Sequim civic leader Farquhar dies; leader of big-box store growth as both retailer, city councilman

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– Ron Farquhar, a man central to the growth of Sequim as the North Olympic Peninsula's retail center, is dead.

He was 70.

Farquhar died in his sleep in his home in the Emerald Highlands neighborhood of Sequim on Friday night.

Carol Farquhar, his wife of 48 years, said he had struggled with diabetes for the past year and a half.

Farquhar was manager of the J.C. Penney store when it relocated from Port Angeles to Sequim in 1995 and was a member of the Sequim City Council from 2002 to 2007, during which time big-box stores such as Home Depot, Walmart and Costco opened in Sequim.

“There were no jobs in town when Ron came on to the council,” former Mayor Walt Schubert said.

“And with his help, those seven people were able to turn around policies that led the way to what the city is today.”

Farquhar's family plans a celebration of his life in their home at 250 Coral Drive from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9.

An Army veteran, Farquhar will be buried at Tahoma National Cemetery near the King County city of Kent.

J.C. Penney

Natives of Compton, Calif., where they were both born in Las Campanas Hospital, Ron and Carol Farquhar moved to Clallam County in 1990, after Ron was named to manage the J.C. Penney store in downtown Port Angeles.

He worked for J.C. Penney for 33 years, starting in the department store chain's corporate offices in California.

Shortly after being given the reins of the Port Angeles store, Farquhar and the company began looking to move into a larger building.

On May 9, 1995, J.C. Penney opened its Sequim store with Farquhar as manager in the old Safeway grocery store at 651 W. Washington St.

Safeway built a larger store across the street.

That year, the city generated $104,162,013 in taxable retail sales, according to the state Department of Revenue.

In 2013, Revenue reported that Sequim businesses generated $261,972,223 in taxable retail sales.

“That's what Ron was a part of,” Schubert said.

In 2007, voters selected a new slate of council members to control the commercial growth that was touched off while Farquhar was on the council, and he lost his seat to Laura Dubois, who still serves on the council.

“He was just always so cheerful,” Dubois said of her onetime opponent.

“Even during our campaign, I just remember him being a wonderful, joyful person.

“He will be missed.”

Sister city leader

He was also a part of forming the sister city partnership with the city of Shiso in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, traveling with students from Sequim High School as a chaperone on a 2006 goodwill trip.

Farquhar regularly made trips to pick up incoming students as part of the organization.

“I know he was really looking forward to meeting the students again this year,” said Councilwoman Genaveve Starr, who serves on the Sequim-Shiso Sister City Association.

Farquhar was a past member of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce board of directors and was active with the noon Rotary Club of Sequim; he was the cub's 2005-06 president.

Farquhar graduated with a degree in photography from the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif., and served two years in the Army as a crime scene photographer at the Presidio base in San Francisco.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by an older sister, Mitzi Wolff of Hemet, Calif.; two sons; and four grandchildren.

The family requests memorial contributions be made to the American Diabetes Association, www.diabetes.org, or to the scholarship fund of the Rotary Club of Sequim, www.sequimrotary.org.

________

Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 16. 2014 6:08PM
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