H. Dennis Farlow – A loving husband and a family legend loved by all.
Born June 8, 1934 to Dean and Virginia (Probst) Farlow in Hollywood, California. He was born in Hollywood Hospital. After “Denny” was born – so he said – that hospital burned down, (he said with that knowing grin of his).
He had a storied up-bringing, growing up in Southern California. Riding bicycles on the backstreets and trails around Hollywood Hills with his friends, many of which were life-long friends that kept in touch with each other. When you were his friend, it was forever! Some of the adventures started at an early age. At 4 years old, he burned about 2 miles of the Los Angeles river. Unfortunately he forgot to take his wagon, and went back to retrieve it. He was caught, and took a lesson from that…
Dennis was always interested in cars, and they filled a great deal of his life, right up to the end. Just after high school, and having an aptitude for mechanics combined with his love for cars, he became the Car Club President of “The Luggers”.It was made up of friends and fellow car lovers, and was used as a platform to educate those younger hot rodders wanting to learn how to do it safely and correct. Being involved in the car scene also meant some racing and exciting nights. Dennis was known by the local authorities as fast, capable, but also fair and he preferred to promote a better, safer way to have their fun. For that, the police and Dennis had a good relationship. This led to another story where he was caught racing one evening. The officers sauntered up to the window of the car, leaned in and said “Go home Denny. Just Go home”.
This desire to do it right combined with the sense that he was potentially capable of being a racecar driver led to the track. Left-turn racing, to be accurate – oval racing. He quickly became quite capable, making a name for himself in the Southern California area. His children recall watching their father race on TV on the weekends. Eventually, he and fellow racer Parnelli Jones were asked by a significant race promoter to race for him at Indianapolis. Such a massive opportunity. But that would have made him leave his young family behind and be gone for long periods of time. Over the years, he and Judy had many friends lose their lives to racing. These factors resulted in Dennis thanking Mr. Agajanian for the chance to reach that level, but had to turn down the offer. He then went to work for the next 16 years as a heavy equipment operator, driving bulldozers and earthmovers. But he was able to continue his car passion by building and maintaining race cars with his friends, and doing the race scene on the weekends.
Dennis and Judy met with no fanfare. She recalls standing in the hall of North Hollywood Junior High School and seeing an apple core fly past and hit Mrs. Phipps (Judy’s typing teacher) right in the back of the head. A couple hours later, Judy was sitting in Mrs. Phipps’ class when this brash, skinny guy comes in and loudly claims “Mrs. Phipps, I am sorry for hitting you in the head with an apple core!”, and then quickly turns around and leaves the room. Judy sat there thinking “who was that Jerk?”. That was Denny!
Some time had passed. Perhaps some of this had been forgotten. Perhaps not. Judy recalls standing in the neighborhood with her friends – thinking she may have been playing baseball – when this hot rod pulls up a few houses away. Judy was quasi-dating a guy named Doug, who was a friend of Denny’s. But Judy and Doug had a falling out, and she told Doug she didn’t want to date anymore. Once the car is parked at the curb, a dark haired skinny guy cooley walks to the front of his car, leans casually back on the fender, and watches the game from down the street. Judy tries not to be obvious and mentions to herself “that looks like the jerk from Mrs. Phipps’ class”. She also kept under her breath that he also looked a lot like James Dean, leaning up against the car like that.
A few days later, Judy finds herself answering the door. It was Dennis stating “If you’re not going to go out with Doug anymore, how about going out with me?”. This leads to an endearing story about them dating. Judy had to be in the house by the stroke of midnight. If she wasn’t, her mother, Annabelle, would flip the front porch light on and off, indicating it was time for Judy to come in. That light annoyed Dennis. So one night, he unscrewed it. Dennis and Judy were sitting in the car in front of the house, talking as midnight passed. Suddenly the front door opened swiftly. “Judy, Get in here! Dennis, you ever try that again, that’ll be the last time!!!”. Annabelle and Dennis laughed about that until her final days. But at that moment, despite his uncontrolled giggles, he knew there was fire, and she was tougher than he.
Judy and Dennis dated for three years before marrying on January 15, 1955, and were married for 65 years, longer than any other couple in their family tree. This was the age of pomade hair, cigs rolled up in the sleeve, and poodle dresses. They left those stereotypes behind, and began to have a family. Denice was first in August of 1956, Kelley in June of 1958, and then Scott in August of 1960. They lived and played in the L.A. area until 1971, when they moved the whole clan to Boise Idaho. A full life there, raising their children, and enduring much heartache along the way; the loss of their first grandchild, Jodi, and then the tragic loss of their dear daughter Denise, to a health ailment. This pain would be present throughout the rest of their lives, but helped to draw Dennis and Judy closer, and reach for help in their faith and belief in God.
Following their full life in Boise, raising their children, and caring for parents, they moved to a small community, much like the community of Sedro Woolley that they live in now, called Emmett, about 25 miles from Boise. They lived there for 10 years or so, before being convinced to move to Northwest Washington, where Scott and his family live. They arrived in Sedro-Woolley, and were immediately smitten. Found a lovely small home, with lovely neighbors and a friendly, welcoming church. Judy and Dennis were able to spend a lot of time with Scott’s family at holidays and birthday functions. Family gatherings were always a loud and happy event. Dennis was always holding court, relaying the humorous stories of his eventful youth. Those stories; the time listening and contributing; being involved in the emotion and humor, those are memories his six grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren will remember and hear about for the rest of their lives. He will live in their memories, family lore, and pictures. He will be remembered forever.
Denny’s humor and love for family was always the bond in us all. He taught us all the value that family stands for. How to decipher what’s important and worth worry, and to shed those things that clutter our lives. Dennis was an alcoholic and had been dry for 34 years! Once he confronted his demons, he never looked back and never faltered. He educated all those around him what strong will and conviction can achieve. It’s sometimes necessary to reset the needle on your compass. And he did so with grace.
Dennis and Judy created a very beautiful family, with tendrils that reach into the future’s history. We’ll remember him for the wonderful human being he is. We’ll keep him alive in our hearts with the love he wrapped us in, the stories he imparted to us to tell generations to come, and the memories of his smile and care for each and every one of us. Rest in peace, Dennis. There is no-more pain, only joy and happiness.
Judy requests in lieu of flowers, she would like you to donate to the Cascade Christian Church-Maintenance Fund, Sedro Woolley. Thank You.