Dorothy Anne Wright Farris

Published 4:14 pm Monday, December 26, 2016


Proverbs 31:28-30 (KJV)

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28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

Dorothy Anne Wright Farris went to be with the Lord Wednesday, December 21, 2016, at Hillview Health Center in Elizabethton, TN.  A resident of Governor’s Bend in Erwin, TN, she was the daughter of William Egbert Wright and Dora Ann Walker Wright, both of whom are deceased.  Dorothy was born July 11, 1928, in Nashville, TN, and was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 65 years, Robert Earl “Bob” Farris, and her siblings: Ruth Fay Wright Kilgore, William Egbert Wright, Jr., and Helen Walker Wright Maxson.

Dorothy graduated from West High School in Nashville, where she was secretary of the student body and voted “Miss West High” by her classmates.  While attending George Peabody College, she worked for Dr. Alfred Leland Crabb, professor of education and author of historical novels, and typed the entire manuscript for his novel Home to the Hermitage, which was published in 1948.

In 1947 a good friend suggested she meet Bob Farris on a blind date.  The two met and fell in love quickly, marrying the next year and beginning a marriage of heavenly blessing. Not only did they never quarrel, but they also never seemed to have a difference of opinion.  Dorothy was the “helper fit for him,” a natural leader. She ran their home with great energy, efficiency, and joy. In two years, they welcomed daughter Julia Ann, and three years later, a son, Robert, Jr. The Farris home was filled with abundant love as well as respect and honor for one another.

In 1960, Bob decided to start his own business, where Dorothy put her excellent bookkeeping and secretarial skills to work. Together they grew the business which eventually became The Swim Shop, the largest distributor of White Stag Speedo swimwear.

When President Ronald Reagan appointed Bob administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, they moved to Washington where Dorothy volunteered at the Library of Congress as well as a local soup kitchen. She also hosted many visitors to the city, joyously showing them the many historical points of interest.

Eventually, Bob’s work took them to Greenville, SC, where once again she became Bob’s secretary and bookkeeper as they and their dear friend John Jewell launched another business which continues to this day.

Dorothy loved her church family and faithfully tried to live daily by the Lord’s teachings. A life-long member of The United Methodist Church, Dorothy always took a very active role – teaching Sunday school, participating in the Women’s Society, volunteering whenever needed on church projects, and being an active member of her Sunday school class.

Dorothy was very energetic, indefatigable you would say, full of joy and enthusiasm for whatever was at hand. She took every situation and made it better. She was as welcoming a person as you could ever meet.  With a genuine spirit of hospitality, she would focus her attention on her guests, attending to their every need and making certain they were encouraged and well-fed.

She was extremely generous to everyone and, at the same time, very frugal with herself. She almost never bought anything for herself unless she was in great need and it was on sale.

Nothing she ever did was a burden. She never complained or grumbled. Of course, life was challenging at times, but she would just work harder and seem to enjoy the challenge.

She was very wise and would share her wisdom when asked. She was an excellent listener, even though she was challenged by hearing loss. She not only would listen intently to every word that was said, but also she would remember all that you told her. Her genuine love for all people manifested the love of God in her. In every gathering, she would befriend the least engaged person. Anyone lacking family would soon be a part of hers. She and Bob would frequently travel out of their way to transport friends to church.

She also was an eager learner. When she and Bob became convinced of the health benefits of a plant-based vegetarian diet, they enthusiastically became vegetarians, trying out and adapting all kinds of new recipes to enjoy.

She was such a godly woman in every area of her life, faithfully fulfilling her God-given roles of daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She was beloved by her family, and is greatly missed. We thank the Lord for His carrying her home so gently and peacefully, and we rejoice that she is resting in the perfect love of Jesus.

She is survived by her daughter Julia Ann Farris Seward and husband John (Elizabethton); Robert Earl Farris, Jr. (Greenville, SC); grandchildren John Evans Seward III and wife Wendi, Gray; Anne Elizabeth Seward Collins and husband Hiatt (Nashville); Julia Katherine Seward O’Daniel and husband Gideon (Durham, NC); and Mary Evelyn Seward Felty and husband Gabriel (Spring Lake, NC); and great-grandchildren John Evans Seward IV, Caroline Elizabeth Seward, and Sean Patrick O’Daniel, as well as precious nieces and a nephew.

The family thanks the loving men and women who have graciously cared for Dorothy at Governor’s Bend Assisted Living in Erwin, the Unicoi County Hospital, the Johnson City Medical Center, and Hillview Health Center in Elizabethton.  You were “angels,” providing excellent skilled care in such a kind and loving way.  We love you and appreciate each and every one for all you have done!

A Memorial Service will be conducted Thursday, December 29, 2016, 11:00 AM at Tetrick Funeral & Cremation Services, 3001 Peoples Street, Johnson City, with the Rev. James E. Richter officiating.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to Free Will Baptist Family Ministries, c/o Governor’s Bend, 1631 Zane Whitson Drive, Erwin, TN 37650.

Memories and condolences may be shared with the family and viewed at Arrangements for the Farris family are in the care of Tetrick Funeral & Cremation Services, 3001 Peoples St., Johnson City, TN 37604. (423) 610-7171.