Evelyn Ann Farris was a life-long resident of Beckley, WV who felt strongly about supporting your local community, merchants and church. Miss Farris directed that a portion of her estate be left to a nonprofit organization. Her family has chosen to honor her wishes and her memory by establishing The Evelyn A. Farris Fund at the Beckley Area Foundation. The endowment was created as an unrestricted fund to be used to support BAF’s Annual Community Grant Program for Raleigh County.
The daughter of Gus and Jamile Salem Farris, Evelyn was one of 10 children. Gus came to America in 1907 at the age of 17 and worked for merchants in Charleston, WV before starting his own business in Beckley. The Gus Farris Department Store was a family owned clothing store that served the Beckley community for 80 years. Miss Farris spent her career as an owner and operator of the store along with three of her siblings until it closed in 1991.
Miss Farris did not have children of her own but she was very devoted to her family and cared for her parents and several siblings in ill health. Her extended family was very important to her and she taught her nieces and nephews that “your health is your wealth”. She was a member of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.
During her lifetime, Evelyn established two unrestricted funds in memory of her siblings, The Elmer J. Farris Memorial Fund and The Isabel M. Farris Memorial Fund. These funds were also set up to benefit BAF’s Annual Community Grant Program. Her nephew, Mike Farris stated, “Aunt Evelyn would be pleased to know that the BAF fund will help those in her community live a better quality life by practicing wise use of funds.”
Anyone interested in making a donation to this fund may mail contributions to BAF, 129 Main St. Suite 301, Beckley, WV 25801 or visit our website, www.bafwv.org, to donate online. If you are interested in starting an unrestricted fund, call the Foundation at 304-253-3806 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evelyn Ann Farris (January 15, 1923 – May 3, 2017), was the ninth of ten children born to the late Gus and Jamile Salem Farris. She was born in Beckley, West Virginia and lived her entire life in the family home on East Main Street. When Evelyn’s health began to fail in 2013, she moved to The Villages at Greystone in Beaver, West Virginia. Miss Farris was a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School and Beckley College. She spent her career working in the family business, Gus Farris Department Store, where she worked until the store’s closing in 1991.
An avid cook and hostess, Miss Farris was known for her entertaining skills. She hosted many dinners and gatherings for family and friends where her native Lebanese dishes always found a welcome audience. She was a seasoned traveler having made her way around the globe. Evelyn was a member of the Laurel Business and Professional Women’s Club, Catholic Daughters of America, and a life-long member of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.
Evelyn never married but her host of nieces and nephews were her “children.” Evelyn had a special gift of selflessly caring for the sick and elderly, displaying patience beyond imaginable. Evelyn traveled to New Hampshire twice to help her younger sister care for her two sons who tragically died at very young ages. Then she returned to Beckley to care for her mother Jamile for a number of years until her death in 1961. Following her mother’s death, Evelyn’s father Gus became bedridden and she cared for him until his death in 1967. Following his death, Evelyn returned to the retail business where she worked until the store closed.
Several years after retiring her older sister Isabel was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Evelyn loving cared for her for a number of years until her death in March 2006. During Isabel’s illness, Evelyn’s brother Elmer also became ill and bedridden. Evelyn cared for him along with Isabel until his death in November 2006. Evelyn’s hospitality skills were evident in each of these circumstances – meals were nutritious and tastefully presented on serving trays. And for her father, there was always a fresh flower in a vase.
In addition to her parents, Evelyn was preceded in death by her siblings Alice Farris Lynch, Felix Farris, Joseph Farris, Isabel Farris, Elmer Farris, Helen Farris Hayes, Dr. James T. Farris, and Dr. Frederick P. Farris. She is survived by one sister Florence Farris Boisse of Manchester, New Hampshire.