Deceased March 26, 2016

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50th Reunion Book Entry 

In Memory

Dick Farwell slipped away thankfully in his Northbrook, Ill., home on March 26. With him was son Peter (Williams ’73 and Williams’ head cross country coach since 1979).

Dick entered Amherst’s “Hurricane Class” from New Trier High School in Winnetka, Ill. Among many fond memories: being drubbed at ping pong by eventual best friend Stephen Lancaster in Delta Tau Delta’s basement; winning the English department’s annual contest for best essay—as an econ major; and wandering off one night drunk, atypically, and on foot, frat brothers later recovering him near the New Hampshire state line … , or so he maintained.

During WWII, Dick learned German for the European Theater. But when 100,000 soldiers were abruptly redeployed from officer candidacy to combat units as privates, he ended up on Guam.

Postwar, he traveled the Midwest for nine years in his father’s pioneering management consulting firm. For the next 30 years, until retirement, he was personnel director for the Portland Cement Association. During a severe downsizing, he helped hundreds of engineers and research scientists find better jobs elsewhere.

A skilled poet, he once sent a poem he’d written to his wife, “Lines from Quiet Hours: 1960–2003,” to Richard Wilbur ’42:

I would catch you
in a magic net of love,
The web so yielding
it would break
If ever you should seek escape.
Yet so enchanting
It would earn the right
to hold you to me
Free, yet tight.

Because he had mentioned tending Helen, by then paralyzed for 10 years, Wilbur responded that he too was a caregiver in his 80s and enclosed “The Reader,” a rumination on his own wife.

Both these Richards, it seems, cherished connections nurtured by the College. Shortly before pneumonia took him, my father began whispering to his daughter-in-law and grandson, “Old Amherst’s Out For Business…” Having heard him sing it often, they joined in.

Steve Farwell ’71

50th Reunion 

Richard Farwell
My war service did not feature rank, medals, or combat.  Burn scars and poor sight held up my entry until the Army's initial "limited-service “draft in July, 1942. Though physically ineligible for OCS, I had the good fortune to receive two-year's education. First, one year's ASTP in German Area and Language at the University of Michigan in 1943, completed with honors. Next, German Language cryptanalysis training at MacDill Field, Florida- cut short after six months, as no more such specialists deemed needed in the ETO... Still a Private, I was sent to California to learn cryptography with the Signal Corps (AVN). Before finishing, I was flown to North Carolina to provide crypto for air-borne and glider maneuvers at Fort Bragg. Upon return, found my class had "graduated" and I was rushed as a replacement in the office of a Signal Co. (AVN) headed overseas.  During 1945 I served on Guam as a Corporal with the Headquarters Squadron, 20th Air Force.

Richard Farwell
In January, 1946, I began nine years as a consultant with Business Research Corporation- a pioneer firm in management consulting and a spin-off of the Insull utilities "empire." While with BRC, I attended night school at the University of Chicago, receiving an MBA in finance in 1953. I was named senior consult­ ant and treasurer a year later.  The firm was merged into EBASCO Services in 1955 and I opted for a career change to travel less and be with my family. A "temporary" job with Portland Cement Association led to 30 years in personnel work there. PCA grew to have 750 engineers and scientists at its peak and 400 support staff. Very interesting work. I received professional accreditation in human resources in 1980 and retired as Director of Personnel Services in 1985.  I married Helen Kaempfer, who had come home after service as a Lt. (j.g.) in the WAYES in Washington, D.C., in 1947.Finding Helen is the best thing that ever happened to me. We have three grown children: Steve (Amherst 1971); Peter (Williams 1973, now coaching staff there); and Amy (University of Illinois 1977); and two grandsons.

"Naturing" is my retirement enthusiasm. Field trips, hiking, photography, workshops, rock gardening and Bonsai fill our days. Helen, Steve and I have traveled the countryside twice in England and enjoyed every minute.

As  I look   back  at  Amherst years  I do  so  with thankfulness for  the  education available from  out­ standing professors in so many subjects and for friends and the beauty of the college's New England setting. Many  times  in my  life I have  relied  on  beliefs and information acquired at Amherst, and find I can sleep  nights  knowing I have done  my best to be informed, fair and honest.