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Dunbar Funeral Home (Devine)

3926 Devine ST, Columbia, SC

OBITUARY

Ronald Truman Farrar

July 3, 1935May 18, 2020

Beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Ronald Farrar died May 18, 2020, at the age of 84.

Ron had the remarkable gift of never meeting a stranger. He was a great listener, a good man who truly cared about everyone he met and, in turn, they cared about him. He made and kept friends for life. The son of Truman Langdon Farrar and Grace Johnson Farrar, he was preceded in death by his wife, Gayla Dennis Farrar, by a brother, William Ward Farrar, who died in early childhood, and by his cousin, Perry Johnson. He is survived by his loving children and their spouses: Janet Farrar Worthington and Mark Worthington, Bradley Truman Farrar and Carole Farrar; and six grandchildren: Blair Worthington Parrack and her husband, Ted Parrack, Andy and Josh Worthington, Elizabeth, Grace, and Caroline Farrar; and one great-granddaughter: Avery Parrack. He was so proud of them all. He is also survived by his cousins: John Farrar Johnson, John Vernon Johnson, Stephen Johnson, and Clinton Johnson; and by dear friends who were very important to him: Beverly Katker, Will Norton, Arthur Zhu and Tao Lu, and many others, including the countless students he taught and mentored at universities across the country.

Ron completed his military service as a Captain in the U.S. Army. He was an internationally respected and gifted professor who taught, wrote and conducted research for nearly four decades. When he retired in 2001, Congressman James E. Clyburn said this on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Dr. Ronald T. Farrar of South Carolina on the occasion of his retirement from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Farrar is the epitome of what a college professor should be, and he is respected and loved by faculty and students alike.

“Along with the many articles Dr. Farrar has authored and published, he has written such books as Reluctant Servant, Mass Media and the National Experience, with John D. Stevens, College 101, Mass Communication: An Introduction to the Field, The Ultimate College Survival Guide, Walter Williams: Journalist to the World, and Powerhouse: The Meek School at Ole Miss.

“Dr. Farrar is deeply respected in the fields of journalism and academics. His expertise and talent have earned him commissions to write numerous articles and conduct national studies. He has been awarded various grants and awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal for Research in Journalism in 1969 by the Society of Professional Journalists, for Reluctant Servant: The Story of Charles G. Ross. From 1971 to 1973, he was a consultant for a continuing study of television audiences for the Public Broadcasting System. Faculties for the U.S. government, private sectors and journalistic associations have been privileged to have him serve on their boards.”

Rep. Clyburn went on to list some of Ron’s many grants and awards, and continued: “Dr. Farrar was appointed the Reynolds-Faunt Memorial Professor in 1986 and held that professorship until his retirement. He will now be recognized as Distinguished Professor Emeritus.

“Mr. Speaker, I ask you and my colleagues to join me today in honoring Dr. Ronald T. Farrar for the incredible service he has provided through a lifetime in the academic community. I sincerely thank him for his outstanding contributions… and wish him good luck and Godspeed in his future endeavors.” His family is grateful for all the years we had with him, and we eagerly look forward to seeing him again one day in Heaven.

Due to conditions at this time, the family will hold a graveside service on Saturday, May 23, 2020, with plans to hold a memorial service this summer. In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Ronald T. and Gayla D. Farrar Award in Media and Civil Rights History in care of the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications would be appreciated.

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Services

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Memories

Ronald Truman Farrar

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Michael Graves

May 28, 2020

Although we met only a year ago, Ron made me feel like we had known each other for a long time. Talking with Ron was such a pleasure. His smile and unique personality set him apart from others who, talk at a person rather than listen. Ron showed genuine interest in people. He shared with me how much he loved his family. I will miss him.

Gene Foreman

May 27, 2020

Ron and I worked together on the staff of the Arkansas Gazette in the late 1950s soon after our college graduations. It was a turbulent era in Little Rock as the city dealt with fallout from the desegregation of Central High School. It also was a time when young journalists like Ron and me learned the importance of responsible journalism. Ron was respected by his colleagues as a diligent, conscientious, talented reporter. His subsequent success in the field of higher education came as no surprise to those who knew his early work for the Gazette. It was my privilege to have been a friend of Ron and his wife, Gayla, in the decades that followed.

Gerald Jordan

May 27, 2020

Dear Family,
Dr. Farrar was amazing, but you knew that. I never had the pleasure to meet Ron, but I got to know him by correspondence and by phone.
In my early time on the journalism faculty at the University of Arkansas, Ron reached out to me to offer any help I might need. He wanted me to know that our alma mater was a fine place for me to teach and he offered to be a resource for me to launch the teaching phase of my journalism career.
I'll forever appreciate his advice and encouragement. He assured me that my move from the newsroom to the classroom was a good one, even more so, the right one.
Thank you, family, for sharing Ron with us.
Sincerely,
Gerald Jordan, Arkansas BA ' 70

Arthur Zhu

May 25, 2020

A Teacher Until the End
I was Ron’s teaching assistant at the USC journalism school in the 1996-1997 school year, and Ron was also my dissertation advisor. I have received from him not only sound academic advice but, more importantly, the guidance on how to become a better person.
And the latter part lasted longer and became more significant in the past eight years as Ron and I met every few weeks at our favorite restaurant, Grecian Gardens, in West Columbia. At our dinner on March 2, 2020, I proposed to Ron that we shall meet more frequently - something like Tuesdays with Ron - and he gladly accepted the idea. I did not know that was the last time I would see him.

Arthur Zhu

May 25, 2020

A Teacher Until the End
I was Ron’s teaching assistant at the USC journalism school in the 1996-1997 school year, and Ron was also my dissertation advisor. I have received from him not only sound academic advice but, more importantly, the guidance on how to become a better person.
And the latter part lasted longer and became more significant in the past eight years as Ron and I met every few weeks at our favorite restaurant, Grecian Gardens, in West Columbia. At our last dinner on March 2, 2020, I proposed to Ron that we shall meet more frequently - something like Tuesdays with Ron - and he gladly accepted idea. I did not know that was the last time I would see him.

Jim Apple

May 23, 2020

I got to know Ron in the years he attended Washington Street United Methodist Church . He was always a faithful believer and a prince of a man. Indeed, he never met a stranger! My condolences to Brad, Carole, and the entire family.

Mary Johnson

May 22, 2020

John and I invited all the Johnson cousins up to the Lake House for a visit. And we all had a Wonderful time .That morning Ronnie went down to FORDYCE to visit some friends. And Dot Woodward came over and we decided to take a ride to FORDYCE too and we shopped until we got tired so we stop for lunch before going back to Hot Springs and ran into Ronnie so we all had lunch together. And it was so much fun visiting laughing and talking about Fordyce and the Mighty Redbugs. Ronnie had a way of bringing the best out of you and making sure you knew you were important to him. John and I Loved him and I will really miss him. But I also Love all of you . GOD BLESS YOU🙏🏻

John Farrar Johson

May 22, 2020

He will be missed. Memories from our childhood remain a source of enjoyment for me. Ronnie was the older cousin and an inspiration to all of us cousins as we witnessed his many successes. He was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word. Few possess his vitality, intelligence and high regard for others. I will miss his occasional trips back to Arkansas.

To Bradley and Janet and their families, please know I am thinking and praying for you.

John Farrar Johnson

STEPHEN JOHNSON

May 22, 2020

Ronnie was my cousin. I will miss him. I admired him, just like everyone in the family. He was a special inspiration during my high school and college years.
My cousin John Farrar Johnson and I, along with our wives, visited Ronnie at his house in the fall of 2012 to watch the Razorbacks get beat by South Carolina. He was a super host. We attended a tailgate and Ronnie led a hog call. Our seats were in the upper part of the stadium, but, he made it up and down with no trouble. I opened the door to his house and his dog got out. I believe a Schnauzer named Frannie. I felt bad, but Ronnie didn't get mad and we got his dog under a neighbor's patio. I have many many other memories of Ronnie and Gayla and Janet and Bradley.

Henry Price

May 22, 2020

Journalism education has lost one of its staunchest supporters and finest teachers with the passing of Dr. Ron Farrar. Those of us who knew him and had the chance to work with him have lost a strong and wise friend.
I was one of those who enjoyed the great privilege of serving with him when he was on the faculty of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. We didn’t always agree on matters of administration or governance, but one of Ron’s great values as a friend and colleague was that you could always depend on him to speak his mind, even if what he said wasn’t what you wanted to hear. He was a man of high ethics, superior intelligence and a huge amount of common sense. You knew that he was someone to whom you should pay attention whether he was agreeing with you or disagreeing.
He was one of the key people in my receiving the Freedom Forum’s Journalism Teacher of the Year award in 2000. I and all who knew Ron will greatly miss him and his quiet sense of humor.

FROM THE FAMILY

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