Joseph Jerome Farris
1930 - 2020
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Joseph Jerome Farris

The Honorable Joseph Jerome Farris of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, died peacefully in his Seattle home on July 23, 2020, four months after his 90th birthday.

Judge Farris was born in Birmingham, Alabama on March 4, 1930. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in mathematics at Morehouse College in 1951, and a Master of Social Work from Atlanta University in 1955, before moving to Seattle to attend the University of Washington Law School where he earned his J.D. in 1958.

In 1969 he was appointed by Governor Dan Evans to the inaugural Washington State Court of Appeals, Division I, and was elected unanimously by his colleagues as the first presiding Chief Judge. He served on the court for ten years, until he was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.

Judge Farris is a past president of the University Of Washington Board Of Regents, on which he served for 12 years, and former member of the Harvard Law School Board of Visitors and Morehouse College Board of Trustees.

He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and a founder of the Seattle Chapter of the Alpha Omicron Boule of Sigma Pi Phi fraternity.

Judge Farris held a love of life, family, and adventure. An extensive traveler, two of his favorite places to visit were his homes in Florence, Italy and Montego Bay, Jamaica. His life was filled with great friends from around the world, continuous learning, a quick wit and humor.

He was predeceased by his parents, William Joseph and Elizabeth Farris, his wife, Jean Shy Farris, sister Joan McTeer, brother Harold Julian Farris and nephew William McTeer. He is survived by his devoted sister Marian Hatch, sister-in-law Pauline Mansfield, daughters Juli and Janelle Farris, and a host of nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be directed to Morehouse College, or the University of Washington Foundation Law & Justice Scholarship Fund. There will be no services at this time. Plans for a physical-distance-memorial are being developed.

You may see the extended obituary, share your memories and contact information for future service details at: www.butterworthfuneralhome.com

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Seattle Times on Aug. 2, 2020.
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