Everyone has a story to tell. It’s too bad in this day and age that we often do not take time to get to know our neighbors and learn their interesting experiences. Most people are reticent to share their lives, but a visit with Ken Farr of Mountain Green is both entertaining and touching. Like any good story-teller, Farr can have you laughing one minute and shedding a tear the next.
Farr has lived in Mountain Green since 1975, but grew up in Ogden during the Depression. He remembers as a youngster a favorite family activity was swimming at Como Springs.
Farr’s father died while he was a teenager, and he grew up fast, working many jobs while still in school. He was an usher at the Old Paramount Theater and had a newspaper route. He decided to join the Navy right out of high school.
On his last leave home for Christmas, Farr invited his wife-to-be, Marlene, out on their first date. By the second date, he proposed (her answer was “well, I guess”), and they were married the next June. He and Marlene were married 64 years before she passed away a year ago.
When Farr and his wife were first married, they lived in a remodeled chicken coop behind his mother’s house in Ogden. In addition to working at the fire department, he built a new red brick home, framing and even doing the brick laying. It took them several years to complete their new home and move into it. Farr says even though it was cold in winter and hot in summer, living in the chicken coop wasn’t so bad because of the closeness of the family. “We had some fun times with our children Carol and Becky while living there.”
Farr was a fireman in Ogden for about 15 years. He remembers the camaraderie of the fire station, as well as the men cooking and eating meals together while waiting for calls. He has many interesting stories of rescued children, maimed adults and loss of life from accidents and fires in Ogden. Farr recalls that while painting the fire station, he managed to dump a bucket of green paint on himself while climbing up the ladder, much to everyone’s amusement.
After a brief time in Bellingham, Wash., where he joined the sheriff’s department, he returned to work for Ogden City Police Dept for 15 years. He and Marlene built another home themselves—brick by brick—when they returned from Washington State. They lived there from 1968 to 1975, when they moved to Mountain Green.
Farr retired from Ogden City with combined service of 30 years. Ken compares being a fireman and policeman. “It’s hard to compare because the two are different. Working for the fire department is great, but you have to spend long periods of time away from family. Working for the police department is rewarding if you are willing to see both the good and the bad sides of life. The police are not always the ones the public loves and admires while the firemen usually are. What kid doesn’t get excited seeing a big red fire truck rolling down the street, sirens screaming?
“Policemen sometimes suffer from being stigmatized, but they are people just like anyone else. Officers live in neighborhoods, have families and buy houses. They are real human beings with real emotions. They’re the ones who most turn to when trouble strikes. However, not everyone is cut out to be an officer. It takes stamina, courage and a bit of luck.”
Farr is a storyteller extraordinaire. His years working as an Ogden police officer have given him many interesting life experiences dealing with people, some hardened criminals and some down-and-out folks that need a wake-up call.
Daughter Becky Lee said, “I am always amazed at how many lives Dad has touched. I find out about new experiences all the time. My boss recently told me that while her father worked for the fire department, he answered a call about a woman who was very distraught and threatening to commit suicide. When he got there, the woman picked up a gun and pointed it to the fireman’s head. A police officer quietly came up behind the woman and grabbed the gun out of her hand. That officer was my father, Kenneth Lee Farr.”
Farr was once shot at while sitting in his patrol car filling out reports by theives who thought he was there to capture them. Luckily, the two shots missed; one by two inches. His grandfather also served with the Ogden police force and died in the line of duty.
Farr took photos of many crime scenes and collected fingerprints, which were many times instrumental in catching the bad guys. One of his most sensational cases was the so- called “Hi-Fi murders” in Ogden in the 1970s. He was one of the first officers on the scene and documented the forensic evidence. Farr was also present at the arrest of two of the suspects at Hill AFB. He has been exposed to the good side of humanity and humanity at their worst.
While working as a policeman, Farr also worked as an electrician on the side to help support his ever-growing family. The couple have six children; one child, a boy, died at birth. He raised four girls, Carol, Becky, Kathy, Michele and one boy, Kenneth Farr, III.
Farr is also an accomplished artist and good writer, a Renaissance man.
Everyone who lives a long life experiences tragedy, and Farr has weathered the loss of both a son and a daughter in the last few years as well as his loving and beautiful wife Marlene. One would never know he had these difficult experiences and also seen the darker side of life by visiting with him because he is so affable and humorous.
He said, “I used to think my job was to make everyone laugh.” Ken, you still make people laugh.