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Susan L. Farmer

May 29, 1942 September 16, 2013
Susan L. Farmer
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Obituary for Susan L. Farmer

Susan L. Farmer, 71, of Providence, former Secretary of State and longtime President of WSBE Rhode Island PBS, died Monday at home.  She was the wife of Malcolm Farmer III.
Born in Boston a daughter of the late Ralph and Margaret (Tyng) Lawson, she was a Providence resident for over 60 years.
The first woman in R.I. history elected to statewide office, she served as Secretary of State from 1983 to 1987.  She went on to head WSBE from 1987 until 2004 and also served as the President of the Rhode Island PBS Foundation from 1987 to 2005.  She was also a candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 1986.
She had numerous government appointments, among them, the Providence Human Relations Commission 1985-1987, as a commissioner for the R.I. Board of Elections since 2011, Co-Chair of the National Voter Education Project 1983 to 1986, The National  Voting System Standards Advisory Board of the Federal Election Commission, 1984- 1987.
She also served on many Boards of Directors including R.I. Commission to Preserve an Independent Judiciary, the R.I. Anti Drug Coalition,  as Chairman of Marathon House, Inc., National Women’s Political Caucus, Planned Parenthood of R.I., and as Chairman of Challenge House.  She was Chairman of Paul N. McCloskey for President in 1972. She served as  R.I. coordinator for President Ford Campaign and as finance director for John Chafee for US Senate campaign.
She received an Honorary Doctor of Human Letters from Bryant University in 2004 and was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 2010. She attended Wheeler School, Stoneleigh Prospect Hill School, Garland Junior College and Brown University Extension Division.
Besides her husband she leaves her daughters: Heidi Farmer Piccerelli (David Piccerelli) of Barrington, RI and Stephanie Lawson Farmer (Peter Slaugh) of  Kentfield, CA, her grandchildren Malcolm Bowman Bunting and Josiah Bunting V, step grandchildren Mackenzie & Tyler Slaugh,  brother Ralph Lawson III  of  North Kingstown, RI  and sister Margaret L. Shaw of New York, NY.
A celebration of her life will be held on Tuesday September 24, 2013 at 11am in Grace Church, Westminster St., Providence. Donations in her memory may be made to the R.I. PBS Foundation, 50 Park Lane., Providence, R.I. 02907.

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