Edith May Watson Farnham, 98, of Traverse City, MI, passed away Monday, May 21, 2018, at the Willow Cottage with her loving family at her side.
Visitation is 9-11 a.m. followed by funeral services at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 16 at the Livingston Butler Volland Funeral Home in Hastings, NE. Memorials may be directed to the First Presbyterian Church or to the Tehama Shrine Hospital Auxiliary in Hastings.
Edith was born in Belle Plaine, IA on May 12, 1920, the daughter of Christian and Mary (Carlsen) Jensen. Edith was salutatorian of her 1937 high school graduating class in Sutherland, IA. She graduated from Lawrence College Conservatory of Music in Appleton, WI with her Bachelor of Public Schools Music degree in 1942.
Edith enjoyed teaching vocal and instrumental music in the public schools of IA, NE, and Hammond, IN near Chicago. She also helped on the family farm in IA, took flying lessons, and earned her pilot’s license in 1954. Edith was thrilled to live in the Chicago area, where with her friends, she enjoyed attending operas, symphonies, plays, and musical productions of all kinds.
In 1960, Edith married Dr. Edward Watson and moved to Lexington, NE where his medical practice was established. In 1967, the family moved to Seward, AK. In Seward, Edith was the organist for Resurrection Lutheran Church, directed the community choirs, and helped with other musical productions. They moved back to NE in 1972 and made Hastings their home near Ed’s parents. Edith continued to teach music in the public and district schools in Hastings. It was here that Ed died in 1978. On June 1, 1985, Edith married F. William Farnham, and they continued living in Hastings. Following Bill’s death in 2004, Edith moved to Suttons Bay, MI in 2004 to live near her family.
Edith remained very active with volunteer work, which filled her retirement years with much happiness. Edith was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Hastings, where she was an ordained deacon. Other organizations to which Edith belonged include Kappa Delta Sigma Iota International Music Fraternity for Women, Eastern Star, Shrine Hospital Auxiliary, Daughters of the Nile, and PEO Chapter EM. She was also an associate member of the Suttons Bay Congregational Church. When moving to MI, Edith quickly made friends with the SB Congregational and PEO families. She was a school grandmother extraordinaire attending all her grandchildren’s various school events.
Edith is survived by her daughter, Mary J. Hartman; stepsons, Ted (Emma) Watson and Ed (Katie) Watson Jr.; a sister, Maryellen Dietz; a brother, James Jensen; six grandchildren, Matthew, Ryan, and Sarah Hartman, Geoffrey, Ann, and Ted Watson Jr.; two great-grandchildren, Adeline and Virginia Watson, and many loving nieces and nephews.