Wanda Lynette Farr

Wanda Lynette Farr passed away peacefully on September 2, 2021, at home in Lawrence. She was 95 years old. Wanda was born on December 31, 1925, in Gainesville, Texas. Her family farmed. She worked alongside her daddy in the fields. He taught her to work hard, and that drive carried through the rest of her life.

Wanda met her future husband, Austin, when she was 16. After dating only a few months and knowing he would soon be drafted, they eloped and were married in Love County, Oklahoma. She was seventeen.

After she graduated from high school that spring, they told their parents of the marriage. Austin went through basic training with the army that summer and was deployed to Europe. Wanda and Austin did not see each other for 32 months. During that time, Wanda worked at Lorch Manufacturing Company and saved money for their future. When Austin returned, they moved to California where Wanda was a bookkeeper for Singer Sewing Machine Company. While there, she got a good deal on a top-of-the-line sewing machine that she proudly used the rest of her life.

After three years, they followed their hearts back to Texas and made their home in Dallas. Their daughter, Lynette, was born in 1950.

Two years later, Wanda returned to the work force. She kept records of parts in an office on the assembly line at Ling-Temco-Vought where they built fighter planes and missiles.

In 1960 she went to work for J.W. Bateson, a general contractor in Dallas employing 2000 people nationwide. The company’s buildings included the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Boston City Hall, and Texas Stadium. Wanda started off in the file room. With her high school education, she worked her way up to manager of the payroll department and Vice President of the company. Wanda was a hard-working woman in a man’s world.

In 1985 Austin died of cancer. Wanda retired in 1990, and 4 years later she moved to Kansas where Lynette’s family lives. It was a good move. She enjoyed watching her grand-daughter Risa play softball in high school and succeed in rowing and academics at KU. Her great-grandsons Liam and John gave her the greatest joy the last years of her life.

Among other things, Wanda was known for her amazing quilts, incredible cookies (just ask the rowing team about the 42 dozen cookies for the bus ride to Louisiana), beautiful gardens, and love for birds, KU basketball, Royals, and Cowboys. She touched many lives and will be missed by so many.

Wanda is survived by her daughter, Lynette, and husband Ray Petty; grand-daughter Risa and husband Keenan Kearn; great-grandsons Liam and John Kearn; and many Texas relatives and Kansas friends.

For those wishing to make a donation, the family suggests the Lawrence Public Library or Friends of Raintree Montessori. Condolences may be sent to Warren-McElwain.

3 Condolences

  1. Larry K. McElwain on September 4, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    Wanda was such a lovely lady, always so warm and friendly. She was a valued friend of our Mom, Donna McElwain, for many years. May she rest in peace now after a long and productive life.

  2. Anita Burkhalter on September 5, 2021 at 10:45 am

    I remember Wanda as my quiet, gracious neighbor. Early every morning she’d be out tending her beautiful flowers and yard that put the rest of us to shame. She was definitely a master quilter as well. Wanda had a rich life and I, with many others, was blessed to have known her.

  3. Deby Adrian on September 5, 2021 at 4:31 pm

    Dear Wanda,
    It brought tears of sorrow AND joy when I read of your transition. You made a lovely impression on me during the years when I w a s graced with your occasional presence. Today I have recalled each one of those times with fondness. You have been a force of caring, delight, and joy to my friends, the Petty’s and their circle of friends and family. May you rest in peace after a long and meaningful life.

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