SIDNEY SAYLOR FARR: 1932-2011

Appalachian author Sidney Saylor Farr dies

kward1@herald-leader.comJune 7, 2011 

Appalachian author Sidney Saylor Farr, 78, of Berea died May 27 after a long illness.

She wrote a number of books, including More Than Moonshine: Appalachian Recipes and Recollections; Appalachian Women: An Annotated Bibliography; What Tom Sawyer Learned from Dying; Headwaters, a book of poetry; and a memoir, My Appalachia.

Ms. Farr worked for many years as special collections librarian at Berea College's Hutchins Library and for 14 years was editor of the journal Appalachian Heritage.

Ms. Farr, who grew up in Stoney Fork in Bell County, was forced to leave school in the seventh grade to care for her nine younger siblings because her mother became ill.

She married at 15 and later moved to Indianapolis with her first husband, Leon Lawson.

She went on to get a high school diploma through correspondence courses.

She and Lawson moved to Berea in 1962, and Ms. Farr worked as associate editor of Mountain Life and Work magazine.

The couple divorced in 1967; she was married for a time to Grover Farr.

Ms. Farr went to work for Berea College and took classes part-time, earning a bachelor's degree in 1980.

Appalachian historian and author Loyal Jones of Berea said Ms. Farr was a "respected author" who was friends with several other noted Kentucky writers.

He said she also had a knack for "making friends with unusual people."

"She really was open to almost any kind of thing," Jones said.

He said her early years were marked by difficulty, but she "had great courage and imagination and took advantage of ... what life offered and ran with it."

"She had a rich life, and it was a literary life to a great extent," Jones said. "She was a remarkable woman."

Ms. Farr is survived by two sons, Dennis Wayne Lawson of Berea and Bruce Alan Lawson of Lexington.

She will be remembered with a memorial service at 1 p.m. June 18 at Union Church in Berea.

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