Charles G. “Chuck” Farnum, a long time resident of Sanibel, died peacefully on Dec. 8, 2010 at Shell Point Village. He was 93.
Born in 1917 in Peoria, Ill., Chuck graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College in 1939. He continued his medical education at Northwestern Medical School, where he received his Doctor Of Medicine degree in 1944. He completed his internship at Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago in 1945.
Dr. Farnum served as a Captain in the United States Army Medical Corps until 1947. After his military service, Dr. Farnum practiced Internal Medicine in Peoria, Ill. until 1974. In addition to his active practice, he worked hard to promote and support the medical community in Peoria.
From 1974 until 1985, he served as Medical Director and president of the medical staff at Methodist Medical Center of Illinois in Peoria. He was the past president of the Peoria County Medical Society and a Diplomat of the National Board of Medical Examiners. He was a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a Diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Dr. Farnum was also very active in his community, serving on several boards, including the Peoria City Health Department, the YMCA, the Community Chest and Council, the First Federal Savings and Loan, and the St. Francis Community Clinic. He served on the governing bodies of the Peoria-Tazewell Heart Association, the local chapter of the American Cancer Society, the Peoria Court Counselor Program and the Mid-State Foundation for Medical Care.
In 1988, Dr. Farnum moved to Sanibel where he continued his community involvement. He served as president of the Sanibel Community Association in 1995 and 1996 and as chairman of the Sanibel Shell Fair in 1995. He was a lifetime member of the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Federation, CROW, BIG Arts and the Historical Society.
Dr. Farnum was a lover of the north woods, especially Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park. Over his lifetime, he made 53 trips canoeing through the wilderness of the Quetico, sharing his love of nature with several generations of family and friends who continue in his footsteps to this day. He kept a canoe on Sanibel and made frequent trips down the Sanibel River.
The main focus of Chuck’s life was his wife of 64 years, Betty, and his children, Charlie, Jim, Bill,and Patty. He was a devoted husband, happily in love with his wife until she passed away in 2007. He was very proud of all of his children, and was much beloved by them and their families.
His presence will be greatly missed. Chuck had a joyful spirit and a great sense of humor. He was a gentle man with a quick smile and encouraging word for everyone he met. He was generous with his time and resources, always helping whenever he saw a need. Random acts of kindness were a way of life for Chuck. He did much to make the world a friendlier and more gracious place.
Chuck Farnum was predeceased by his lifelong devoted wife, Betty, and two sons, Bill and Charlie Farnum. He is survived by his son, Jim, daughter, Pat Beal, daughters-in-law Margee Cullinan and Anne Farnum, son-in-law Mike Beal, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Chuck also had countless friends who thought of themselves as family.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010 at the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ, 2050 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.
Donations may be sent to the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, 3075 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel, FL 33957 or the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ, 2050 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957.