Sister of Jamie Farr inspired him to pursue show business


Yvonne Tibshraeny, a former Toledoan and the only sibling of television and theater actor Jamie Farr, died Tuesday in Scottsdale Trauma Center. She was 88.

Mr. Farr said Mrs. Tibshraeny, who moved from Toledo in the late 1940s and most recently lived in Mesa and Scottsdale, Ariz., suffered a heart attack in her home on Thursday at the Manor Village Life Center and was found the next morning.

"She had a heart attack and then fell. She did catastrophic damage to her brain," he said.

The former Yvonne Farah, she was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and moved with her parents to Toledo, where her father was a meat cutter and butcher. She graduated in 1942 from Woodward High School.

Mr. Farr recalled in a phone interview that his sister, who was 10 years older, often read stories and books to him, accompanied him from their home in North Toledo to the downtown movie theaters, and bought lunch for him at Zimmerman's, which was behind the old Paramount Theater.

He said that she was a talented singer and dancer, and had performed in operettas at the Toledo Zoo amphitheater.

"I was thrilled as a kid to point out my sister as she danced and sang on the stage, and she was pretty good artistically," he said. "She was a great inspiration to me. She was the one who sort of lead me into show business."

Mr. Farr said she was an excellent cook and baked pies and cookies for their family.

Mrs. Tibshraeny worked at the old Electric Autolite Co. in North Toledo during World War II and also was employed as a sales clerk at a downtown children's store. Her brother said she moved in the late 1940s to Hollywood, where she met her first husband.

The marriage ended in divorce and she relocated to Phoenix, where her parents moved to in the early 1950s.

Mr. Farr said she met Roger Tibshraeny of Mesa at the Antochian Orthodox Church where she attended services and they were married in the early 1960s. Mr. Farr couldn't recall when her husband died.

Mrs. Tibshraeny never had any children, but in her honor, Mr. Farr and his wife, Joy, named their daughter, Yvonne, after her.

Mr. Farr said Mrs.Tibshraeny in recent years had spent the holidays with his family in California and he and his wife were looking forward to her visit.

Mr. Farr said his sister held fond memories of Toledo, and some years ago attended the Jamie Farr LPGA tournament in Sylvania.

"She had a great time," he said.

She is survived by her brother, Jamie Farr, and his wife, Joy, and their children, Yvonne Farr and Jonas Farr.

Visitation will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday in St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Phoenix, where Trisagion services will be held at 7 p.m.

Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Friday in the church.

The family suggests tributes to the church.

- Mark Reiter