Winifred Hamrick Farrar
Winifred Hamrick Farrar, poet Laureate of Mississippi and a resident of Meridian, died on Saturday, November 6 in Auburn, AL after a brief illness. Funeral services will be Monday, November 15 at Central United Methodist Church, at 11 A.M. Visitation will be at the church beginning at 9 A.M. The Reverends Bob Rambo, Bob Peden, and Jim Wall will officiate. James F. Webb Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
She was born on the family farm north of Collinsville on March 5, 1923, to Howard E. Hamrick, Sr., and Javah Hodgins Hamrick, both of whom preceded her in death. In 1946 she married Robert H. Farrar of Amory, MS, and shared 63 happy years with him until his death in 2009. She was a member of Central United Methodist Church and sang in the sanctuary choir for 60 years. In memory of Mr. Farrar’s service and in honor of Mrs. Farrar’s, the church commissioned a choral anthem by composer K. Lee Scott. The anthem was performed for the first time at the church on October 24th.
An English teacher in the Meridian Public Schools for 24 years, she served as a classroom teacher, publications advisor, and chairman of the English Department of the Meridian High School before her retirement in 1976. Mrs. Farrar received a B.A. degree from the University of Mississippi and a M.S. degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. In 1980 she was awarded an honorary doctorate in literature from World University, New York.
Widely published, her poetry appeared in numerous magazines, poetry anthologies, and in three books: Cry Life, The Seeking Spirit, and Behind the Ridge. In 1973, her publisher, South and West, Inc., named her Poet-of-the-Year.
She received a lifetime appointment as Poet Laureate of Mississippi on July 31, 1978, by Governor Cliff Finch, succeeding the late Louise Moss Montgomery. A past president of the Mississippi Poetry Society, Mrs. Farrar was the Mississippi representative for Voices International, Inc., and for the World Poetry Society. She was a member of several literary organizations, frequently representing Mississippi at festivals, conventions, and conferences. She was an active poetry consultant, often a speaker, reader, critic, and poetry contest judge until just a few years before her death. In 2007, she appeared on Good Morning America, reading a poem that had been commissioned for presentation to Robin Roberts on a milestone show celebrating Roberts’ and Diane Sawyer’s co-anchoring of the show.
She received distinguished service citations from World Poetry Society Intercontinental, World Congress of Poets, and International Poets Academy. In 1988, she was awarded the Golden Laurel Leaves crown from United Poets Laureate International. She is listed in International Who’s Who in Poetry, Who’s Who of American Women, Dictionary of International Biography, and Who’s Who in Mississippi. She was also selected for Who’s Who in Mississippi Hall of Fame.
She is survived by her nephew, James Hamrick and his wife, Rhonda; niece Katherine Foley, and her husband, Brian; great nephew Kevin Hamrick, and his wife Erica; and great nephews Brian Hamrick, Ethan Foley, and Evan Foley. Her great niece is Kaylin Foley, and her great-great niece is Isabella Hamrick.