EDITH W. FARNHAM
1920 ~ 2018
Edith May Farnham, 98, of Traverse City, passed away Monday, May 21, 2018 at the Willows Cottage with her loving family at her side.
Edith was born in Belle Plaine, Iowa, on May 12, 1920 the daughter of Christian and Mary (Carlsen) Jensen.
Edith attended 1st grade in Hartley, IA, until the family moved to Sutherland, IA, where Edith graduate from high school in 1937. After staying home for one year to help in the family home, she attended Morningside College Conservatory of Music in Sioux City, IA, for two years. She then transferred to the Lawrence College Conservatory of Music in Appleton, WI, where she received her Bachelor of Public Schools Music degree in 1942.
Edith enjoyed teaching vocal and instrumental music in the public school and directing community summer band concerts in Belmond, IA. It was there that she met and married Leland Lieuwen in 1944. Though they were farming she was able to continue teaching part time in neighboring schools for a number of years. They also spent a couple of years farming at Corwith, IA.
They left Corwith and moved to Kirksville, MO, to assist family members in the operation of the Mitchell Dairy Company following the accidental death of Edith’s older brother. While Leland was in the service during WWII, Edith helped on the family farm driving the tractors, cultivating corn and soybeans. When Leland returned from service, they continued farming in Corwith. While living in Corwith, Edith took flying lessons and earned her pilots license in 1954. Due to irresolvable differences the couple divorced in 1955.
Edith worked in Nebraska for a few months and then moved to Hammond, IN, where she had accepted a contract teaching vocal music in the city schools. Edith was thrilled to live in the Chicago area. Here she and her friends enjoyed attending operas, symphonies, plays, musical productions, and concerts of all kinds.
In 1960 Edith married Dr. Edward Watson and moved to Lexington, NE, where his medical practice was located. A year later, Edith’s prayers were answered when they were given the opportunity to adopt a baby girl, Mary Jane. They lived in Lexington until 1967 when they moved to Seward, AK.
In Seward she was an organist for the Resurrection Lutheran Church. Edith directed the community choirs and helped with other musical productions. The family fell in love with Alaska and were sad when they had to move back to the states in 1972, due to Ed’s failing health. They made their home in Hastings, NE, near Ed’s parents. Edith was able to continue teaching music in the public and district schools in Hastings. It was here that Ed died in 1978.
On June 1, 1985 she married F. William Farnham and they decided to make Hastings their home. She was kept very active with volunteer work, something she always said filled her retirement years with much happiness. Her family also brought much joy to her life, her loving daughter, and loving stepchildren.
Edith was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Hastings where she was an ordained deacon. She was honored by the Presbyterian women for her volunteer work in the church as well as the community. Other organizations to which Edith belonged include Kappa Delta Sigma Iota International Music Fraternity for Women, Eastern Star, Shrine Hospital Auxiliary, Daughters of the Nile, PEO Chapter EM. She was also an associate member of the Suttons Bay Congregational Church. Edith moved to Suttons Bay, MI to be near family in 2004 following Bill’s death. Like many previous places that she lived, Edith quickly made friends with the SB Congregational and PEO families. She was a school grandmother extraordinaire attending her grandchildren’s various school events.
Edith is survived by her daughter, Mary J. Hartman; stepsons, Ted (Emma) Watson and Ed (Katie) Watson Jr.; a sister, Maryellen Dietz; a brother, James Jensen; six grandchildren, Matthew, Ryan, and Sarah Hartman, Geoffrey, Ann, and Ted Watson Jr.; two great-grandchildren, Adeline and Virginia Watson; and many loving nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Edward Watson; her husband, Bill Farnham; two brothers, Herluf and Norman Jensen; a sister, Anna Jordan; a grandson, Aaron Watson; and brother-in-law, Robert Dietz.
Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 31 at the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay. The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 1 at the Suttons Bay Congregational Church. Rev. Dr. Robin Long will officiate. Burial will be in Parkview Cemetery, Hastings, NE. A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 16 at Livingston-Butler-Volland Funeral Home. Rev. Damen Heitmann will be presiding.
Memorials may be directed to Suttons Bay Congregational Church, PO Box 70, Suttons Bay, MI 49682 and/or Grand Traverse Pavilions Resident’s Fund, 1000 Pavilions Circle Dr., Traverse City, Mi 49684 and/or Munson Hospice c/o Munson Healthcare Regional Foundation, 1150 Medical Campus Dr., Traverse City, MI 49684.
Please share thoughts and memories with Edith’s family at www.martinson.info.
Arrangements are with the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay.