TOPSHAM — Dorothy Barlow Farner, 91, died Sept. 16 in Topsham.
Farner was born in Warren, Ohio, on Dec. 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 then serving in Lakehurst, N.J., during World War II.

In 1945, she married George E. Beckett and obtained a teaching certificate. Five years after the birth of her daughter Jennifer, she volunteered to create a kindergarten class for Jennifer and children of her age. Farner later earned a master’s degree and doctorate in early childhood education from Case Western Reserve University. She went on to become a tenured professor at Hiram College, and taught teacher preparation and children’s literature at Ohio University and Kent State University.

In 1970, she met Frank Farner in Washington, D.C. The next year, they were married and honeymooned in Bangkok, Thailand, where Frank was stationed with the United States Agency for International Development. For the next 30 years, the couple lived in the Washington, D.C. area, remodeling a home in Virginia and a weekend farm in the Shenandoah Valley. They also spent much of their married lives fulfilling missions for the World Bank in the Far East, including China, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Nepal. In 2006, the couple came to Topsham and settled at the Highlands.

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

Farner is survived by her husband of over 40 years, Frank Farner; her daughter Jennifer L. Beckett and her husband, William Fuller, of San Francisco; stepdaughter Ann Farner Miller and her husband, David, of Woolwich; stepson George A. Farner and his wife, Denise, of Littleton, Col.; stepdaughter Mary Farner, of Denver; 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.

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Dorothy Barlow Farner

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