In Memory

William "Bill" Farris

William Leon “Bill” Farris, age 84, died at his beloved home on Lakeside Drive, Wednesday, December 26, with his devoted wife, Helyn, holding him and caring for him until he was at permanent rest. He had struggled for a number of years with myelodysplasia and all of the extended ramifications of this blood disorder.

Bill was always grateful for the added days that allowed him to be part of grandchildren’s weddings, great grandchildren’s births and birthdays - and the birth of his last grandson, the only one to carry the Farris name into the future.

A fifth generation Texan, Bill was proud of his ancestor’s contribution in winning Texas independence and settlement of the area of present-day Montgomery, Grimes, Madison and Walker Counties. He was born 21 March 1928, in the family home 10 miles southwest of Huntsville in Walker Co., the eldest child of Emmett Lester Farris and Emmie Edna Leonard Farris.

His parents were 5th cousins, both descended from 17th century immigrants along the James River of Virginia, later they were early settlers of middle Tennessee before permanent settlement in Texas in the 1830s.

Bill met and courted his future wife while on a ten day furlough before deploying with the Signal Corps of the 40th Infantry Division for Japan and Korea in 1951. It was a wartime, whirlwind courtship with both committing to each other before his departure. Upon his return following 18 months overseas in the Korean War, he immediately married Helyn Lorena Hobbs in the wedding chapel of Riverside Methodist Church in Houston on November 24, 1952.

They have been lovers, best friends, business partners, and constant companions ever since. Bill’s long life allowed them to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary at their home surrounded by their family November 24, 2012.

The love and joy of his family was at the core of Bill’s life. The children born to his marriage and today all survive him are Candyce Dawn Farris Dixon and husband, Dale, of Huntsville; Melody Leigh Farris Grigar and husband, Michael, of Eagle Lake; William Richard “Rich” Farris of Plano.

Grandchildren are Alyssa Dixon Crockett and husband, Paul, of Houston; William Dale Dixon and wife, Melissa of Houston; Lucas Dixon of Los Angeles, Cali.; Lance Grigar and wife, Carrie of Fulshear; Lori Grigar Chapman and husband, Will of Fulshear; Nicole Farris and Dylan Farris of Plano.

Bill is also survived by five great grandchildren: Laila and Caine Chapman, Gunner and Halleigh Grigar, and Brayden Dixon.

Other survivors are a brother, Harold Farris and wife, Nancy, of Victoria; sisters, Mrs. Robert H. (Doris) Turner and Mrs. Delbert (Della) Robinson; and brother-in-law James L. “Red” Wells, all of Huntsville,as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Preceding Bill in death were his parents; a brother, Carl Gaylord Farris; and a sister, Anna Merle Farris Wells.

Bill retired from AT&T after 30 years service. At the end of his telephone career, he was supervisor of the central offices of Columbus, Eagle Lake, Sealy, Hempstead, Prairie View, and Waller.

This was followed by a 20 year career as owner of The Farris 1912, the local hotel that he and Helyn restored and operated as a widely known hunting lodge and hospitality facility.

Bill Farris left his legacy on many local organizations. He was a past president of Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, Little League, and United Way. He also was County Chairman of the American Red Cross and served on the Eagle Lake city council. He served as president of the Eagle Lake I.S.D. school board as well as Rice Consolidated I.S.D. board. He gave a total of 10 years to the betterment of education for the children of southern Colorado County. He and Helyn were instrumental in the organization of Texas Historic Hotels and Inns Association in the 1980s.

The three things that Bill cited as the great satisfactions in his life were his family, the role he played in the creation of Rice Consolidated School District, and service for his country as a platoon sergeant in Korea where he served in the 40th Infantry Division’s Signal Corps in communications at Command Headquarters.

At Bill’s request no funeral or memorial service was scheduled.