Monday, July 17, 2006

Life of the Father

My father has died.

Four words you know you'll say someday, but when they finally do come out of your mouth, it's like watching from a great distance as the words hang in the air like smoke. A complicated man with faults and weaknesses, as well as a singularly kind and generous soul, I thought I'd share the Obit I had to write on the plane to Michigan. It's a start.

Orville Herbert Farver died on June 21, 2006, at Toledo General Hospital, following complications from surgery related to his extended battle with congestive heart failure and diabetes. He was 78 years old.

His parents, Orville Wilbert Farver and Blanche Wollum Farver, precede him in death. He leaves behind his wife, Connie Farver, son Michael Farver, son Patrick Farver, daughter Cynthia Farver Galiette, daughter-in-law Susan Farver, daughter–in-law Debbie Farver, son-in-law Peter Galiette, grandchildren Natalie Farver, Brett Farver, and Brandon Farver.

Herbert Farver was born in 1928, in Saginaw, Michigan. He attended Florida Military Academy in St. Augustine, Florida, where he met, and eventually married, Shirley Constance Adams. Following service in the United States Navy, Herb and Connie settled in Tecumseh, Michigan, and after studies at Albion College and Adrian College, he joined Blissfield Manufacturing Company, which had been started by his father in 1946. He worked in a variety of sales office and management positions, finally becoming President of the Company in 1978 and Chairman of the Board in 1992. In failing health for the past 10 years, he has resided for the past two years at Charlotte Stephenson Manor in Adrian, where he was surrounded by a caring, dedicated staff that brought him great joy and comfort in the final years of his life.

A resident of Adrian for more than 40 years, under his direction the family has focused on community service; supporting personally and through the Farver Foundation a broad range of charities and community institutions including Bixby Medical Center, Herrick Memorial Hospital, Junior Achievement, Lenawee Community Foundation, Lenawee Sheriff’s Department, Michigan State Police, Siena Heights College and the United Way, A disastrous fire in 1959, which nearly destroyed the Company plant in Blissfield, Michigan, fueled his lifetime commitment to the fire departments, police departments and emergency responders throughout Southeast Michigan.

Among his many awards and accolades, he and Connie received the Lenawee County Chamber of Commerce Maple Leaf Award in 1997. Herb was an animal lover, an unabashed sentimentalist, and a soft touch with a big heart. He counted among his many friends people from every walk of life, and always relished the opportunity to socialize, loving good food, good drink, and good companions. He also took immense pride in his family, following closely their every success.

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