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Robert A.'Bob' Farmer, industrial engineer, dies

Robert A.'Bob' Farmer was a retired Lucent Technology industrial engineer who enjoyed running. He competed in the Maryland Marathon and also ran in the New York Marathon.
Robert A.'Bob' Farmer was a retired Lucent Technology industrial engineer who enjoyed running. He competed in the Maryland Marathon and also ran in the New York Marathon.

Robert A. “Bob” Farmer, a retired Lucent Technology industrial engineer who was interested in land-use planning, died March 21 from pancreatic cancer at his Bel Air home. He was 81.

Robert Arthur Farmer was the son of Fred Farmer, a building engineer, and Elizabeth Watson Howard Farmer, a registered nurse.

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He was born in Plainfield, N.J., and raised in nearby Cranford, N.J. He graduated from high school there, then served with the Army Signal Corps where he had studied ordnance and electronics, at Fort Dix, N.J., Fort Monmouth, N.J., and at the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama.

After being discharged, he enrolled at Union Junior College in Cranford, where he studied from 1955 to 1958. It was there that he met his future wife, the former Regina Knudson. They married in 1963.

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Mr. Farmer started his professional career at Stavid engineering in North Plainfield, N.J. He also worked with Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J., then took a job with Western Electric Corp.

In 1965, Mr. Farmer and his wife transferred to Baltimore with Western Electric and settled in Bel Air. He obtained an engineering degree from Johns Hopkins University and studied land-use planning at Penn State in Harrisburg.

He was appointed to the Harford County Planning Advisory Board, which in 1977 was responsible for recommendations related to the county’s master plan.

One facet of it was the Development Envelope whose goal was decreased development pressure that since that time has helped preserve rural areas.

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He also had worked for the predecessor of AT&T Technologies, and retired in 1996 from Lucent.

He coached in the Bel Air Girls Softball League, and coached the Snoopers’ 9-12 squad in tournament play. Other hobbies included playing bridge and gardening.

Her also enjoyed running — one of his favorite races was the Bel Air Town Run — and by the mid-1980s he was participating in the Maryland Marathon. He ran in the New York Marathon in 1985.

He did not care for triathlons because of the swimming, but liked run-bike biathlons and had a first-place finish in the U.S. National Championship in New York in 1988 in the 50-54 age group. In 1996, he finished first in the Maryland State championship in the 60-64 age group.

Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2012, Mr. Farmer made a sufficient enough recovery that he was able, at age 80, to run with his grandchildren in the 2017 Bel Air Town Run.

He was an active congregant of St. Albans Anglican Church in Joppa.

Plans for a memorial service are incomplete.

In addition to his wife of 55 years, he is survived by two daughters, Amy Farmer Cassilly of Havre de Grace and Beth Farmer Scheir of Fallston; a sister, Elizabeth Louise “Betty Lou” Farmer Lincoln of Connecticut; and five grandchildren.

--Frederick N. Rasmussen

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