After a valiant battle with cancer and its complications for 12 years, Charlie was called to walk with his Lord in Heaven on Feb. 21, 2021, at age 90.
Charles Farmer was known for his congenial personality, generous nature, integrity and infectious smile. He was a wonderful and loving son, father, grandfather, great grandfather, husband and community leader.
Charlie was born in South Newbury on Aug. 2, 1930, to the late James Clifton Farmer and Mary (Rowe) Farmer. He was also welcomed by his sister, Madeline, who was seven years older.
In 1935, his family moved to Keene, where he attended local schools, as well as Saint James Episcopal Church. At church, he sang in the boys choir and continued singing and performing most of his life. He graduated from Keene High School in 1948, where he excelled in track, basketball, chorus and the debate team. During high school summers, Charlie enjoyed working auctions. In the summer of 1949, he attended Reisch American School of Auctioneering in Mason City, Iowa. This resulted in a lifelong love of organizing and attending auctions. He called over a hundred auctions and continued to buy and sell privately even after retiring in Florida.
Charlie married his high school sweetheart, Betty Mugford of Keene, on Nov. 11, 1952. That was the beginning of a 47-year marriage and the welcoming of a son, Bruce, in 1955.
In 1954, he began his long career at the National Grange Mutual Insurance Company. He started as director of the New Hampshire/Maine Insurance Agency. He was later promoted to director of the New York State Agency in Syracuse, N.Y. The family moved to Cazenovia, N.Y.
Charlie and his family happily returned to Keene in 1968 when he became the Assistant to the President of NGM, as well as the vice president in charge of administration. In 1970, he was elected to the Board of Directors and continued working on projects and studies, government relations, industry associations, and became the liaison between the board and company. From 1972 to 1983, he served as secretary and treasurer. In addition, he directed the company’s activities with the National Grange Fraternity of which he was a lifetime member. He was for many years the chairman of the NGM Charitable Foundation Committee.
Charlie retired in 1984 after 30 years of dedicated service. NGM created a memorable tribute recognizing his contributions. The following are quotes from some of his colleagues and friends: “You never forget Charlie. It’s easy to make a home for him in your heart.” “One of the nicest guys I’ve met. One of the smartest, too.” “His leadership, sense of teamwork, company history and loyalty will never again be matched and will be missed by his colleagues.”
Always active in area business and community affairs, Charlie became a director of Cheshire National Bank, the Keene Clinic, and was an incorporator of the Cheshire Hospital and Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital. He served on the board of the Cheshire Fair, was a police commissioner in Keene, and a member of the Lions Club. He was chairman of the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, vice president and advertising manager of the Cheshire Fair, treasurer of the Keene Swamp Bats baseball team, and many other endeavors.
In 1984, he decided to try something new and was elected President and CEO of the Cheshire National Bank. He artfully guided the bank through several changes and increased its market until it became First NH Bank. In 1991, he retired but continued to be active in the banking community, serving on the board of directors of New London Trust and various other advisory capacities.
Charlie was an avid golfer and former member of the Cazenovia Golf Club, Keene Country Club and La Cita Golf and Country Club in Titusville, Fla. He was a volunteer coach for Cazenovia Youth Hockey and the Keene Hockey Club for many years.
He was predeceased by his first wife, Betty, in 2000; and his sister, Madeline Parquette, in 2008. They were a devoted couple and built a wonderful family and welcoming home. Charlie remarried in 2003 to Martha Felch Farmer. After Martha retired, they moved to Titusville, Fla., to enjoy golf and a less busy Florida lifestyle. He is survived by his loving wife of 18 years, Martha, of Viera, Fla.; his children: Bruce Farmer (Loraine), Thomas Spahr (Susan), Christopher Spahr (Guinea), Sarah Daume (David), Jodi Albertini (Russ), and Rick Searle (Tracy); his grandchildren: Emily Kopp (Michael), Jeffrey Farmer, Dylan and Samantha Daume, Justin and Angela Spahr, and Emma and Elise Albertini. He also had the pleasure of two great-grandchildren, Kendra and Landon Kop, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Funeral arrangements will be provided by the Foley Funeral Home in Keene. Services will be held at the St. James Episcopal Church followed by the burial and luncheon. Because of COVID-19 and New England weather, ceremonies will be delayed until late spring or early summer. A time and date notice will be published once finalized. For further questions regarding services please contact Foley Funeral Home. If you wish to leave a condolence or view the obituary, please visit www.foleyfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, a donation to one of the following or a charity of your choice is preferred by the family:
Keene YMCA, 200 Summit Road, Keene NH 03431
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, P.O. Box 414238, Boston MA 02241
Cedarcrest Center for Children with Disabilities, 91 Maple Ave., Keene NH 03431
VITAS Community Connection, 255 East Fifth St., Suite 1200, Cincinnati OH 45402