Allan Andrew Farber, age 82, of Papillion, NE, formerly of Walnut Grove, passed away Sunday, August 30, 2015 at the Huntington Park Care Center with family by his side. Memorial services will be at 3:00 p.m. Friday, September 4 at the English Lutheran Church in Walnut Grove. Visitation is 12:00 noon Friday until the time of services. Burial is in Walnut Grove Cemetery. Online condolences may be sent at www.stephensfuneralservice.com. Stephens Funeral Service – Walnut Grove Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
Allan Andrew Farber was born, August 8, 1933 on the Farber farm, 2 miles west of Walnut Grove, MN to Andrew August and Hazel Mae (Harriman) Farber. He was baptized as an adult at United Methodist Church in Walnut Grove. Allan, otherwise known as Big Al, graduated from Walnut Grove High School in 1951 as a great student and a multisport athlete. He attended South Dakota State College (SDSC) in the fall of 1951 to study agriculture and play college football. His 1st stint in college was short lived as he had to return home before completing the first quarter of college to help with the farm due to the untimely passing of his brother, Howard, in October of that year.
In the fall of 1952, before being drafted into the Army, Allan was introduced to boxing by a Golden Gloves coach from Pipestone. Al boxed for a year where he competed in Golden Gloves bouts. It was on the WGHS stage while training, when he first met Marilyn Pieper, a 1st grade teacher. Although Al was a good boxer, it was Marilyn who apparently “knocked” his socks off, setting the stage for the rest of their lives. Allan started dating Marilyn in the summer of 1953.
In January of 1953, he reenrolled at SDSC playing freshman basketball, but that was cut short because he was drafted into the Army due to the Korean War. He entered basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri but not before getting engaged to Marilyn on his birthday, August 8. While on leave, Allan and Marilyn were married on January 30, 1954. In April of 1954, Al was assigned to Fort Belvoir, VA where he received his Engineering Certificate of Proficiency and finished as one of the top in his class. In July of ’54, Allan was reassigned to Germany where he was part of the Engineer Battalion and again played football. Allan was a gifted letter writer. He wrote every week, if not every day to his mom & dad and Marilyn. He would keep the family posted on what he was doing, and the activities he was involved in. He returned from Germany and left the Army in the summer of 1955 to start farming with his dad and worked as a mechanic part-time at the Walnut Grove Airport.
Over the next 13 years, Al and Marilyn had 6 children. Because of the challenges of making a living at farming in the 1960’s, Al took on a part time post office clerk job, to supplement the farm income. This led to a full time rural mail carrier position in 1972 with the Walnut Grove Post Office. He farmed until his sons went to college. He raised livestock and did the mail route until he retired in 1995. Although Al worked extremely hard providing for his family, he never missed opportunities to be involved in his children’s lives; whether it was watching them in their sporting events, performing in their music activities and plays, or visiting their kids wherever they lived.
Al was very active over the years, always participating and giving back to the community he so loved. His community activities included the American Legion and Honor Guard, the “Shetek Plainsmen” Barbershop Chorus, Lions Club, the WG school board, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant Committee and the English Lutheran Church Council and Sunday school. His hobbies were bowling, church choir, dancing, hunting and fishing, card club, wood working, gardening, traveling and community plays. He had a special passion for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant, where he was best known for portraying Mr. Kennedy, who climbed up the steeple, raised the cross, and placed it, praising God with a fist in the air as a sign the community was now complete. He was dedicated and committed to the pageant from the beginning, even renting his Plum Creek land to the pageant since 1979; where the world famous production has been held ever since. Al retired from the pageant after Alzheimer’s started robbing him of his memory. Al always loved to smile and tell jokes. He was always known for his witty personality and his “eye-rolling” one liners. Al loved to laugh and make others laugh as well. He is the epitome of the phrase you see so often, “Live well, Laugh often, Love much”.
Grateful for having shared his life are his 6 children; Jeff (Sue) of Walnut Grove, MN; Tom (Lori) of Britton, SD; Brad (Nadine) of Bruce, SD; Bret of Watertown, SD; Louise (David) Dornbusch of Papillion, NE; and Amy Farber Knowles of Cedar Park, TX; 18 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren and sister, Betty Bannick of Walnut Grove, MN. Preceding him in death were his parents, his brothers William, Maurice, and Howard, and his wife Marilyn. Al was loved greatly by his family and friends. Blessed be his memory. May his legacy live on!