Barry Miller Farr was born in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, on November 15, 1951, and died in Charlottesville on February 15, 2017. Raised in Greenville, Mississippi, Barry never stopped loving Southern food, culture, or people. Inspired to attend medical school by the autobiography of William Carlos Williams, Barry majored in chemistry at Ole Miss and received an MD from Washington University in St. Louis and a Master of Science in epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He received training in internal medicine and infectious diseases at the University of Virginia. He served as Hospital Epidemiologist at UVA for 18 years and directed a Master of Science program in epidemiology for 11 years. He retired as the William S Jordan, Jr., Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at UVA at 52 because of physical disability due to the paralytic effects of multiple sclerosis.
He co-authored 167 medical publications, 137 research abstracts for national or international scientific meetings, co-edited 2 books on catheter infections, and mentored 18 postdoctoral fellows. He was widely known for epidemiologic studies about control of healthcare related infections, particularly antibiotic-resistant infections and catheter infections. He served as President of the Society for Hospital Epidemiology of America (SHEA) in 2002 and Editor of the SHEA scientific journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology from 2001 to 2004.
As passionate as he was about his work, Barry was strongly committed to his family. He enjoyed coaching his sons’ teams in T-ball, baseball, and basketball for 10 years, and was on the sidelines as a cheering fan at their soccer games. He loved hunting, fishing, training his Labrador retrievers, photography, the St. Louis Cardinals, all UVA sports and spending time with his wife and sons. Barry was an avid reader and writer of prose and poetry, and was known to supply an appropriate quotation for any given situation. As a medical intern, the floor nurses would say they always knew where he was because they could hear his infectious laughter.
Barry loved a good story and often regaled his friends and family with long, and sometimes circuitous, tales. He devoted his final years to writing and publishing a book entitled Multiple Sclerosis: Coping with Complications as a way to help other patients cope with the many challenges of MS and to share the knowledge and strategies he developed.
Barry is survived by his wife, Ann Henry; three sons and daughter-in-law, Eric Farr and Erin Bradley of Seattle, Ryan Farr of New York City, and Jason Farr of Washington D.C.; sister, Celia Farr Wood and husband, Frank of Los Angeles; brother, Brian Farr and wife, Beth of Charlotte, N.C., and nieces and nephews. A celebration of his life is being planned for the spring so that it can be held outdoors where Barry loved to spend his time.
Anyone wishing notification of the final details is asked to email their contact information to [email protected]
In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Barry’s memory to a cause that is close to your heart.
Editor’s note: Dr. Farr was the subject of a feature story in the July 2016 issue of The Crozet Gazette titled “Lessons in How to Cope with Multiple Sclerosis.”