William “Bill” George Farnum, age 73, died after a brief but valiant fight with stage 4 cancer. He was born in Pecos, Tex., later graduating from Pecos High School in 1965 and then West Texas State University in 1969 with a B.A. in commercial art and a minor in chemistry. Bill was active in Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, ROTC and was a Distinguished Military graduate. He entered the US Army after graduation and fought in Vietnam. Upon his return, he achieved the rank of captain. He married his wife, Debbie, a few weeks later.
Bill’s professional career began as a soda jerk at age 12, then the US Army and after he left the service, he put his commercial art degree to work in the construction business, building metal buildings, prisons, senior living facilities and various retail and commercial properties. He owned and operated Traeco Building Systems in Dumas, then worked for A&S Steel Buildings in Amarillo, Wackenhut Corporation (now The GEO Group) in Florida, finally finishing his career with White Construction Company in Austin as Vice President of Preconstruction Services, retiring in 2017.
Bill flourished in his faith after participating in an ACTS Retreat. He and his wife, Debbie, were active at St. Louis Catholic Church in Austin, where he recently served as chair of the building committee.
His proudest title was undoubtedly “Papa” to his ten grandchildren. Bill thought every food item should be eaten with Tabasco sauce! He loved playing golf, drinking martinis and Manhattans, watching sports, eating Mexican and Thai food, teasing everyone, watching Hallmark movies and cooking a mean filet.
Bill is survived by his wife, Debbie; his daughter and her husband, Scott and Kathryn Whitaker of Austin and their six children (Will, John Paul, Anna-Laura, Clare, Luke and Gianna Whitaker); his son and his wife, Daniel and Amanda Farnum of Round Rock and their four children (Ava, Jack, Mary Grace and Mia); three siblings, Mary Lou Farnum of Amarillo, Ava Howard of Abilene and Dee Farnum of El Paso; numerous in-laws, plus many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Following masking and social distancing guidelines, a visitation and Rosary will be held on Monday, January 11, 2021, at 5:00 p.m., with rosary at 6:00 p.m., at Cook Walden Funeral Home, 6100 N. Lamar, Austin. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at 10:00 a.m., at St. Louis Catholic Church, 7601 Burnet Rd., Austin, with Rev. Larry Covington presiding and eight other priests concelebrating.
Memorial donations may be made to the ACTS Missions (actsmissions.org) or to the Texas 4-H Foundation (texas4hfoundation.org).