1929 — 2017
A Mass of Christian Burial for Fern Farris, age 87, of O’Neill, was held Tuesday, January 31, 2017, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in O’Neill. Burial followed at the Ainsworth Cemetery in Ainsworth, Nebraska. Visitation was Monday, January 30, 2017, from 6-8 P.M. at Biglin’s Mortuary in O’Neill.
Fern passed away Thursday, January 26, 2017, at Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital in O’Neill. Memorials may be made to the family for future designation. Visit biglinsmortuary.com.
Ellen Fern Smith was born on July 18, 1929, outside Littleberg, South Dakota, in Todd County, to Earl and Lois (Barrington) Smith. She went to grade school in a country school house right behind their home south of Ainsworth. Fern always referred to it as the old home place.
She went to high school in Ainsworth and boarded with a couple of families in town, which was common back then.
Fern graduated from Ainsworth High School in 1947.
Fern married Gene Meyers in Pierre, SD, on September 4, 1947.
They were married for 16 years and later divorced. To this union, three children were born: Patricia, Deborah, and Leon. Fern worked with Gene in various dry cleaning plants that they owned. She later attended beauty school in Norfolk in 1964.
Fern married Lawrence Baum of Elgin, Nebraska in 1965. He later passed away in 1978. On November 7, 1980, Fern married Leslie Farris in O’Neill. They owned the Remington Arms Motel in Ainsworth, and ran the Highway 20 Package Liquor Store.
She later worked for Musicland and Rezac Drug O’Neill for many years until she retired in 2004 at the age of 75.
Fern was a member of St. Boniface Catholic Church in Elgin and later attended St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in O’Neill.
She enjoyed dancing, family get-togethers, playing the guitar and piano.
Fern is survived by her three children, Patricia Nichelson and husband, Tim, of Ashland, NE, Debrah Laible and significant other, Bob Oetter, of Orchard, NE, Leon Meyers and wife, Jacque, of O’Neill, NE; one stepson, Leslie Dean Farris of Ainsworth, NE; 11 grandchildren; three step grandchildren; 21 great grandchildren; five step great grandchildren; two brothers, Lee Smith and wife, Marie, of Elgin, NE, Stan Smith and wife, Agatha, of Ainsworth, NE; and many nieces and nephews.
Fern was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Les in 2015; one grandson, Jeremy Miller; one great great grandchild Lyllian Hovious; two brothers, Aubrey and Dean Smith; and one sister, Marjorie McDermott.