A life well lived

The Leader-Telegram paid tribute to BJ Farmer with a front-page article after his passing on Sept. 27.

I was pleased to see the picture of BJ and Bea and the comments in the article. BJ Farmer’s legacy looms larger in our community than can be expressed in one such remembrance.

What a story his life is; a World War II B-24 bomber pilot befriended by his navigator Dave Bugher who convinced BJ to join him in Eau Claire after the war. Together they built the Farmer-Bugher Real Estate business.

BJ’s life touched many through his involvement with Luther Hospital, the Boys Scouts, UWEC Foundation and the Eau Claire Community Foundation.

It is his presence with Grace Lutheran Foundation that is foremost on my mind and heart. He was a founding director of Grace Lutheran Foundation. The early directors focused on citywide needs.

BJ and his colleagues built the Syverson Lutheran Home, opening in 1966. He was instrumental in having the foundation look beyond health care to the housing needs of the community. First with the Grace Congress Apartments for seniors in 1971, followed by the Grace Barstow apartments in 1977.

This housing issue for our lower-income citizens is still an issue. Bea and BJ donated funds so a portion of the Syverson Lutheran Home could become a memory care wing, Grace’s Garden.

Recently the Syverson Lutheran Home was closed. At the closing worship service this summer, BJ was present and recognized for his part in providing this nursing care to our community for 52 years. With his passing, the first feeling is one of loss of a mentor and a friend of the community. That feeling is quickly followed by thanksgiving, and gratitude, for what he and many like him created to make Eau Claire a better place for us all.

Mitch Piper

Grace Lutheran Foundation president