MARSHALL ELMER FARRIS JR. passed to life everlasting on Saturday, June 20, 2020 at age 93. He was survived by his daughters, Ann Farris, Lynn Farris, and Jane Farris; his brother, John A. Farris; and Jane’s husband, Michael Pierson. He was preceded in death by his wife, Joan Taul Farris, and his parents Marshall E. Farris Sr. and Roselle Gould Farris.
Born in Austin, Texas, he came to Albuquerque with his parents at the age of three and grew up on the UNM campus where his father was Dean of Engineering. In a strong spirit of patriotism, Marshall and several other young men from Albuquerque High School volunteered to join the Armed Forces at age 17 (with parental permission) and thus didn’t graduate with their classmates in 1944. Marshall was given credit for Boot Camp and received his diploma when he visited home on leave after boot camp. He served as a Navy corpsman on Okinawa during World War II. He returned to Albuquerque after the war and attended UNM earning a BA and MA in secondary education. He met his wife Joan, while taking a pep rally bus to attend a UNM football game with Texas Tech. Marshall and Joan married in 1950. He taught briefly in El Segundo, California, but soon returned to Albuquerque where he taught at Sandia Base Elementary, Chelwood Elementary, Van Buren Middle School, and Washington Middle School. He also enjoyed conducting choral programs at the schools. He retired from teaching in 1984.
He was an advocate for education in local and state government, becoming president of the Albuquerque Classroom Teachers Association and of National Education Association (NEA) New Mexico. He also served as Parliamentarian for those organizations. He became an education lobbyist and wrote an educational program on “How a Bill Becomes a Law.”
Marshall had a booming bass voice and sang in barbershop quartets and the church choir. He was an elder and deacon at First Presbyterian Church. He was in Toastmasters and served as a docent at the Albuquerque Museum from 1991 until 2009, leading tours around Old Town and talking about Albuquerque history. He loved maps, history, math, and music, particularly enjoying old jazz and swing music. During his retirement he and Joan enjoyed travelling and went on many cruises together. He had the ability to strike up a conversation with anyone he met and loved to chat with patrons and staff of Manny’s Restaurant in his later years. His voice is silent now, but he is at rest with Joan. We will miss him greatly.
A joint memorial service with Joan, who passed last month, will be scheduled when it is safe to gather. In lieu of flowers he requested that contributions be made to the Scholarship Fund at the UNM Foundation named the Marshall E. Farris Engineering Memorial Scholarship at https://www.unmfund.org/fund/marshall-e-farris/ (named for his father), or the music department of the First Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque at https://www.simplechurchgiving.net/App/Giving/fpcabq.
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