Farmer 100th birthday celebrated

Published 3:08 pm Monday, April 12, 2010

Family and friends of Edith Farmer packed La Reunion on the afternoon of March 28 to wish the perky centenarian a happy 100th birthday.

It was the fifth party given in her honor.

Her four children shared the stage at La Reunion, each speaking lovingly and sharing memories.

Eldest son, John Hollis Howell, was the first principal of Vestavia High School when it opened in 1970.

In attendance at the gathering were boyhood friends of his who referred to him as “Johnny Howell, our ringleader.”

“Edith would take the five of us snotty-nosed kids fishing — to Lake Purdy or Edgewood Lake — in her ’44 Ford convertible. I have loved her ever since,” said George Massey, who was there with his own wife of 57 years, Delores.

“We were the Fairview neighborhood group,” said Bill Allen. Bob Ivy, an older member of that group, was also in attendance.

Daughter Faye Farmer presented her mother with a copy of Birmingham Then and Now.

“So many of these places pictured bring back the good times we had,” she said. “Kiddyland, Cascade Plunge and picnics at Holiday Beach.”

Son Robert Farmer spoke with a tear in his eye, “What I remember about Mother, is that she never raised her voice to me, even when I deserved it.”

Bill Farmer said he thinks of his mother as a champion poker player in the game of life.

“Whatever hand she was dealt, she would make it into a full house,” Bill said.

His wife, Mickey, remembered, “Everyone was always welcome at Edith’s house. She hugged every one of us and invited us to come back.”

A special treat during the afternoon was a performance by Jim Connor, Edith Farmer’s nephew.

A member of the New Kingston Trio from 1969-73, with one platinum and eight gold records to his credit, Connor sang a song written and composed especially for Edith Farmer called “Heaven’s Gift.”

“A hundred years so sweet, so strong

To be in tune with God’s dear song

Her children’s children’s Legacy

Her Spirit shines for all to see.

Birthday Girl One-Hundred strong

Her Love in tune with God’s sweet song

Her Gift, Our Joy: Her Legacy

Heaven’s Song for all Eternity.

Laura Brookhart can be reached by e–mail at