James Augusta Farrar1937~2017
James Augusta Farrar was born on January 1, 1937 to Dan Hill Farrar and Jesse May Hicks Farrar in a Ford Model T on a country road near Madisonville, Texas on the way to the hospital. He passed away on March 19, 2017 in hospice care surrounded by four generations of family at his beloved beach house so that he could take his last breath of that Gulf air.
He is survived by his adoring wife of 51 years, Yolanda Ruiz Farrar, dutiful sons James Clifton Farrar and John David Farrar, and devoted daughters Gabriela Yolanda Howard, Kimber Leigh Farrar-Hopkins, and Jessica Cristina Farrar. His grandchildren are Alexander Lee Farrar, Mandy Alexandria Farrar, Tammie Yvette Farrar-Kennedy, James Daniel Farrar, Christopher Keith Howard, Robert Anthony Howard, Abigail Lynn Farrar, and Wyatt Augusta Farrar. His great-grandchildren are Daniel Alexander Farrar, Jasmine Faith Morris, Chloe Taylor McWillis, Marley Ann Kennedy, and Colton Wade Kennedy. He is predeceased by his parents, younger brother Dan Ray Farrar, paternal grandparents James Erwin Farrar and Minnie Gertrude Batson, and maternal grandparents Jesse Augusta Hicks and Eva Nolan.
He graduated from then Reagan High School, then studied architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. His career began as a draftsman then blossomed upon completion of his architecture apprenticeship. He worked at various architectural firms, including Irving Klein Architects, Neuhaus & Taylor, 3D International, Lloyd Jones Brewer and its firm incarnations, Hermes Reed Architects, and finally as a solo practitioner with his youngest daughter intermittently. He was licensed to practice architecture in all 50 states. By the end of his career, he had achieved Emeritus status at the American Institute of Architects. He helped design and build several signature buildings in Houston and around the nation, including his beach house that was his favorite place on the planet. He managed these projects involving millions of dollars, hundreds of personnel, and complex construction scheduling and methods, while still being regarded highly by his colleagues. His leadership style was known by others as management with “a velvet glove.” He was admired for his wisdom and kindness. He was a teacher who shared generously, training new generations of architects on how to complete large projects. He was an architect’s architect.
He was a lifetime learner spurned by his many passions and pursuits. When scuba diving was in its infancy, he fashioned his own scuba gear because of its unavailability. When the Macintosh computer came out, he became an expert in its use, then went on to build and repair his own personal computers. Until the end of his life, he mastered each new technology developed. He knew the Bible well, which he applied to his life as well as to understanding art and architecture from past centuries. He loved the outdoors, particularly hunting and fishing. But, that was not enough. He was also gunsmith, an expert marksman, a gun collector, and a mentor to many young sportsmen and women, including his sons and youngest daughter. He loved being in the company of his family, and especially going visiting relatives and family friends as he did as a child in the country. He would remind everyone of someone’s birthday, and would never miss a birthday party. But, that was not enough. He delved into the family genealogy, tracing its origins back to before William the Conqueror. But, that was not enough. He added to his family a long list of lifetime friends that he kept in touch with until his final days when he did not have the energy to log onto his laptop or talk on the phone. He loved photography. But, that was not enough. He collected cameras and could even develop film. He was also both the family photographer and the repository of vast family photo memories. He loved both motor and pedal biking. He rode his motorcycle into his 70’s even after a couple of falls, and he still rode his souped-up Schwinn bicycle purchased in the 1970’s with a pedal-powered headlight, also into his 70’s. He loved to travel, having visited major cities of the world, explored little known pockets throughout Mexico, and he was an expert of the country roads of Texas and the old streets of Houston.
He came to Houston from the community of Ten Mile located ten miles west of Madisonville, Texas with his parents and younger brother during World War II. He grew up in Houston’s East End, attending Burnet Elementary where his mother was a secretary. He lived a full life of eight complete decades. He was his own man. No one defined him, evidenced by his carefully manicured, signature handlebar mustache that he wore for four decades. He left life as he entered it and lived it – on his own terms.
Very special thanks to his doctors, Dr. Stanley Zimmerman and Dr. James Kao, the medical staff at Park Plaza Hospital, and his eldest daughter for her round-the-clock care, concern, and accompaniment in his final weeks.
His funeral arrangements are as follows: viewing from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on Friday, March 24th at Compean Funeral Home, 2102 Broadway, Houston, Texas; service at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 25th at South Main Baptist Church Chapel, 4100 Main Street, Houston, Texas; internment at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 25th at Rock Prairie Cemetery, 9065 Oxford Cemetery Road (County Road 429), Madisonville, Texas. Flowers may be sent to Compean Funeral Home, 2102 Broadway, Houston, Texas. In lieu of flowers, donations made be made to the charity founded by his middle daughter, Emily’s Legacy Rescue, Wichita Falls, Texas, https://m.facebook.com/emilyslegacyrescueinc.