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Vergene McNamara Farrington

Feb 15, 2011

Vergene (McNamara) Farrington, 91, of Phoenix, AZ, passed away Feb. 8, 2011, after battling pneumonia for several days.

Vergene was born Nov. 2, 1919, in Emmetsburg, to William J. and Jessie C. McNamara. She was the eldest of five children and survived her siblings by several years. After completing her Normal School training, Vergene taught country school in Northwest Iowa and attended Iowa State Teachers College (now UNI) in Cedar Falls.

In 1942 Vergene married George W. Appleby, also of Emmetsburg. They settled in Spencer where George taught high school math, and Vergene was a homemaker and mother of their six children.

In 1961 George suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 42. Vergene took the position of children’s librarian for the Spencer Public Library, which she held until the family’s move to Arizona in 1967.

Vergene married Richard H. Farrington, a mechanical engineer for Motorola, in 1968. They lived in Mesa, AZ until his death in 2006.

Vergene moved to Mesa Palms retirement apartments in 2006 where she enjoyed the company of many new, close friends.

When Vergene passed, she was living in assisted living in North Phoenix, near her family.

Vergene is survived by her children: Diane Hemmings (Charles) of Seattle, WA; George W. Appleby (Barbara) of Des Moines; Charles Appleby (Jean) of Benicia, CA; Barbara Kapla of Phoenix, AZ; and Thomas Appleby of Portland, OR.

Daughter Jeanne Sutton preceded Vergene in death in 2008.

Vergene is also survived by her grandchildren, Jessie Appleby, Christopher Wellman (Christina), Patrick Appleby, Joseph (Stephanie), Alyson and Emily Kapla, Eva and Jonathan Appleby, and great-granddaughter Sophia Kapla.

Vergene’s legacy will include her love of learning, good books, fine art, and the satisfaction of hard work. In addition to instilling a strong work ethic in her children, she gave them all a lifelong love of reading. Her favorite poet was Maya Angelou, and she loved the work of artists Georgia O’Keefe and Laurel Burch. She also had an abiding faith in God. Although a resident of Arizona for over 40 years, her heart remained in her hometown of Emmetsburg, where she had a wonderful childhood. She loved her Irish heritage and on return trips often visited the Irish store in Emmetsburg. She had a lifelong love affair with all things Iowan and remembered Spencer as the best place in the world to raise a family. She worked as a proofreader at the Spencer Daily Reporter prior to her prized position as children’s librarian.

A funeral mass was held Friday, Feb. 11, at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Phoenix, AZ.