Mary E. Farnsworth

12/07/2010 2:45 PM |

Mary Farnsworth

Mary E. Farnsworth, 91, formerly of Iowa City, Iowa, died Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010, at San Simeon by the Sound Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Greenport.

Funeral services were held Monday, Dec. 6, 2010, at First Baptist Church in Iowa City. Burial followed at Memory Gardens Cemetery. Visitation was Sunday, Dec. 5, at Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service. In lieu of flowers memorial donations can be made in her memory to San Simeon by the Sound, 61700 Route 48, Greenport, NY 11944. Online condolences may be sent through the web at

Mary Elizabeth Smith was born Feb. 8, 1919, in Iowa City, Iowa, the daughter of Clifford and Velma (Hartsock) Smith, and the eldest of nine children. She graduated from University High School in Iowa City in 1936 and Irish’s Business College in 1938. She was united in marriage with Lee J. Farnsworth on June 8, 1949, in Lincoln, Neb. The couple and their family lived in Washington, D.C., and Waterloo, Sioux City and Denison, Iowa, prior to returning to Iowa City in 1974 in order to be closer to their extended family.

Mary enjoyed a 50-year career as a legal secretary, working for a number of attorneys before joining the war effort where she worked on classified government materials in Washington, D.C., and later in Detroit, Mich. She finished her legal career with the McMurray law firm in Iowa City. She was a longtime member of First Baptist Church and held a variety of offices with the church and the Iowa City chapter of the Association of Christian Women.

Mary was an avid reader and a talented craftsperson, taking great pride in her sewing, knitting and quilting projects. She was also known for her large collection of hats, an accessory she was seldom seen without.

Her family includes her two sons and their wives, Jack and Jamie Farnsworth of Mattituck and Steve Farnsworth and Paula Catterall of Medina, Ohio; granddaughters Lori Schmier (Paul) and Kristine Flashner (Evan); grandson Jackson Farnsworth; great-grandchildren, Travis, Jake, Braden and Hayley; siblings, Maxine Myers (Eddie) of Bellwood, Ill., Florine Roegler of Iowa City, Velma Fisher (Bob) of Iowa City, Marjana Lamp (Pat) of Iowa City and Clifford “Sonny” Smith of Lone Tree, Iowa.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Lee; and three sisters, Lily Mae Parrish, Luella Jean Holmes and Betty Brenneman.

This is a paid notice