December 16, 1938 – May 19, 2019
Born to Dr. Edmond J. and Louise Augusta Farris in Philadelphia, Penna. December 16, 1938, Lee was the eldest of their three children. Her first years were spent on the Effingham Morris Biological Farm of the Wistar Institute (University of Pennsylvania) with animal pals – Cliff and Major, pony and dog, respectively. Daughter of a medical researcher (see the Farris Institute of Parenthood) she did laboratory work and made two further friends, lab rats King and Queenie.
Early on and throughout her life, Lee painted, drew and photographed, sharing a love of and making of art with her mother. Participating in school shows and magazine contests, she gleaned accolades and prizes for her efforts. Lee’s love of horses led her to be an avid equestrian during her junior high school years – spending summers at riding camps and riding year-round on her Aunt Neva’s farm where her horse was stabled.
In her teen years she attended Lower Merion High School (Mainline Philadelphia). She earned her B.A. from the University of South Carolina, majoring in English and History. Other parts of her academic career were spent at Pierce Business School (shorthand, typing), Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (drawing and painting), Harcum Junior College (Library Science and Education) and Mary Washington University.
Soon after college, Lee moved to the Rehearsal Club in New York and worked on acting and dancing skills. As part of the Beat Generation in Greenwich Village, she moved in a circle of friends that included Jack Kerouac, Moondog, Alan Ginsburg and Wavy Gravy – frequenting spots like the Minetta Bar.
She returned to Philadelphia and was hired as Executive Secretary for WFIL TV (American Bandstand, Dick Clark). Following that, her life-long love of books led her to work at both the Furness and Van Pelt Libraries of the University of Pennsylvania. She supported libraries ever since through reading-for-children, reference and circulation, and donating time. Lee had access to two to six library cards for years and regularly had over 50 books on loan that she assiduously tracked to avoid fines.
Married to Richard F. Garfield in 1961, Lee had four children; Richard Channing, Elizabeth Lartigue, Susan – all born in Philadelphia: and Justin Owen – born in Kathmandu, Nepal.
In Nepal (1970 – 1974), Lee did volunteer work for the Kalimati Clinic Dispensary and the Lincoln (American) School library. She also found time to trek in the mountain foothills – to Bairab Kund Lekh, Phaphlu, Pokhara, and in the Terai – to Tiger Tops.
Returning to the United States, Lee and her family moved from the East to the West Coast, settling in Eugene for four years where she taught at Morning Sun Nursery School. In 1978 her family moved to Portland, Oregon. For the next 40 years, Lee filled her brick home in Irvington with family, a constant flow of friends and food. During this time, she also worked variously for Meier & Frank (housewares), Portland Parks (gardener for Ladd’s Addition and The International Rose Test Garden) and Multnomah County Library (Assistant Librarian) - often all at the same time.
A Master Gardener for forty years, her garden was a source of joy to her and others with its extraordinary range of “zonal denial” plantings along with indigenous plants, a one hundred year old pear tree, sixty feet of Caroline Testout roses and no pesti- or herbi-cides.
Surviving her are her sister, Suzanne Moore, her brother, Edmond Farris, her husband, four children, their spouses / significant others and eight grandchildren aged two to twenty-two.
- Memorial Service Friday, June 7, 2019
- Reception Friday, June 7, 2019
May 29, 2019
I only just met Babba Lee 5 years ago for the first time, though I have known her through stories shared by my Washington family (Herman, Elizabeth, Anika, Tessa, and Martin) all my life.
She was (and still is to me) an incredibly strong woman, which is something I will always take with me as an example. Her love for thrift shopping is something I will never forget.
The Dalmuti-dress from the thrift store will go down in history :)
My thoughts and love go out to her friends and loved ones <3
May 29, 2019
Mama Lee , She is always going to be in our hearts ♥️ quite and loving with her beautiful eyes says very little but manage to say a lot . I loved when she came to visit me at my work . I treasure every time she came to see me . She cared so much for her love once . She is always gonna be here with us with her beautiful family and her grand children . She has touched all of us . We love ❤️ you Mama Lee la . I know you are in peace and you are very loved. perhaps you are reading all of us from above ! Om ah hung.
May 28, 2019
I will always think of Lee (and Richard) on New year's eve, and the wonderful parties they had for decades. She was a lovely woman, and a gracious host. She will be missed!
May 27, 2019
I have known lee since I was a teen in junior high visiting her family home. When she was around there always seemed to be a feeling of a calm, determined, adventurer in my presence. Throughout her life I have felt utmost respect for her achievements, and the paths she has chosen. I will always carry her with me as an example of how a person should live.
May 26, 2019
Lee was such a joy to work with, she will be missed by everyone she ever worked with, and she always talked about her wonderful family.Multnomah County Library was blessed to have her great knowledge and talent.
May 24, 2019
Sad to learn of this. Lee was a neighbor as well as someone I had worked with. A lovely woman!
May 24, 2019
Lee always had a good word for each person who visited Belmont Branch Library. Former Belmont Branch Leader Steve Armitage truly appreciated Lee’s expertise and kindness.
May 23, 2019
Thank you for sitting at the reference desk with me for years, and helping me learn the fine art of helping people find the information they needed. You were kind to and interested in everyone.