Bob Farmer Has Left Us

June Barlas, Edmond Roberts, Bob Farmer and Sis Frank lime at The Marketplace. Photo Courtesy of Sis Frank

By Sis Frank

It just won’t seem the same without Farmer (that’s Mr. Farmer) discussing the events of the day with friends at Marketplace’s Book and Bean or Baked in the Sun, or Patrick’s by the post office. He and old time friends would read the newspapers cover to cover almost every morning. His comments were on the mark every time, full of good humor!

Bob was 79 years old, born in London, eventually becoming a steward on the Cunard Line, then went to Hawaii where he excelled as a landscape gardener.
Washington, D.C. was another stop along the way to St. John where he became the gardener for the Bill Callahans in the late 60s.


A dashing young Bob Farmer and a friend pose in Hawaii. Photo Courtesy of Sis Frank

Government Gardener
The late Governor Cyril E. King appointed Farmer as supervisor of the government gardens and park areas. He was known for his orchids, exotic cacti and bonsai bougainvillea.

Bob was a kind person who helped many friends. Andy Rutnik is thankful for his advice on creating Guavaberry Farms Landscaping. Charles Gustave met Bob when he came from St. Lucia to live on St. John in 1981, and became his adopted son.

His knowledge of classical music was impressive. He read everything written by the finest authors. The late Jack Dammann and Bob spent hours comparing notes on the latest best-sellers.

Over the years, Fred’s became Bob’s second home, as it has been for the ball teams and Lions. Bob visited with owner Fred Samuel almost every day in recent weeks.

There will be a memorial gathering for his friends within a week or two at Fred’s — come prepared to share your stories of “Mr.” Farmer’s full life on St. John. In the meantime, “Don’t get into nothin’!” (a favorite goodbye quote taught to Bob by an English childhood friend).