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Veteran St. John Landscaper Bob Farmer Dead at 79

Oct. 30, 2007 — Longtime St. John resident Bob Farmer, 79, died Sunday at Roy L. Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas. Friends said he had suffered for years from emphysema.
Farmer, who was born in England and grew up in a London orphanage, traveled the world and lived in Hawaii before moving to St. John in 1969. He owned Bob Farmer Landscaping.
"Bob was a nice guy to me," said Charles Gustave, his unofficial adopted son.
Gustave, who worked for Farmer since 1981, took over Farmer's landscaping business several years ago. Every morning he and Farmer would sit and talk, Gustave said.
Farmer worked for the local government during his early years on St. John, landscaping Cruz Bay Park, June Bell Barlas said. "The stone wall in the park was his favorite spot," she said. In recent years she joined Farmer for morning coffee and conversation at a table outside Book and Bean in the Marketplace shopping center.
Kate Swan, an owner at St. John Hardware in the Marketplace, said if Barlas didn't come for coffee, Farmer would instead spend time at Baked in the Sun, another Marketplace spot. "We're going to miss Bob," Swan said.
Farmer always loved plants, especially those that came from Madagascar, she said. He was especially known for his beautiful bougainvillea plants.
Farmer was a self-taught botanist who took great pride in his nursery, Mark Shekleton said.
"And he loved classical music and good conversation," he said.
Another longtime friend, Jean Mason, said Farmer had a wonderful sense of humor.
"And he was very popular with the women," she said. Farmer probably landscaped three-quarters of the "nice gardens" on St. John, she said.
Farmer had no known relatives, according to Gustave and other friends. Farmer will be cremated and a memorial service will be held at a later date, Gustave said.
St. John Hardware is selling Farmer's desert rose plants and accepting donations to pay for his hospital and cremation expenses, Swan said.
"And they can leave a card for Charles here," she said.
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