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Ralph Farmer Jr.

The family will receive friends 5-7 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church in Dyersburg at the family life center, as the sanctuary is currently under renovations. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at First Baptist Church in Dyersburg.
The family requests that memorials be sent to First Baptist Church Building Fund, 220 West Masonic St., Dyersburg, TN 38024.
Ralph was born Oct. 17, 1933, in Memphis to Ralph Woodson Farmer Sr. and Lillie (Gillespie) Farmer, both of Coldwater, Miss. He attended the former Memphis State Training School and was in the first graduating class of East High School in Memphis. He attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture in 1955 and in 1956 he married the former Clara Roller Slack of Knoxville. He attended the University of Tennessee Law School where he excelled, serving as the editor in chief of the Law Review as a member of the Order of the Coif and of the Phi Delta Phi legal honor society. In 1959 he graduated with highest honors and also passed the Tennessee bar exam.
Upon graduation from law school, Ralph served his country in the Air National Guard in San Antonio, Texas. Following his service, he practiced law in Memphis with the law firm of Nelson, Norvell, Wilson, McRae, Ivy and Farmer for a decade. During this period, Ralph served in the Tennessee Legislature, first in the State House of Representatives and then later in the State Senate. As a state legislator, he sponsored legislation to help teachers in Tennessee and served as the chairman of the joint Senate and House Constitutional Revision Committee.
In 1970, Ralph moved his family and law practice to Dyersburg, first as a partner with the law firm of Ewell and Farmer and later with Farmer, Moore, Jones, Hamilton and Lay.
During his long and distinguished career as an attorney, Ralph had the privilege of representing hundreds of families and businesses in complex litigation. Because of his talents as a trial lawyer, he was named a fellow in both the Tennessee Bar Foundation and the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers. He also was a member of the Dyer County, Shelby County, Tennessee and American Bar Associations.
In addition to his professional associations, he served on the board of directors for Save Trust Bank and the American Red Cross, as well as several other local civic organizations.
After retiring in 1994, Ralph enjoyed 20 years of traveling, gardening and spending time with his family. Ralph also joyfully and faithfully served First Baptist Church in Dyersburg as a trustee and deacon, while also serving on several committees, including the current building committee.
Ralph is survived by his wife, Clara; his children; Woodson Randolph Farmer and his wife, Laura Farmer, of Germantown, Mrs. Whitney (Farmer) McDonald and her husband, James McDonald, of Memphis, Mrs. Wesley (Farmer) Conley and her husband, Steve Conley, of Union City; six grandchildren, Emmaline Farmer of Germantown, Clara, Thompson and Cole McDonald, all of Memphis, and Tripp and Caroline Conley, both of Union City; and his sister, Mrs. Nancy (Farmer) Kelly of Fairfield Glade.
Friends may sign online condolences at