Edwina "Eddy" O'Farrell, 85, of Fort Dodge, passed peacefully on Saturday, May 20th, 2023, at the Trinity Regional Medical Center.
She was born November 20, 1937, in Fort Dodge to Dr. Emerson and Paulyne Dawson. She had a fraternal twin brother, Thomas and an older sister, Mary Sula.
Eddy is survived by her sons Dr. Patrick (Laurie) O'Farrell of Ankeny, Iowa, and Bill (Amina) O'Farrell of Lower Gwynedd, PA and grandchildren, Kyle, Bradley, Kristen, John, Thomas, Michael, Christina, Ryan, and Juliet, and great-grandchildren Owen, Rashawn & Kierra.
Eddy is also survived by her sister-in-law and dear friend, Linda O'Farrell of San Diego, CA, along with numerous nephews and nieces, including Anita (John) Isaacson, Emerson (Kirie) Linney, Ginny (Craig) Knoblock, Colleen (Charlie) West, Mark O'Farrell, Tim O'Farrell, Laureen Powell, Kathleen (Michael) Kottenstette, Tal (Cindy) O'Farrell and Kim O'Farrell Novotchin. She will be sadly missed by her many loving relatives.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Dr. Emerson and Paulyne (Breen) Dawson, husband Dennis, son Dennis Daniel, sister Dr. Mary Sula Linney and twin brother Tom Dawson.
Edwina Jane Dawson was born November 20, 1937, in Fort Dodge. She was raised in Fort Dodge and graduated from Senior High in 1956. She continued her education at the University of Wyoming, where she met her future husband, Dennis O'Farrell of Rock Springs, Wyoming. She graduated from Wyoming in 1960 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Eddy earned her master's degree in English from Drake University in 1993.
Eddy married Dennis on October 4, 1958, in Laramie, Wyoming, and in their 55 years of marriage, they shared a lifetime of great love and laughter. Dennis was an identical twin and Eddy was a fraternal twin, leading many to believe that was part of the reason they were so inseparable as a couple.
Eddy was a proud Fort Dodger. While she and Denny lived in the Southwest and California for many years after college, they returned home to Fort Dodge in 1979. She loved this community, its history and was a vocal promoter of the achievements, large and small, of her fellow Fort Dodgers to all she met. She won the contest to rename "South" Junior High to "Fair Oaks" Junior High, a lovely name and a historical reference to a home that had previously occupied the site.
She was an enthusiastic, lifelong Democrat, and cared deeply about educational opportunity for all and social justice. This commitment led her to pursue a career in education that took many forms. She taught at the primary, secondary and college level during her career. Eddy also served as Director of the Fort Dodge Ethnic School within the Urban Ministry, a Head Start program, where she helped children in need and was an instructor at the Fort Dodge and Rockwell City Correctional Facilities, seeking to provide a hand up through education. While teaching there, she was awarded the "Teacher of the Year" award from the Iowa Department of Corrections. Eddy was also a lifeguard in her early years and instructed countless children, including her own, to swim.
She was an active member in numerous organizations, including the parish of Sacred Heart Church (and Holy Trinity Church), Study Club, Questers Club, Ingleside Club, P.E.O., Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority, Webster County Democratic Party and the Martin Luther King, Jr. "Living the Dream" Committee where she and Denny were awarded the MLK Lifetime Achievement Award. Eddy was also a long-time committee member for the Otho Cemetery Memorial Day service team. Her commitment to community service was widely recognized.
She was also an avid reader, loved traveling, and she cherished gatherings with family and friends. She was a kind and compassionate soul. Her life was full of humor, good friends, family, spirited conversations, service, and love. She touched many lives and will be deeply missed.
Visitation will be held on June 9, 2023, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, with a time for sharing to follow, all at Laufersweiler Funeral Home in Fort Dodge. A Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 10:30 am on June 10, 2023, at Holy Trinity Church with Msgr. Kevin McCoy officiating. Family graveside services will be at Otho Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions in Eddy's memory be made to the non-profit organization Athletics For Education and Success in Fort Dodge.
Pamela Kay, Blanden Art Museum wrote on May 26, 2023:
"I truly enjoyed Eddy. She had a smile that was contagious! Eddy truly was a pleasure to be around and I loved visiting with her here at the Blanden and other events through out the FD area, Eddy will be truly missed by me personally and the Blanden. "
Barb Vonsak wrote on May 23, 2023:
"Always loved speaking to Eddy. Usually always saw her at the May Day luncheon. I would tell her how wonderful her dad was. He was our doctor. And my dad Bernard Bickford did alot of work for him. Dr. Dawson and Pauline were wonderful people. I was so infatuated with the house on 12th Street. God bless you Eddy!!! "
Cinda barnes wrote on May 21, 2023:
"So sorry for your loss. You have my sympathy. "
Jennifer Morley wrote on May 20, 2023:
"It was such an honor to get to spend time with Eddy during her recent (February) trip to Southern California with Bill, Amina, Ryan and Juliet. Eddy was so warm and engaging. She was truly delightful. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire O'Farrell family. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of such an important trip. We will cherish our memories. May you find comfort and peace in the coming days. Sending love and hugs from Jennifer, Mark, Mykena and Chase Morley