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Medical missionary Grace Farrar dies at 88 (updated)


Grace Farrar (Photo via www.harding.edu)

Grace Angeline Farrar, a pioneering medical missionary to the West African nation of Nigeria, died Jan. 11 in an automobile accident in Tennessee. She was 88.
A memorial and celebration of her life is scheduled for 3 p.m. Jan. 26 at the College Hills Church of Christ in Lebanon, Tenn. Visitation is from noon until the service at the church. Partlow Funeral Chapel in Lebanon is in charge of arrangements.
Farrar and her husband, Dr. Henry Farrar, served as medical missionaries in Nigeria. They were the driving force behind Nigerian Christian Hospital, a church-supported medical mission in southeastern Nigeria.
No additional details about the accident were available. We will post updates as we get them.
Grace Farrar was scheduled to be honored as a “Woman of Hope” at the Women of Hope conference in February, sponsored by Healing Hands International. The church-supported ministry has a bio of Farrar on its website.

Grace is a farm girl at heart having grown up on a farm in southern Indiana. She spent most of early education in a one room school house, but graduated valedictorian of her high school. She then enlisted in the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps and as a registered nurse went on to get a B.S. degree in home economics from Harding College. This is where she met and married Henry Farrar and was able to put him through medical school on her nursing income.
In 1964, Grace and Henry moved their five young children to southeastern Nigeria to begin the Nigerian Christian Hospital. Until Henry went on to his reward in 2010, the couple continued to make regular trips to Nigeria to work in the hospital and serve those people. Grace has also served in Cameroon, Tanzania and China as both a nurse and an educator. She writes for Christian magazines and makes presentations across the country. She has six children and six grandchildren who bless her life tremendously every day.

Healing Hands International announced that they will honor Grace Farrar posthumously at the conference.
“We … want you to know that we still plan to honor this precious Woman of Hope,” said conference director Alisa Van Dyke. “Though we are sad that she will not be able to be with us in body, we know that her spirit will be very present and we look forward to this celebration of her life.”
Read our 2010 story about the death of Henry Farrar, and our recent blog post about the 2012 death of Iris Savio Hays, one of the first nurses at Nigerian Christian Hospital.

  • Feedback
    My Dad, Henry Farrar, always said that he “was saved by Grace….TWICE!”
    Marty Highfield
    January, 11 2013

    She made such a big impact on my life. She was the epitomy of a foreign missionary wife. She was my neighbor in Onicha Ngwa when I was a just beginning a missionary life. We bonded and stayed close through the years. I will miss her so much. She had a zest for life and such a great love for the Lord, her husband and children. I’m so thankful to have known her.
    Mrs. Windle Kee(Barbara)
    January, 11 2013

    Gracce and Dr. Farrar are what I consider icons of legacy, having influenced thousands by their life and work. I love what Marty said. Thanks for sharing that. It makes me smile. They both have their reward on high.
    Marlene Copeland
    January, 12 2013

    There never was a kinder, sweeter person than Grace. Sherry and I are blessed to know this wonderful Christian sister and her family.
    Paul Pollard
    January, 12 2013

    Sweet lady…precious memories of our time together here in Searcy.
    Deanna Brooks
    January, 12 2013

    The Farrars left a deep impression on Lebanon, TN – Henry in his way, Grace in hers. Each had a smile wide enough for the whole world, and the whole world was included in their dedication and work. So deeply rooted in the Lord were they that a lighthearted manner (Henry laughed and sang; Grace giggled)invited all comers to their hearts. Both were highly intelligent (notice their children!) and sprinkled their gifts over continents, with no concern for honors or acknowledgements. How blessed are we that knew them if only for a few years.
    Anne Donnell
    January, 12 2013

    Henry and Grace Farrar were marvelous examples of the best in Christian living. Their gracious attitude, humble spirits, and lifelong dedication to serving the Lord serve as witnesses to what serving Christ means. The happiest thought in Grace’s death is that she will be rejoined with her beloved husband Henry in the presence of the Savoir they both served throughout their lives.
    James Mackey
    January, 12 2013

    I always felt closer to heaven when I was in Grace Farrar’s presence. She brought light into the room. What a blessing she is to me and countless others. This world is a better place because Grace walked amongst us. May she be blest with the abundant blessing she gave to others.
    Da’Lynn Clayton
    January, 12 2013

    Grace and Henry were such remarkable people. They were true servants of God. I always loved it when Grace taught Bible class. She had many interesting stories to tell about their experiences in Africa. Grace had a kind and gentle spirit, and a laugh that you could never forget.
    May god comfort all her children, grandchildren and inlaws. She and Dr. Farrar will be waiting for all of us.
    Fran Dugger
    January, 12 2013

    I met Grace Farrar only once, when I responded to a “for sale” ad for their home place on Honey Hill Road I’d seen in the local paper. I’ve never forgotten her. She was welcoming and gracious, with a heart-warmer of a smile. Her hair was twisted up, she had on a worn but clean white shirt, slacks, and brown penny loafers with slits cut in them for comfort. We spent most of our time walking around the big yard. She showed me, among many other things, her asparagus bed by the driveway, the old lilacs across the back of the house, and a pussywillow that she had brought from Indiana. She told me that day that she was from French Lick, like the basketball player, Larry Bird. We made a quick run through the house, where I was amazed to see the same poster that I had kept in my classroom for years hanging in the hallway. It featured a picture of a butterfly and these words: “Happiness is like a butterfly. If you chase it, it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it comes and softly sits on your shoulder.”
    We did not buy the house then. Someone else did. But after another year or so, I saw that it was once more on the market. I couldn’t resist going to see it again. This time, we bought it and moved there in 1988. We lived there for almost 20 years and that is the place, more than any other, that my children call home. For all those springs, Mrs. Farrar’s lilacs bloomed and drew a riot of monarch and swallowtail butterflies. She had planted yellow daffodils across the front of the house by the nandinas. Spring after spring they bloomed, and I never picked a bouquet without being grateful that she had planted so many. And my granddaughters won’t forget picking apples from the old trees and baking pies.
    That day I met her, Mrs. Farrar showed me a green binder, her “House Book”. It was still in the house when we bought it. In it she had meticulously recorded everything about the place. She had painstakingly plotted every tree, the buildings, the placement of the septic tank and lines, and the property lines. From the book, one could learn everything they needed to know about living on those eight acres. That she included the addition of a fence and details about the survey came in handy years later when the property lines were disputed
    I felt blessed to live for so many years where Mrs. Farrar and her family had lived.
    Judy Bishop
    January, 15 2013

    Grace and Henry Farrar accomplished so many wonderful things during their lifetime for God’s kingdom, and made such a difference in so many people’s lives. I became acquainted with the Farrar family during my years at Harding College. Marty and I were friends and Phi Delta sisters at Harding, and I remember eating dinner once at the Farrar’s home. There was a lot of laughter and love shared during that meal, as I remember. As a guest, I felt very welcome and a part of their family. Back in 2011, I saw Marty and Grace at the Medical Missions Seminar in Dallas/Fort Worth, and she gave me a signed a copy of her book, “Stand By and See What the Lord Will Accomplish.” The book gave me an insight into the family’s days at the Nigerian Christian Hospital back in the 1960’s when the kids were growing up. Great book!! What a wonderful servant and lady she has always been to everyone!! We will all miss her!! I am thankful to have known her and her family.
    Joyce (Wolverton) Newhouse
    January, 21 2013

    Grace and Henry Farrar were two people who, as Jesus said about Nathaniel (John 1:47, KJV) “in whom is no guile! We had the distinct pleasure of having the Farrar family as guests in our home overnight while Dr. Henry Farrar participated in a World Missions seminar here in Greenville, SC in 1971, and we were truly blessed by their presence. Dr. Farrar was without a doubt the most selfless man I have ever known, and his wife Grace was aptly named, because she was truly a gracious lady. I will never forget Dr. Farrar telling the story about how he was so poor as a child he often thought of himself as the beggar Lazarus. But while they were working as missionaries in Nigeria, one day he saw a hungry man going through their garbage and realized that he was the rich man. The world is a lesser place for having lost this wonderful Christian couple, but heaven will be a better place because of them!
    Jack Scruggs
    January, 23 2013

    Dr. Farrar and Grace are two of my biggest heroes! I was blessed to get to live on the same compound with them and their sweet family in Nigeria in the mid 60’s. They impacted my life very much, just like they did with everyone they came into contact with.
    You could search a long time and not find better examples of true discipleship than Dr. Farrar and Grace.
    We will miss them,
    David Underwood
    David Underwood
    January, 23 2013

    I’ve known Grace from my childhood during the World War II years, when she came to Cincinnati to study at the Bethesda Hospital School of Nursing. She attended the Walnut Hills Church of Christ (now the Clifton congregation), shared my sister’s apartment, and became like another big sister. She and Henry visited at Clifton in recent years, and she was just the same lively, loving and enthusiastic person I remembered as a child, and I felt privileged to have known her. If you can’t imagine being a missionary in an undeveloped country, read her book of letters about her years with Henry, getting the African Christian Hospital up and running, despite having to escape from a military invasion and then rebuilding, and all the while caring for and teaching their five young children. She was amazing!
    Virginia Jo Kemp
    January, 23 2013

    I regularly met with Sister Grace and her Husband at onicha Ngwa whenever they visited on Missions. So sorry that she left this world to join her husband in eternity.
    I can hear her voice calling my name those years we met here and talked briefly about the Lord’s work and how man must be involved.
    Ma, may your gentle soul rest in peace , Amen. greet Daddy Henry there for us.
    UChenna F. Bekee
    January, 23 2013

    It has been a privilege to know the Farrar family. My parents were visiting missionaries at Harding at the same time the Farrars were there, and we went to Harding Academy with the Farrar kids. Later, when I was a student at Harding, Dr. Farrar hired me to build a tree house in their front yard. He was primarily concerned that it would be safe. I was told that it was still there, and still useable, many years later.
    My mother was very ill when we came to Searcy; Dad was faced with the prospect of raising 8 kids on his own. Dr. Farrar agreed to be our family doctor. He diagnosed her problem and probably saved my mother’s life.
    Ralph Williams
    January, 24 2013

    Growing up in Nigeria, the Farrars were a household name, loved and respected by all. Last year I started a book to honor sister Farrar and will never forget the long talks we had as I interviewed her and the wisdom she shared. My greatest regret is that she died just as the book went to press. I am heartbroken that she will not get to see the book published but honored that her story lives on in the lives of her children and grandchildren and in the book,Sister 2 sister- an interactive study of Today’s extra-ordinary women. Sister Farrar- esiere-O.
    Uduak Afangideh
    January, 24 2013

Filed under: Breaking News News Extras

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