TOPSHAM — Dorothy Barlow Farner, 91, died September 16, 2012, in Topsham, ME.

An educator, a U.S. Navy veteran, devoted mother of Jennifer Beckett, and loving wife to the “man of her dreams,” Frank Farner, Dorothy was born in Warren, OH, on December 30, 1920. She followed previous generations of her family to attend Hiram College, graduating in 1942. She volunteered for military service as a WAVE, training at Smith College, and serving in Lakehurst, NJ during WWII.

In 1945 she married George E. Beckett and obtained an Ohio teaching certificate. Five years after the birth of her daughter Jennifer, “her greatest achievement,” she volunteered to create a kindergarten class for Jennifer and the children of her age. She later earned a masters and Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in early childhood education. A tenured professor at Hiram College, she also taught teacher preparation and children’s literature at Ohio University and Kent State University.

In 1970 Dorothy met Frank Farner in Washington, D.C. By Christmas Eve, 1971, they were married and honeymooning in Bangkok, Thailand, where Frank was stationed with the United States Agency for International Development. For the next thirty years, Frank and Dorothy were based in the Washington, D.C. area, remodeling a home in Virginia and a weekend farm in the Shenandoah Valley. They spent much of their married life fulfilling missions for the World Bank in the Far East, including China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Nepal. In 2006 they came to Topsham, ME and settled in the Highlands.

Music was an abiding interest of Dorothy’s from an early age. A gifted player by ear, she could be found at the piano at the end of social evening, entertaining friends and guests with her capacity to capture every tune and key. Years of regular attendance at symphony concerts led Dorothy to join the Women’s Committee for the National Symphony Orchestra in support of the financing of the orchestra. Many of Frank and Dorothy’s trips were built around specific musical interests – jazz in New Orleans, waltzes in Vienna, and symphonies in Berlin.

Dorothy was the master of occasions of all sorts – formal and elegant dinners at her home on the Potomac, family Thanksgivings for 12, garden parties for 50, or just neighbors in for an impromptu supper. At times it was silver and crystal reflected in candlelight, music in the background, and formal food presentation; at other times it was picnics in rural Thailand or in the snow in Buffalo. Her warmth and joy ensured their success.

Her greatest success, however, was the nearly 41-year marriage to Frank and the home and adventures they crafted together. Dorothy was a frequent companion on his World Bank missions to Asia, and they usually added stops in Europe and the Pacific on outbound and returning legs. By the end of Frank’s career, they had visited over 60 of the nearly 200 countries in the world, and many of these stops were repeat visits. Their home in Virginia was decorated with furnishings, rugs and other souvenirs of their decades of international travel. Her passion for gardening was also evident in the grounds of the Virginia home.

Dorothy is survived by her husband of over 40 years, Frank Farner, and her daughter, Jennifer L. Beckett (William Fuller) of San Francisco, CA. She is also survived by stepchildren Ann Farner Miller (David) of Woolwich, ME, George A. Farner (Denise) of Littleton, CO, and Mary Farner of Denver, CO, five grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Interment will be in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. Arrangements are in care of the Brackett Funeral Home, Brunswick, ME.