Lonnie Wayne Farmer died peacefully on February 24th, 2016 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the age of 75.
Wayne was born in Steubenville, Ohio, to James Walter Farmer and Mildred Culp Farmer. After attending Steubenville High School, he went on to play football briefly at Northwestern for Ara Parseghian, and then for Scrappy Moore at the University of Chattanooga, where he was a standout linebacker. Once there, coach Andy Nardo convinced him to try wrestling, and he was the Southern Intercollegiate Wrestling Champion in 1962 in the 190 pound weight class.
After graduation, he went on to play Middle Linebacker for the New England Patriots from 1964 until 1966, when his playing career was cut short by injury. He was an executive with Gulf Life Insurance Company for almost twenty years, and he completed his career in the banking and mortgage lending industries. He was inducted into the UTC Athletics Hall of Fame in 1987.
Wayne loved spending time with friends and was an avid handball player at the Sports Barn for many years. Wayne’s friends knew him as an exceptionally patient man with a sunny attitude and a ready smile.
Mr. Farmer is survived by his second wife, Betty Sue Ayers Farmer; his sister, Martha Gargala of Steubenville; his children, Wayne Evans Farmer, Knox Smartt Farmer, and Elizabeth Farmer Black; his step-children, Susan Lynley Welsh and Timothy Ayers Kelly; and by his grandchildren, Gaston Evans Farmer, Kinsey Grayson Farmer, Walter Evans Montgomerie Black, Julieanne Elizabeth Black, Caroline Oradee Black; and his step-grandchildren John Livingston Ayers Kelly, William Cannon Kelly, Isabel Eloïse Welsh, and Edward Christian Augustus Welsh, to whom he was always “Granddaddy.”
The family would like to thank Dr. Adele Ackell for her help during the last years of Wayne’s life.
The family will receive visitors at Wann Funeral Home from 12-2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1, and there will be a graveside service at Forest Hills Cemetery immediately following. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Mr. Farmer’s life.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) Center at Boston University at www.bu.edu/cte/financial-support.
Arrangements are by Wann Funeral Home & Cremation Center, 4000 Tennessee Ave., Chattanooga, Tn. 37409, 423 821-7551.
Share your memories at www.wannfuneralhome.com.