DALLAS TWP. — After spending nearly half of his 90 years teaching, the classroom still tempts Welton Farrar.
His friends and former students, however, said the professor emeritus of Wilkes University hasn’t stopped.
They — along with his four children and their families — celebrated his birthday a day late on Saturday night at the Irem Clubhouse.
More than 50 people attended, with his two sons, Edward and Steven, and daughters, Linda Pendleton and Penny Delaughter, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren spread out among 10 states traveling to be with him.
“I could be a perpetual student,” Farrar said with his companion Betty Doherty by his side.
Farrar, who taught economics and business from 1948 to 1990, loved his career and was hesitant to say how the thousands of students that sat in his lectures and took his tests would remember him. “I’ll let them be the judge,” he said.
He grew up in New England and served in the Merchant Marine and U.S. Navy before earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Pennsylvania. It wasn’t his intent to become a professor. “I never had any intentions,” he said.
But Mike Messersmith was glad Farrar chose Wilkes.
“I have known Welton for 44 years and I met him when he was my first adviser in college,” said Messersmith, 62, of Dallas.
Farrar was not an easy grade or “cakewalk” as a professor, Messersmith said. What impressed the freshman at the time was how Farrar took care of his students.
Anne Heineman Batory had a similar recollection. “He treated all students with respect,” she said.
Batory, a professor and chair of the Sidhu School of Business at Wilkes, recalled she wanted to live up to Farrar’s expectations after he told her she was smart. “You just wanted to be good,” she said. He encouraged her to return to teach at Wilkes after she earned her doctorate.
Being a mechanical engineer, Sterling Lamoreux has some smarts, but he considered Farrar sharper. Lamoreux, 75, met Farrar at the Dallas United Methodist Church. He sees him regularly at the coffee klatch held weekly at the Back Mountain McDonald’s.
Farrar stays current on world events, reads avidly and engages others in conversation. “It’s almost like he’s still teaching school still at breakfast,” Lamoreux said. “The guy is very intelligent, absolutely sharp.”
Bridge keeps Farrar busy and active, and he’s well respected among area players, Lamoreux said.
He’s also a big Boston Red Sox fan.
Farrar saw his first major league game in 1933: Boston against New York. Back then it was the Boston Braves versus the New York Giants.
“The first game the Giants won,” said Farrar. “The second game Boston had a curfew and it ended in a tie.”