In Memoriam: Jeanne Farmer

It is with sadness we report the passing of Jean Alice Farmer, the elegant, tireless philanthropist with an unerring eye for interior decorating who with her late husband, former Florida Tech chairman Phillip Farmer, helped Florida Tech become the leading educational institution it now is.

Mrs. Farmer, known as Jeanne to many, passed away peacefully on May 22 at her home in Melbourne, her family by her side. She was 81.

Born in Schenectady, New York, Mrs. Farmer graduated from Linton High School and headed off to Bryant College. After a year, she returned home to help with her father, who had fallen ill. She took a job as a secretary at General Electric, a most fortuitous decision: at GE she met the “love of her life,” Mr. Farmer. (Her father would go on to make a full recovery.)

As Mr. Farmer’s career advanced, the couple moved several times, including stops in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York (again) and Florida (several). They eventually found their dream location in Melbourne as Mr. Farmer settled in as chairman and CEO of what is now L3Harris Corporation. 

“Throughout it all,” her obituary notes, “Jeanne maintained, bought, sold, furnished and decorated 11 homes while raising three children.

“She was infectiously positive and upbeat, bringing joy to everyone she met and demonstrating unconditional love to her children, grandchildren and great grandchild every hour of every day.”

Mr. Farmer passed away in 2018.

The Farmers’ legacy lives on in myriad ways across the Florida Tech campus, anchored by one of their most impactful gifts: the establishment of the Farmer Scholars Program. The university’s most prestigious financial award, the program provides a full, four-year scholarship annually to a Florida resident and high school graduate who is among the top 5 percent of his or her class and demonstrates exceptional academic achievement and outstanding personal character. (Mrs. Farmer is pictured above, in pink, with several Farmer Scholars.) 

Mrs. Farmer is survived by her three children: Steve Farmer and his wife Carol of Ormond Beach, FL; Jeff Farmer and his wife Maureen of Hilton Head Island, SC; and Jennifer Moore and her husband Jaimie of Indialantic, FL. She is also survived by eight grandchildren (Ryan and his wife Taylor, Adam, Logan, Kevin, Dean, Megan and her husband Cameron, Dorsey, and Jake), and two great grandchildren (Bentley and Carson).

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, June 15 at Eastminster Presbyterian Church, 106 N. Riverside Drive, Indialantic. Mrs. Farmer was passionate about philanthropy, particularly with causes involving children, animals and heart health. The family requests that people make donations in support of their favorite local charity in lieu of sending flowers.

Online memorials can be made at

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