John Senter Farrar died peacefully on September 23, 2019 at the home of his daughter Diane Farrar Boles in Waco, Texas. John was born on May 24, 1933 in Itawamba County, Mississippi. Family hardships suffered during the depression, however, caused John and his siblings, his mother, and his maternal grandparents to ultimately settle in Scott County, Missouri.
Although John was born hearing, he became deaf as a little boy due to an illness. He was then sent to attend school at Arkansas School for the Deaf (ASD) in Little Rock, Arkansas. At a tender young age, he frequently was placed on a Greyhound bus to attend school in Little Rock. He bravely made this journey alone, changing buses in Memphis, with nothing but a cardboard note tied around his neck providing his identification and destination. This act was to be one of his earliest displays of courage and fortitude that marked his character for the remainder of his life.
John graduated from ASD in 1954, serving as class president. He was also a member of the school’s basketball, football and baseball teams during his junior high and high school years. After graduation, John returned to Scott County, Missouri where he took his first job in the newspaper printing business. In 1956 he married Mary Jo Eftink, a beautiful deaf woman from Portageville, Missouri.
The couple moved to Memphis, Tennessee shortly after the birth of their first daughter where he began his lifetime career working for The Commercial Appeal. By the early 1960’s, John and Mary Jo completed their family with two more daughters.
John was a wonderful father to his 3 girls. In exchange for beauty shop sessions where he endured having his hair plastered to his head with bobby pins and barrettes, he taught his daughters to water ski, play ball, work with tools, and to generally be strong, rugged, and self-reliant. He was also a fatherly example of genuine faith in God, as he would occasionally wake his second-born daughter with his 3 A.M. mealtime prayers he prayed aloud upon returning home from work.
John retired from The Commercial Appeal in 1994, and he and Mary Jo moved to their dream cabin near Greers Ferry Lake in Arkansas that they, along with lifelong friend Don Brannan, helped build. Upon the death of Mary Jo in 2015, John moved to Waco, Texas to live with his firstborn daughter Diane. Over time, he was able to overcome the grief of losing his wife by finding new purpose and value as an assistant teacher to Diane in the college sign language classes she conducted. He was beloved by the students as well as many new friends he made in Waco.
In addition to his wife Mary Jo, John is pre-deceased by his parents William Edmond Farrar and Grace Lee Jackson; his brothers Edmond Dexter (Jimmy), Lawrence Earskin (Larry), and Winford Lowell; and by his sister Zana Caress Farrar Colevas. He is survived by his daughters Diane Farrar Boles, Doris “April” Farrar (Mrs. David) Guin of Birmingham, Alabama, and Debbie Farrar of Greers Ferry, Arkansas. Also left to treasure his memory are 6 grandchildren, namely Christy Boles (Mrs. Andrew) McAllister of Belfast, Ireland; Erin Boles (Mrs. Justin) Schwind of Fayetteville, NC; John C. Guin ( Laura) of Atlanta, GA: Kristen P. Guin of Washington, D.C..; Emily C. Guin of Boulder, CO; and Mary Grace Farrar of Little Rock, AR. John also leaves behind 4 great-grandchildren: Daniel T. McAllister, Michael C. McAllister, Grace Jane Guin, and Bexar Senter Schwind.
A visitation will be from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, September 27 at Grace Gardens Funeral Home in Waco, Texas. A memorial service will be Saturday, October 26 at Portageville Cemetery (weather permitting) at 10:30 a.m., Delisle Funeral Home Presiding. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Arkansas School for the Deaf in Little Rock, AR or Saint Eustachius Catholic Church in Portageville, MO.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Senter Farrar, please visit our floral store.