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Farmer remembered for service to Caroline

November 21, 2012 12:10 am


Robert Farmer retired from the Caroline County Board of Supervisors in 2008.


Longtime Caroline County supervisor and Bowling Green town councilman Robert W. Farmer died Tuesday morning. He was 86.

Farmer, a lifelong Bowling Green resident who graduated from Caroline High School in 1944 and served in the U.S. Navy in 1945 and 1946, spent 22 years as a justice of the peace and a magistrate.

He entered politics in 1980 when he was elected to the Bowling Green Town Council, on which he served for eight years. In 1987 he was elected to represent the Bowling Green District on the Board of Supervisors.

The self-described "lifelong Democrat" was re-elected to four consecutive terms and served for 20 years before retiring in 2007 for health reasons.

As a supervisor, he told The Free Lance-Star in 2008, he tried to meet the needs of the health, safety and welfare of all people in Caroline County.

"There's no use running for public office if you think you're going to satisfy everyone," he said. "If you want to accomplish something, you've got to work together."

His service on the board included multiple stints as chairman and vice chairman.

One of his big contributions to the county included the renovation of the former Union High School into what is now known as the Community Services Center. The center has a public library, recreational space and an auditorium.

He also helped establish the county's first rescue squad, Bowling Green Volunteer Rescue Squad, and he served on it, too.

Farmer also took particular pride in his role in promoting development of the county's first utility system in Carmel Church, increased economic development, jobs and tax revenue, increased funding for education and community beautification, and the completion of the Bowling Green bypass. There is also a park named in his honor.

Those who worked with Farmer said he was an institution in Caroline.

"Bob Farmer served his native county with great distinction" said Board of Supervisors Chairman Wayne Acors, who served with Farmer for 20 years. "He was a dedicated public servant and a dear friend. We will miss him terribly, but take comfort in the many fine memories of his service and the legacy that he leaves behind."

Former Caroline County Administrator Percy Ashcraft, who now works in Prince George County, said Farmer played an inspirational role in his life and was a great statesman.

"Bob Farmer knew the art of compromise in the political arena and he showed dignity, concern and respect for everyone in which he associated. As employees, he looked beyond our service to the county and took a deep interest in our families and the personal side of our lives," Ashcraft said. "He brought a set of values to public service that can't be learned from textbooks. He was genuine in both thought and deed."

Professionally, Farmer was a Nationwide insurance agent in Bowling Green for 37 years before retiring in 1994.

When Farmer wasn't volunteering on a myriad of public service boards, he spent his Sundays at Bowling Green Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon and greeter.

Caroline County flags will be flown at half staff in his honor.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419

Copyright 2014 The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company.