Marge Hammond Farness 1930-2021

Marjorie Ann Lewis was born in Los Angeles and grew up largely in Baker City, Oregon. Art was always her favorite subject at school, but as the daughter of Ida Lewis, a music teacher, her early years were also spent playing piano and performing in recitals and local musical productions, the latter largely orchestrated by her mother with her brothers, Bob and Merrill, also performing. When she was 17 the family moved to McMinnville, Oregon, where Marge enrolled in Linfield College. There she met and married Robert R. Hammond and had four children. She devoted herself to her family as Cub Scout den mom, active PTA member, swimming instructor, music and piano teacher.

Marge never lost her artistic passions, and continued to study art at Portland State University, the Portland Museum of Art School and Oregon State University. She grew to become a talented watercolorist, oil painter, sculptor and printer. Her cement pools, benches, bird feeders and other largely utilitarian pieces can be found in public places and private homes and gardens throughout Oregon and beyond.

In 1972, Marge moved with her two youngest children to Corvallis, where she continued her art studies. She and Bob divorced, and Marge later met and married Donald Farness, a professor of economics at OSU. Together they led a life filled with friends, family, art, music and, importantly, travel. They took advantage of Don’s sabbatical opportunities to spend time in Washington, D.C. and Cambridge, England. They spent another month or two traveling around Europe and visiting their ancestors’ roots in Norway and Sweden. They spent a couple months in Greece, which they absolutely loved, and a couple more in Oaxaca, Mexico, also a favorite. They crisscrossed the United States and Canada about half a dozen times in a converted Ford Econovan, camping, birding, painting and drawing along the way.

Increasingly, Marge and Don spent time at their beach house in Depoe Bay, which they eventually transformed into their primary residence upon Don’s retirement. Together they built a new home and studio on the property where both were able to
live out their lives.

Marge lost Don in December of 2019, and her youngest son, James, in January of 2021. She is survived by her three children, Robert Hammond of Amity, Oregon, Michael Hammond of Sparks, Nevada, and Nancy Hanrahan of Wilton, Connecticut; their families, including six grandchildren and their families; and many nieces and nephews and their families. She is missed by family and countless friends, all of whom feel honored and enriched to have been a part of her world.

Marge and Don spent many happy hours attending concerts and opera events at the Newport Performing Art Center in Newport, Oregon. Accordingly, the family is inviting those who wish to honor their memory to consider making a tax-deductible donation to a fund established in their memory at the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts (OCCA). The Marge and Don Farness Classical Piano Performances Fund will support future piano performances at the Newport Performing Arts Center. Donations may be made online at
or by phoning 541-574-2652.


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