PEMBERVILLE, Ohio - Gerald E. Farmer, 65, who had urged fellow farmers to put slow-moving-vehicle signs on their equipment and contribute to a promotional campaign for new uses for corn during the nearly three decades that he farmed in northeastern Wood County, died Wednesday in his Webster Township home.
He had been diagnosed with lymphoma just over a year ago, his son Phillip said.
Mr. Farmer grew up on a farm near Millbury in far northeastern Wood County. After studying agriculture at Ohio State University for a year, he returned to the area to help his parents at a farm they bought near Pemberville. They raised corn, soybeans, and wheat and fed steers and hogs.
About five years later, he bought a farm near his parents' and, over the years, farmed up to 600 acres. He was on the Ohio Corn Growers Association board in the mid 1980s when farmers approved a tax on their grain to promote new uses of the crop, such as ethanol.
But high interest rates, followed by severe drought in the late 1980s, led him to sell his farm. He became a salesman for Data Transmission Network, a business news service concentrating on weather and agricultural prices.
For about 10 years, he sold the service and installed satellite equipment to receive it primarily for farmers and businesses that dealt with them. He also dealt with golf courses and airports that wanted the weather forecasts. He had years of experience in sales. When he farmed, he sold slow-moving-vehicle signs in the 1960s, Dekalb seeds in the 1970s, and Callahan seeds in the 1980s.
Later, he became a self-employed handyman and, at age 62, he and his son Phillip started a lawn-mowing and snow-removal service, Farmer Group Ltd., that now mows 165 properties in the Elmore, Bowling Green, and Perrysburg areas.
Mr. Farmer was a member of Zion United Methodist Church, Luckey, for about 40 years. He also advised the Blue Ribbon Rangers 4-H Club in the early 1960s, helped found the Eastwood Young Farmers in the 1970s, and served on the Ohio Young Farmers board.
Surviving are his wife, Donna; daughter, Laurie Limes; sons, Steve and Phillip; mother, Helen; sister, Sue Facer, and eight grandchildren.
Visitation will be after 2 p.m. today in the Marsh Funeral Home, Luckey. Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in the church. The family suggests tributes to Wood County 4-H camp scholarships, Eastwood FFA, or a charity of the donor's choice.