Jean A. and Edward J. Farr

Jean and Ed met in New York City and married in 1941. They raised their 3 children, Richi, Cally and Margo, in New Jersey. A long-standing dream of Jean’s came true when we children were 14, 11, and 8, and the family sailed by steamship to travel around Italy for 2 months in our huge turquoise Oldsmobile! There were many highlight moments in that 1958 summer adventure that became an enduring chapter in our family story. Jean and Ed later travelled extensively in Guatemala, Haiti, Cuba, China and Fiji.

In 1976 they retired to Canada – to a small farm near Nelson BC. They moved to Victoria in 1984 to be closer to family. We children and grandchildren were always welcomed into Jean and Ed’s homes, and we remember them for their enduring generosity, caring presence, and acceptance of our often crazy lifestyles.

Jean’s family was originally from Ansbach, Austria, and her early life was spent in Chicago and New York City. Her 98 years (1914-2012) were lived fully, in body, mind and spirit. Passionate about healthy living, nutrition, herbs and supplements, Jean also loved studying world religions, the universes, goddess mythology and psychology. She was curious, insightful and fascinated by intellectual conversations on unusual subjects. She enjoyed connecting with the Jewish community in Victoria and participated in the Rabbi’s lunchtime discussion study groups. Jean excelled creatively, with a fondness for watercolour painting, ingenious filmmaking and memoir writing. She had a life-long spiritual curiosity and she valued meditation, personal growth, learning and helping others. To the very end of her intriguing life Jean was witty, feisty, sassy, perceptive, and determined to be seen and heard for who she was.

Ed (1909-2003) was born in Montreal to parents who emigrated from the Kiev region of the Soviet Union (now Ukraine). When he was 14, Ed enrolled in NY State Nautical School, and graduated in 1927, at the age of 19. He then sailed the world in the Merchant Marines, as a chief engineer, which earned him the nickname “Jo-Jo the Fire Eater.” When he and Jean married in 1941, he chose life ashore, eventually becoming president of the Brotherhood of Marine Officers, a Maritime Labour Union. Ed (or Joe, as many knew him), was instrumental in improving conditions for Merchant Marine seamen. He was a valued lifetime friend and supporter of Maine Maritime Academy, in part because he helped many of their graduates find maritime employment. In Victoria, he volunteered at Garth Homer Centre, New Horizons, and the Commonwealth Games. Toward the end of his life, Joe lived at Douglas Care Community and at Oak Bay Lodge, where he was well-loved and admired for his friendliness and his entertaining stories of the sea. His openness, his humour, and his interest in and appreciation for others will always be his gift to all who knew him. “Smooth Sailing and Fair Winds, Ed, on your final sea voyage.”

%d bloggers like this: