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Fred Farr, Lawmaker and Environmentalist, Jun 10, 1997

 
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:05 am    Post subject: Fred Farr, Lawmaker and Environmentalist, Jun 10, 1997 Reply with quote

POLITICIAN FRED FARR SET THE STAGE FOR MODERN CONSERVATION
Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, CA) - June 11, 1997

Fred Farr, a pioneering environmentalist and father of California's scenic highways who served as Democratic state senator from Carmel in the 1950s and '60s, died Tuesday in Monterey after suffering a stroke last week. He was 86.

Farr's family was at his side when he died at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. He is survived by his son, Rep. Sam Farr; daughter, Francesca; and a granddaughter.

"It's tough," Rep. Farr said Tuesday afternoon from his Carmel home. "I don't think any father and son could ask for a better life together. He was always there for me.

"He always had this incredible sense of fairness and justice and equality. He was a great man."

Well-wishers had filed through Farr's hospital room in recent days to pay respects to the dying former lawmaker, fondly remembered as a champion of the outdoors and the underdog.

Frederick Sharon Farr was born Aug. 2, 1910, in Oakland and raised in Piedmont. He worked for the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco after earning his degree from UC-Berkeley's Boalt Law School in 1935. During World War II, he worked for the Maritime Commission and as labor relations representative for the Port of New York.

After the war, Farr settled in Carmel with his wife, Janet, and their three children. He began his political career in 1954, narrowly losing an Assembly bid. The following year, he defeated former Assembly Speaker James Silliman in a special election to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Fred Wybert.

Farr, then 44, became the first Democrat in 43 years to represent the central coast "Cow County" in the Senate, then considered a cradle of conservatism.

With the Capitol then under the leadership of Gov. Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, Farr made his mark as a "practicing idealist," as one political observer wrote at the time.

Farr introduced bills to abolish the death penalty and to ban fraternities, sororities and clubs with discriminatory membership. He got legislation passed to create a state planning office, to allow cities and counties to acquire scenic easements, and to establish humane slaughter standards. His Senate-sponsored legislation led to the adoption of the federal Older Americans Act.

Representing a largely rural district where farmers constituted a powerful bloc and farmworkers toiled in squalor, Farr proposed emergency education for children of migrant field hands. And an accomplishment he later called his proudest got a law passed requiring toilets in the fields for the dignity and privacy of farmworkers.

Fond of hiking, camping and fishing, Farr was an early supporter of conservation long before the term "environmentalist" entered the popular lexicon, at a time when critics dismissed him and his supporters as "posey pickers."

"Fred really set the stage for modern conservation it's really that simple," said Brian Steen, executive director of the Big Sur Land Trust. "A lot of the initial energy came from Fred. His heart was dedicated to preserving the coast."

Farr led a fight to deny permits for an oil refinery at Moss Landing and a grass-roots effort to buy farmland along the Carmel River marked for development.

Among the lawmaker's most legendary accomplishments was the establishment of California's scenic highway program, beginning with the breathtaking, 72-mile stretch of Highway 1 that winds through Big Sur.

With plans in the works to double the size of the twisting two-laner, Farr said at the time: "It would be tragic if we forgot that many of our great highways have far greater value as scenic touring routes if not developed for high-speed traffic."

Today, the system marked by signs bearing the California poppy symbol includes more than 1,000 miles of roadway, including Highway 88 around Lake Tahoe and Highway 190 through Death Valley.

Farr's highway protection efforts earned him national acclaim. After leaving the Legislature following 12 years of service, he was appointed in 1967 as highway beautification coordinator for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

In 1969, Farr made an unsuccessful bid to return to politics, losing a special election to fill the Assembly seat vacated by the death of Republican Alan Pattee of Salinas. He then returned to his law practice.

Farr's other accomplishments include serving as president of the California State Historical Society and as chairman of the Monterey County Democratic Central Committee. In his later years, Farr served on the boards of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the University of California-Santa Cruz Foundation. He was an honorary life member of the Sierra Club and was long active in the Carmel Rotary Club.

Funeral arrangements are pending. A public memorial service will be from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Sunset Center in Carmel. The family asks friends to send notes of favorite stories about Fred Farr to P.O. Box 3305, Carmel, CA 93921.

San Jose Mercury NewsEdition: Final
Page: D09
Copyright (c) 1997 Contra Costa Times.

------------------------------------------------

EX-LAWMAKER FRED FARR DIES AT 86 ENVIRONMENTALIST, 'IDEALIST'
San Jose Mercury News (CA) - June 11, 1997


Fred Farr, a pioneering environmentalist and father of California's scenic highways who served as Democratic state senator from Carmel in the 1950s and '60s, died Tuesday in Monterey after suffering a stroke last week. He was 86.

Farr's family was at his side when he died early Tuesday at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. He is survived by son and congressman Sam Farr, daughter Francesca, daughter-in-law Shary and a granddaughter.

''It's tough,'' Rep. Farr said Tuesday afternoon from his Carmel home. ''I don't think any father and son could ask for a better life together. He was always there for me.

''He always had this incredible sense of fairness and justice and equality. He was a great man.''

Well-wishers had filed through Farr's hospital room in recent days to pay respects to the dying former lawmaker, fondly remembered as a champion of the outdoors and the underdog.

''We've lost a very dear soul,'' said Margaret Owings, 84, who helped Farr battle plans to turn Highway 1 through Big Sur into a massive freeway and called the former senator her inspiration in founding Friends of the Sea Otter.

''He had this beautiful spirit about him,'' Owings said. ''He wanted to help people.''

Frederick Sharon Farr was born Aug. 2, 1910, in Oakland and raised in nearby Piedmont. He worked for the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco after earning his degree from the University of California-Berkeley's Boalt Law School in 1935. During World War II, he worked for the U.S. Maritime Commission and as labor relations representative for the Port of New York.

Political career

After the war, Farr settled in Carmel with his wife, Janet, and their three children. Farr began his political career in 1954, narrowly losing an Assembly bid. The following year, he defeated former Assembly Speaker James Silliman in a special election to fill the state Senate seat left vacant by the death of Fred Wybert.

Farr, then 44, became the first Democrat in 43 years to represent the central coast ''Cow County'' in the Senate, then considered a cradle of conservatism.

With the state Capitol then under the leadership of Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Farr made his mark as a ''practicing idealist,'' as one political observer wrote at the time.

Farr introduced bills to abolish the death penalty and to ban fraternities, sororities and clubs with discriminatory membership. He got legislation passed to create a state planning office, to allow cities and counties to acquire scenic easements, and to establish more humane slaughter standards. His Senate-sponsored legislation led to the adoption of the federal Older Americans Act.

Representing a largely rural district where farmers constituted a powerful bloc and farmworkers toiled in squalor, Farr proposed emergency education for children of migrant field hands. And -- an accomplishment he later called his proudest -- got a law passed requiring toilets in the fields for the dignity and privacy of farmworkers.

Fond of hiking, camping and fishing, Farr was an early supporter of conservation long before the term environmentalist entered the popular lexicon, at a time when critics dismissed him and his supporters as ''posey pickers.''

''Fred really set the stage for modern conservation -- it's really that simple,'' said Brian Steen, executive director of the Big Sur Land Trust. ''A lot of the initial energy came from Fred. His heart was dedicated to preserving the coast.''

Farr led a fight to deny permits for an oil refinery at Moss Landing and a grass-roots effort to buy farmland marked for development along the Carmel River.

Legendary accomplishment

Among the lawmaker's most legendary accomplishments was the establishment of California's scenic highway program, beginning with the breathtaking 72-mile stretch of Highway 1 that winds through Big Sur.

With plans in the works to double the size of the twisting two-lane highway, Farr said at the time: ''It would be tragic if we forgot that many of our great highways have far greater value as scenic touring routes if not developed for high-speed traffic.''

Today, the system -- marked by signs bearing the California poppy symbol -- includes more than 1,000 miles of roadway, including Highway 88 around Lake Tahoe and Highway 190 through Death Valley.

''He went into battle to do good things, which you don't see very much anymore,'' said longtime friend Tom Rees, 72, a former state legislator and congressman. ''He was very idealistic. Fred's legacy was to develop the environmental field.''

National acclaim

Farr's highway protection efforts earned him national acclaim. After leaving the Legislature after 12 years of service, he was appointed in 1967 as highway beautification coordinator for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

In 1969, Farr made an unsuccessful bid to return to state politics, losing a special election to fill the Assembly seat vacated by the death of Republican Alan Pattee of Salinas. He then returned to his law practice.

Farr's wife died of cancer in 1965, and his youngest daughter, Nancy, died in an accident in Colombia while his son Sam was serving in the Peace Corps.

Farr's other accomplishments included serving as president of the California State Historical Society and as chairman of the Monterey County Democratic Central Committee. In his later years, Farr served on the boards of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the University of California-Santa Cruz Foundation. He was an honorary life member of the Sierra Club and long was active in the Carmel Rotary Club.

Funeral arrangements are pending. A memorial service open to the public is planned from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Sunset Center in Carmel. The family asks friends to send notes with favorite stories about Fred Farr to P.O. Box 3305, Carmel, Calif. 93921.

PHOTO: Fred Farr

[970611 LO 1B MO 1] Edition: Santa Cruz/Monterey
Page: 1B
Copyright (c) 1997 San Jose Mercury News

--------------------------------------------

Fred Farr
San Francisco Chronicle (CA) - June 12, 1997


A memorial service will be held Sunday in Carmel for former state Senator Fred Farr, a pioneering environmentalist and father of California's scenic highways. He died Tuesday at the age of 86.

Mr. Farr, whose son, Sam, is a Democratic congressman from Monterey, served as a state senator from Carmel in the 1950s and 1960s.

He was the first Democrat elected to represent the central Monterey coast district in 43 years when he defeated former Assembly Speaker James Silliman in a special election in 1955.

A liberal in a largely rural district long dominated by farmers, Mr. Farr proposed emergency education for the children of migrant farm workers and got a law passed that required toilets in the fields for the farm workers.

He pushed through legislation to create a state planning office and to allow cities and counties to acquire scenic easements. Legislation he sponsored in the state senate led to the adoption of the federal Older Americans Act.

An outdoorsman, Mr. Farr was a pioneer of the modern conservation movement in California, and is remembered best among environmentalists for his role in establishing California's scenic highway program.

Today, the system includes more than 1,000 miles of roadway, including the winding coastal highway at Big Sur, Highway 88 around Lake Tahoe and Highway 190 through Death Valley.

Born in Oakland and raised in nearby Piedmont, Mr. Farr was a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and worked for the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco after earning a degree from Boalt Hall Law School in 1935.

During World War II, he was employed by the U.S. Maritime Commission and later worked as a labor relations representative for the Port of New York.

In addition to his son, Sam, Mr. Farr is survived by his daughter, Francesca, also of Carmel. His wife, the former Janet Haskins, and a younger daughter, Nancy, are deceased.

The memorial service is scheduled from 1:30 to 4 p.m., Sunday, at the Sunset Center Theater in Carmel. The family asks friends to send notes with favorite stories about Mr. Farr to P.O. Box 3305, Carmel, Calif. 93921. A spokesperson for Congressman Farr's office said some of the notes will be read at the service.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Edition: FINAL
Page: A22
Copyright (c) 1997 The Chronicle Publishing Co.
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