton
Amelia Juliet Hager

The pictures below are accompanied by notes of explanation. Leave your mouse over the "Notes" section below to see the text that explains the pictures.