The Heroines

Janice Sue Farmer

is honored with a Brick from Julie Farmer Allred, Michael Suzanne Farmer, and Terri Farmer Reece.

 Janice Sue Farmer Picture (left to right): Julie Farmer, Terri Ballard, Mike Farmer & Jan Farmer in front of the Sacred Way leading through the Roman Forum.

We wish to honor our mother, Jan Farmer, who, by her example, has taught us about love, responsibility, generosity, appreciation of others, and the importance of family. We feel she truly embodies the words of Dorothy Canfield Fisher, "A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary."

Born in Madison, Kansas, on June 8, 1940, she was part of a large and very poor family. She determined that her life would be better and started by graduating from business college. For the next several years she moved along the West Coast with her husband until their divorce prompted her to return to Kansas, with her three daughters, to be nearer to her family.

Without any financial support she set out to try to provide for us, sometimes wondering where the money would come from to pay bills or buy food. Though we did not recognize it at the time, she was showing us how to stand on our own, how to be strong women, and that we were responsible for our own well-being. She would not allow us to take any public assistance, though we would have easily qualified for it, for she always felt there were other people worse off than us who would need it more. If we needed something done around our home she would try to figure out how to do it. Bookshelves? She built them herself.

Even now she still tries to help those she perceives to be of greater need. How many times have we seen her pick up something extra at a grocery or department store because "so-and-so could use this." These people might include missionaries serving in foreign countries, boys at the Martin House, or her own daughters. Whomever she believes to be in need. She always seems to have so many projects going on in her life and so much of it is for the benefit of others.

When her finances finally allowed she took her first overseas trip to Israel, a country she had wanted to see and be able to put a face to all those places she had read about in her Bible. Her experience moved her to take each of us on future trips and by doing so, opened us up to different cultures and instilled in us a love of travel. She felt that we should see the world when we were still young enough to climb the mountains and not just ride the buses. The memories of the places we have seen together and the things we have done have created a mental scrapbook that will last throughout our lifetimes.

Looking back we cannot remember a time that our mother did not support our goals and ideas. She would say "I may not always agree with what you three girls do, but I will always support your decisions." None was made to feel inferior to the achievements of another and she would point out to each of us our strengths. We never felt that we were a disappointment to her or that we could have done better. All she ever wanted was for each of us to be happy at whatever we decided to do. Her loving support was also there when we suffered through our disappointments. She was there to console us, listen to us, and even just to hold us while we cried.

We are so very thankful to have such a wonderful woman in our lives.

A woman who has watched over us, nurtured us, taught us, and touched the lives of so many people. Among ourselves we have often remarked that if we were even half as giving and generous as our mother, then we would consider ourselves truly successful.

November 2, 1998