In Memory

Terry Farnsworth

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12/23/14 01:54 PM #1    

John Drewes (Drewes)

I grew up next door to Terry. We were inseparable. Best of friends growing up. I have a picture of Terry & me on top of a palomino pony all dressed up in our cowboy outfits.Terry's bedroom and my bedroom were across the driveway from each other. We strung a line across with a basket and sent each other secret messages. We played basketball in his driveway . . .it seems like such a large space but when I drive by now it's small and crowded. We walked to Havens everyday and were told to watch out for each other when crossing Oakland Ave. My older brother left earlier so he wouldn't have to walk with us and, of course, we wouldn't let Terry's brother (John) walk with us either. . . it wasn't cool. We went to the Havens Fair on the playground each sumer and purchased painted turtles and gold fish  . . . . some didn't even make it home. We were in the same class at Havens until the teachers and the principal (Mr. Brown) decided we were better off, and the teachers were better off, if we were separated. We spent weekends at Terry's family retreat in Calistoga; swimming, hiking and frolicking around. The Farnsworth had a jeep in Calistoga that they let Terry drive at an early age. That was cool. During the winter months, Terry's Dad would bring home Disney movies (reel to reel) and we'd watch them over and over. Then, when I was 14, we moved to "upper" Piedmont.  We stayed friends but we weren't as close as before. We both played football. Terry was a star early on but I don't think he grew much from 10th grade on. He kind of peaked early. But he contributed to PHS' success because he was quick and elusive. Then he went off to Berkeley and I into the merchant marines. I lost track of him during this stage of our lives . . . as I did with almost everyone. Terry married a gorgeous girl. Her name was Leslie, I think. I remember she worked for New York Life. She was established, career oriented. The problem was Terry wasn't ready to settle down yet. He let a good one get away. Our paths crossed less frequently as time passed. The last time I saw Terry was at a luncheon Jeff Warren arranged with another fraternity brother from Berkeley. I was surprised to see Terry was so sick . . . still chuckling and laughing but noticeably uncomfortable. I said my farewells to Terry off the stern of a boat in the San Francisco Bay. Several olds friends were there to say good bye as well.

He remained an interesting guy.

I wish I could go back and ride another pony with Terry . . . . we always laughed.

12/24/14 09:19 AM #2    

Shep Johnson

When I think about Terry it’s in little vignettes spanning 66 years.  I think about the boys we were at their house in Calistoga, running wild in the woods, swimming in the pool, finding arrowheads and learning to drive.  I think about Terry in their ‘67 Austin Mini Moke that I still drive and I think about his escaping to Calistoga when he’d had enough partying and fun in Piedmont. His parents and my parents were friends in college so Terry and I were introduced soon after we were born and before I can remember. Although we went to different elementary schools, our paths crossed on weekends in Calistoga and at Sunday School.  By high school we were back in the routine of having fun , getting in trouble together, just being boys.  I remember so clearly the night my family had dinner at the Farnsworth’s. Mr. Farnsworth reluctantly served us wine and then Terry and I left to go to a party.  They cautioned us, as usual, to have fun and be careful.  We had the fun part handled.  Terry backed out of the driveway in his dad’s new car and hit the retaining wall scratching the entire left side of the car.  We went to the party anyway and in typical Terry fashion he didn’t let the damage dampen his spirits.  At Berkeley, Terry and I lived together for awhile and later also at the UC alumni camp in Pinecrest.  After college we worked together in a restaurant the city. He was the best man at my wedding to my first wife, Lindy.  We were each other’s oldest friend and although our friendship had its highs and lows over the years, at the end I realized some things about Terry.  He was deep.  He was was private.  But, most of all, he was sensitive and caring.  It’s taken me awhile to synthesize my old images of Terry the partier with the deeper more sensitive Terry but it fits.  Looking back I see there were signs of that side in high school.  I spoke to Terry a few days before he died, even though he was seriously ill, he was upbeat and positive and I learned later that he had planned his own memorial service.  He was a good friend and I’ll miss him.      

12/24/14 05:34 PM #3    

Edward Lohmann (Lohmann)

Terry and I really connected in junior high school. I lived several blocks away from the Farnsworth's and truly enjoyed my friendship with Terry, spending many carefree afternoons at each other homes. Sports, especially football, became a binding gift between the two of us. We were both somewhat shy and I think we empathized with that trait in one another.

The summer of 1964, following our Sophomore year, was probably the most significant time we spent together. Terry and I had both earned C's in Spanish, during the school year at Piedmont, a grade that was entirely unacceptable to our parents. So away we were sent, to Oakland Tech, for summer school, to make up the grade, and to maintain an academic B average. Well, it wasn't all bad. Terry was allowed to drive the very cool World War II Willy's jeep, which his family kept at their ranch in Calistoga. He would pick me up in the morning, drive us to summer school, which ended each day at noon, and then I was his guest every afternoon at the Claremont Country Club, swimming and feasting on hamburgers and French fries. Life was pretty good!

We reconnected later in life, probably around 1975, a period of time that found us both struggling with careers, relationships and life in general. It was good to see one another and yet difficult to find how we were no longer the "Happy go Lucky" childhood friends, guys who had the world by the tail. 

We went our separate ways. Years later, I was so saddened to hear of Terry's passing. I look back on our time together with incredible tenderness, but especially with a big smile in my heart for my friend Terry Farnsworth.

07/16/15 05:47 PM #4    

Robin Leiter

I too recall Terry being shy.  We went to Havens together, but did not get to know each other then.  I do recall, if I'm not mistaken, that Terry was the one who was almost killed trying to help his dad put a t.v. antena up on their roof.  He took a terrible jolt of electricity.  I recall seeing him at school with patches of his hair burnt off and thinking what a miracle it was that he was alive.

I didn't know Terry well in High School either.  We hardly spoke to each other; which was fine with me at the time, as when some of the boys did speak to me it often wasn't to say anything that was very nice.

At our 20-year reunion I thought Terry looked so handsome.  We danced and he was very romantic.  After that we dated for a few months.  I stayed at the house in Calistoga with Terry and we had one of my German Shepherd pups with us. I have great pics of our time together.  All 3 of us played in the autumn leaves.  He and I stayed up late at night talking about our families & life in general.  I was very taken with how Terry missed his mother so very much.   I read him poetry and we sipped wine.  We went to some wonderful restaurants together and ate seafood.

As I came to know Terry better I discovered that he was tormented by some frightening ghosts and deep inner feelings.  Eventually, we had to go our separate ways.  However, I've never forgotten our time at Calistoga. What great fun and fond memories!




07/24/15 06:34 PM #5    

Robin Leiter

Hi all, I posted pics of Terry, mostly in Calistoga, on my Profile page.  Check out if you're so inclined.  Hope you enjoy too, Terry, from a peaceful & happy place.

Best to all!  Robin

07/25/15 11:04 AM #6    

Frank Sorba

Terry was always a gentle soul... very good natured and nice to everyone.  He took me one time with his family to their Calistoga home.. we drove his families jeep around their ranch ...  He was shy.. remember we nicknamed him Hermie the Hermit!   It was an affectionate nickname..   I was very saddened when told of his passing ... 


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