Obituaries

Cameron Ely Farquhar

Cameron “Cam” Ely Farquhar, 53, died in Santa Cruz, CA, on June 13, 2015, after suffering a massive heart attack.

 

Born in Detroit, MI, on April 12, 1962, he was a son of William E. Farquhar and Mrs. Anne “Mickey” McK. de Rham (Farquhar—Anne McKnight). Cameron spent his early years in Grosse Pointe, MI, moving with his mother to Norwich, VT, in the early 1970s. After his mother’s marriage to Charles de Rham, the family relocated to Bedford Hills, NY, and subsequently also resided in Katonah and Patterson, NY. Cameron attended The Harvey School in Katonah, Proctor Academy in Andover, NH, Barlow in Amenia, NY, and Simon’s Rock Early College in Great Barrington, MA. He graduated from the University of Michigan.

 

As he was growing up, Cameron summered at White Wings, the family house in Sugar Hill, NH. He spent many happy days at the Profile Club in nearby Franconia, where he not only learned how to swim and to play golf and tennis, but made lifelong friends, some of whom were to share fond recollections of Cam after his passing. A few choice samples hint at the qualities that endeared him to so many: “Among the many things I learned from Cammy were how to treat dogs, how to build a roaring fire, and how to charm other people’s parents while staying true to oneself.” “His laughter flowed like beer, and was equally intoxicating.” “He had a twinkle in his eye and he had a real way about him; he was special.” “He did it his way.” “His warmth, friendship, and sense of adventure gave me the courage to make choices that changed my life for the better.” “My best friend, Cameron Farquhar, who died…much too young.” Not to be outdone, a friend from his days as an adult in California recalls, “He was a bloody good man…funny…and a true friend. Loved him.” But perhaps the most poignant remembrances were offered by his mother, Mickey, and by his wife, Debbie (Harris—Deborah Jo Kassa): “He was my best buddy even when we were older. Never saying ‘no’ very often to him, made it hard for him to say ‘no’ to himself.” “He will always be an important part of the way I live my life. I realize how unique he was and how honored I am to have spent our life together. I miss him every day, every hour and every minute.”

 

Following his graduation from the University of Michigan, Cameron moved to California. He loved it there, and made the Golden State his home for the rest of his life, over 30 years. A talented woodworker, he specialized in custom kitchens, and also pursued various other woodworking projects that he created in his private shop.

 

Cam was a devoted follower of the Grateful Dead, so much so that he was for some time a “Taper”—a fan who made, collected and shared recordings of Grateful Dead performances. It is tragically apposite that his death parallels in certain respects that of Jerry Garcia, the Dead’s lead guitar and most prominent member. Both were 53 and died in California of a heart attack. And both were in the process of attempting to get their lives, derailed by substance abuse, back on track. Jerry Garcia died in a drug rehabilitation facility; Cam Farquhar while kicking an addiction to alcohol cold turkey, without professional help.

 

As a reflection of his life, and of what he held dear, his family and friends believe that Cam would feel it appropriate to share some of the lyrics to “Uncle John’s Band” (lyrics by Robert Hunter, music by Jerry Garcia):

 

Well the first days are the hardest days, don’t you worry any more

‘Cause when life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door…

Come hear Uncle John’s Band, playing to the tide

Come with me or go alone

He’s come to take his children home

It’s the same story the crow told me, it’s the only one he knows

Like the morning sun you come and like the wind you go

Ain’t no time to hate, barely time to wait

Wo-oh, what I want to know, where does the time go?...

 

Cameron was predeceased by his father; his maternal grandparents, Horace and Jean McKnight; and his paternal grandparents, James and Mary Farquhar. In addition to his mother and his wife, he is survived by his brother, William E. Farquhar; devoted stepmother, Betty Farquhar; stepchildren, Mindi, Anna, Grace and Israel; uncle, Donald McKnight; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

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