After Easter this year, an amazing man will retire from ministry at Saint Michael after more than 55 years. Leon Farmer, one of the cornerstones of this wonderful parish, has decided to begin a new chapter in his life. There are no words worthy enough to celebrate a man who embodies the heart and soul of Saint Michael, so instead, I want to say thank you. Thank you, Leon, for a life of service in love for all of us at Saint Michael. Thank you for manifesting the light of Christ each and every day. Your time, your presence, and your sweet spirit have helped to make Saint Michael the church it is today, and we will all be forever indebted to you.
Rector Christopher D. Girata
Perhaps the greatest link to the earliest generation of Saint Michael and All Angels is calling it a day. After 55 and a half years of faithful service, Leon Farmer has decided to retire on Easter of this year, April 1. Vicar Bill Murray sat down with Leon to learn more about his decision.
Bill: This is a big moment in the life of this church. Why retire now, Leon?
Leon: My body is slowing down a bit. My back went out on me. It has happened before but this time it made me take notice. I haven’t been able to recover as quickly and do what I like to do. The marble floors are tough on me too. I’m used to moving but my feet, my knees, and my back are telling me to slow down. My wife has been asking me to retire for a while too.
Bill: Who hired you and when exactly was that?
Leon: August 1, 1962. That was when I started. A.B. Fisher, the business administrator, hired me. Father Taliaferro was the priest. I didn’t get to know him too much. He left after I had been here three or four months.
Bill: Did you plan on staying here for the next 50 years?
Leon: No. My dad was running a lawn business and I was helping out. Those are long hours. I wanted to get away from those long days and maybe have some regular hours. I figured I’d stay for two or three paychecks and then figure something else out. 55 years is a whole lot more paychecks than I thought.
Bill: What are some of the memories you have?
Leon: Too many to name. I remember the 20th anniversary celebration of my hire. I remember the 40th and 50th too but the 20th was not expected. I had no idea what to look for or expect. I remember Bob Massad gave me a Ford Station Wagon for that one. I have met a lot of folks. A lot of good folks have been here.
Bill: What will you miss about Saint Michael after 55 years?
Leon: I’ll miss waking up at 4 am to come to work. I imagine I will keep waking up at that time though. It is pretty much a habit by now.
Bill: Leon, I have only been here 4 years, but I cannot image this place without you. I know there are families who have known you all 55 years that feel this even more deeply. It is the passing of a major moment in the life of Saint Michael. What would you like to say to everyone?
Leon: Well, I am thankful for 55 years plus. I am thankful for all the families who have trusted me. I have enjoyed seeing all the different generations come and go. It’s been a good ride.
Leon will retire after services on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018. You are invited to celebrate his life and ministry at a festive celebration following our Pentecost services on Sunday, May 20. When you see Leon in the next few months, please thank him for all he has done for us. If you would like to contribute to a gift from the parish, please send your check to the church with “Leon Farmer gift” in the memo line. Well done, faithful servant!