In Memory of Barbara Farr
Barbara Farr died from breast cancer peacefully in her Whispering Pines home Monday, October 26, 2015. She was 88.
Barb Farr, as most know her, was born Barbara Lee Storm on November 22, 1926. It was the “roaring 20s,” and times were good, but it wouldn’t last. Shortly before Barb’s 3rd birthday, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began.
Although Barb’s childhood was shaped by those lean years, her family may have survived better than some. Her home in Mt. Prospect Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, was rural at the time allowing the family to raise edibles like pheasant.
Barb attended Arlington High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Like many youths of that time, her life was forever changed with the declaration of war on December 8, 1941. As she wrote in her book A History of World War Two told in letters, stories of romance, and vintage photographs (available on Amazon on Kindle and paperback)…
“President Franklin Roosevelt avowed this would be a ‘day which will live in infamy.’ This momentous action was broadcast (live) to the nation on the radio. As a sophomore in high school, I remember well the entire student population of 500 being assembled in the gymnasium to hear the declaration. We sat quietly with fear and wonder of what the future held for the young people in that room.”
When the war ended, Barb married her wartime “pen pal” and returning soldier Bill Farr, who’s story as an artist is told at ArtByFarr.com/About-Bill-Farr. Bill Farr died on March 5, 2015.
In 1954, Barb gave birth to her only child and son, Jeffrey.
Although she was an outstanding mother and “homemaker” (she received a Homemaker Award in 1964), Barbara Farr’s aspirations were never limited to that. Quite to the contrary. Barb Farr was active in community development, politics, education, and business throughout her lifetime.
One of notable early achievements was helping to build the small, but growing Chicago suburb and home town of Wheeling, Illinois.
As a member of the Junior Women’s Club, she was instrumental in bringing a library, trees, a pool, and much more to the town. For those efforts, the national prize for best civic contribution was awarded. Barb and three other members were invited to Washington D.C. where they had lunch with Illinois Senator Paul Douglas.
From early childhood, Barb was an avid reader and learner. She always wanted to attend college but didn’t have the opportunity right out of high school. For Barbara, however, dreams delayed were never forgotten. In 1963, at the age of 37, she became the oldest freshman at Amundsen-Mayfair Junior College. Barbara finished her B.A. at Roosevelt College in Chicago in 1967 graduating with honors.
Not someone who did things “halfway” Barb continued her education at the University of Chicago (Circle Campus) receiving her PhD in History in 1976. She is the author of scholarly books and articles mostly related to British and European right wing political movements in the early 1900s.
In 1978 Barb had her own venture into politics when she was “drafted” to run for Cook County Commissioner. Running as Democrat in the solidly Republican Chicago suburbs, her election was a long shot. And she did lose. But she was also successful by coming closer to winning than any Democrat had previously. As the Daily Herald political editor Kurt Baer noted in an article four years later, “She is a living legend.”
Barb began a business career at Merrill Lynch Relocation in the late 1970s. Her service spanned most of the 1980s and she received many accolades for her service and leadership. Her career was also notable for breaking ground at a time when women were facing resistance to their upwardly mobile roles in business.
Her years in North Carolina began in 1991 with a move from Wheeling Illinois to Whispering Pines. She continued her community work through the League of Women voters serving as President and contributing significantly to research and reports on Poverty in Moore County and Children At Risk. Her work on a report on Fracking in North Carolina will be released in late 2015. She continued to work on this report until a few days before her death.
Barb will be remembered by all who knew her for unflappable spirit, her quest for excellence, and her desire to make her surrounding community a better place. She will be missed by many.
Barbara Farr is survived by her son Jeff, and his wife Pam.
As per her wishes, she will be cremated, with no memorial services.
Those who feel the need to make a memorial donation can do so on her behalf to the League of Women Voters of Moore County or a reputable charity engaged in the fight against breast cancer.