MONTICELLO – Elwood J. Farmer, better known as Woody, died at 12:35 Oct. 27, 2015, at Aspen Creek in Monticello at the age of 91.
Woody was born April 10, 1924, in Attica, Ind., the only child of Cecil Elwood Farmer and Beulah Ware Farmer. He was preceded in death by his wife and loving golf companion, Emily L. Farmer, and by his first wife, Betty Firebaugh James, the mother of his only child, Bonnie Farrar-Dunbar who lives with her husband, Frank Dunbar, in Aptos, Calif. Also surviving are his devoted secretary for many years and a very important part of his family, Sally Kraish, of Danville; his niece, Sona Morrissey of Danville; and his nephew, Jim Firebaugh (Sandy) of Indianapolis.
His legacy includes granddaughter, Erin Farrar (David Harrah), and great-granddaughters, Kaia and Raven; grandson, Jacob Farrar (Jillian), and great-grandsons, Enzo and Bruce; granddaughter, Loren Farrar(Ryan Land), and great-granddaughters, twins Aviana and Noelle; granddaughter, Sarah Kenar (Erdal); granddaughter, Suzanne Tufano (Jay), and great-grandsons, Jamison and twins Charlie, and Finn, all of California; grandson, Mike Garfield (Keri), and great-grandchildren, Caleb and Allysin of Danville; and grandson, J.D. Garfield of Bloomington.
Woody was a long-time resident of Danville, attending Cannon Grade School and graduating from Danville High School, where he was actively involved in the choral music program under the direction of Miss Pansy Legg and Miss Helen Wolfe. In his youth, he sang on various radio programs, including NBC, WDAN, WLS and WDZ, first as a boy soprano, then as a tenor. For many years, his voice continued to bring joy to all who knew him. Later, as a member of St. James Church, he was active in the choir and a featured soloist.
In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, serving during World War II as a naval aviator and instructor, which he felt was always one of his proudest accomplishments. Upon returning from service, he enrolled at the University of Illinois and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business administration.
In 1948, he became affiliated with Mass Mutual Life Insurance Co. and worked part time until 2008. He was always dedicated to his clients, hoping to provide them with the best possible service. In the course of his career he was honored by being named to the Inner Circle, Leaders Club, and was named Agent of the Month in March 1977. In addition, he was a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table and was a Chartered Life Underwriter.
In the community, Woody was the first president of the Danville High Booster Club, past president of Kiwanis, past board member of and secretary-treasurer of the YMCA (which he continued to remember as being instrumental in his life as a boy growing up in Danville), past president of the Danville Association of Life Underwriters, member of Danville Elks Lodge 332, member and past board member of the Danville Country Club, member and board member of the Jaycees, member of American Legion Post 210, member of University of Illinois Alumni Association, and a member of Olive Branch Lodge No. 38 of Scottish Rite.
Anyone who knew Woody will remember his passion for golf. He fondly reminisced winning the Danville Country Club Husband-Wife Tournament with his wife Emily, his first hole-in-one in 1999 on the 15th hole at Danville Country Club, and playing Pebble Beach in Carmel, Calif., and attending four of the U.S Open Tournaments played there. Most important was the great camaraderie shared with lifelong friends of the Thursday and Saturday men's groups. Unfortunately, the loss of his hearing in the winter of 2004 deeply changed his life playing golf, but more importantly, his ability to fully communicate with the family and friends he loved so dearly. Although his hearing was gone, he never lost the love, pride and gratitude he had for his family, friends and the good life the community of Danville gave him. He will be sorely missed.
Funeral services will be at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 13, 2015, at Sunset Funeral Home in Danville. A private family service with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be held in Aptos, Calif.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, memorial contributions may be made to the Danville YMCA or the Danville Public Schools Foundation.