Craighead Co. Republican Committee leader dies of COVID-19

Updated: Oct. 7, 2020 at 8:17 AM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Steven Farmer, who served as the chairman of the Craighead County Republican Committee, has died from complications of COVID-19.

In a public message previously posted to social media at 7:29 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6, his daughter Audrey Haynie said Farmer’s “soul is singing today even though ours aren’t….I’m sorry we couldn’t save you but I know that you’re even more perfect now than when you were here.”

Haynie chronicled her father’s death during a weeks-long battle in the hospital.

On Sept. 18, she said that he had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit and placed on a ventilator.

The following day she reported he was “showing improvement for the first time since he has been admitted.” She added that doctors had decreased his ventilator settings and he maintained “good oxygen levels.”

Unfortunately, it was not to last.

By Sept. 25, Farmer’s doctor told Haynie he was “very worried that dad was not going to make it through this.”

A few days later she pleaded with him to return to his family:

On Monday, Oct. 5, Haynie reported that an EEG showed minimal brain activity. She concluded with a simple plea: “Breathe easy, dad. Just breathe.”

Upon hearing the news of Farmer’s passing, Doyle Webb, the chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas, released the following statement:

“I, as many did this morning, awoke to the news that our dear friend Steve Farmer had gone to be with the Lord. Steve was a gifted stalwart, working hard as many to turn northeast Arkansas to our Republican Party. My prayers and condolences are with his wife Judy, their children, and grandchildren. May they find comfort in this most difficult time.”

The Craighead County Republican Party posted about Farmer being, “a great caring friend to all and a dedicated leader.”

It is with heavy hearts we announce the passing of our Chair, Steve Farmer. We offer our full support to the Farmer...

Posted by Craighead County Republican Committee on Tuesday, October 6, 2020

In addition to his duties as chairman of the Craighead County Republican Committee, Farmer was the superintendent of the Jonesboro Human Development Center. He also served as coordinator for the Craighead County Crisis Response Team and was a former board member of the Arkansas Crisis Response Team. He was also a member of the Brookland Volunteer Fire Department, serving as a firefighter/chaplain. Farmer also served as a chaplain for the Jonesboro Fire Department. In 2010, he was selected NEA Firefighter of the Year and Brookland VFD Firefighter of the Year.

This morning we are saddened by the news of Brother Steve Farmer passing away. He served as one of the chaplains of this...

Posted by Jonesboro Fire Department on Tuesday, October 6, 2020

He is survived by his wife, Judy Davis-Farmer, and their three daughters and several grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, at Emerson Memorial Chapel, 1629 E. Nettleton in Jonesboro.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, Oct. 10, at 10 a.m. at the Emerson Memorial Chapel with Rick Plumlee officiating. The Brookland Fire Department will serve as honorary pallbearers. Burial will follow at Jonesboro Memorial Park Cemetery. Emerson Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

Due to State of Arkansas protocol, COVID 19 rules will be in effect including facemasks and social distancing.

The Craighead County Republican Committee held its 2020 Reagan Dinner on Sept. 14. Although Farmer wasn’t in attendance, the lack of wearing masks and social distancing sparked remarks,

Pictures from the 2020 Reagan day dinner

Posted by Craighead County Republican Committee on Monday, September 14, 2020

“We practiced as many safety requirements as possible," District 58 Rep. Brandt Smith said. “What I’d really like to do is reach through the laptop and pull these people through the internet and give them a good tongue lashing because it’s wrong.”

Region 8 News asked Gov. Asa Hutchinson about the gathering in his COVID-19 media briefing, Tuesday.

“Whether you’re Republican, Democrat, or Tea Party, follow the public health guidelines. That’s my message," he said. "You’ve got various levels of thinking on this among a broad, diverse party. I’m the leader of the party and I’m articulating, please follow the public health guidelines, setting that example. You’re always going to have a minority out there but I think that is a diminishing minority.”

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