Remembering Richard T. Farmer: An Ocean Reef Club Founding Father
Earlier this month the Ocean Reef Club lost one of its great leaders, Richard “Dick” Farmer. He was the Club’s third
Chairman and was inducted into the Ocean Reef Hall of Fame in 2018. He deeply believed the Club was a place for many generations of family to come and enjoy being together. That conviction showed in all that he contributed to the governance of the Club and beyond.
Alan Goldstein, also a Hall of Fame recipient and Ocean Reef Club’s second Chairman remembered: “Dick was a strong proponent of, and reinforced Ocean Reef being a family club
because first and foremost, Dick was a family man.”
As a key player during the Member buyout of the Club, Mr. Farmer advised the Acquisition Committee, playing a critical role behind the scenes of the 1993 sale of the Club to our members from the Developer Owner American
Financial Corporation. It is said that when the proposition of the Member purchase of the Club seemed to reach a stalemate, Mr. Farmer’s assurance to the Developer/Ownership group that “these guys are for real”, propelled the deal to the finish line and laid the foundation for what Ocean Reef is today.
Following the buyout, Farmer was a founding member of the newly formed Board of Directors. Fellow Hall of Fame
honoree and the Club’s first Chairman Tom Davidson summarizes that Dick made major contributions to the culture and DNA of Ocean Reef Club and the Ocean Reef community as its stands today. He went on to become the Club’s third Chairman, and focused on continued membership growth and strong Equity sales.
But assisting in the buyout, serving as a Board Member, Vice Chairman and Chairman, just wasn’t quite enough. Shortly after Dick completed his chairmanship, the trio of future Hall of Famers imagined a theater. And beyond
that, a proper library and a museum. And everyone knew a community meeting room was needed. “Just as with
everything, Dick was quick to say ‘Count me in, let’s go!’”, says Mr. Davidson, and the idea for the Ocean Reef Cultural Center was born. And as is true of many of the most important institutions at Ocean Reef, Dick was not just in, he was leading the way. He and Joyce over the years were lead donors for key institutions like the Cultural Center, Medical Center and Town Hall, and others. All organizations that help cement the community as “the” place for multi-generational families to enjoy.
As co-author, alongside Shirley Shipley, of Ocean Reef’s history book, “On the Reef, The Legendary Ocean Reef Club and the People Who Made It Great,” published in 2012, his love for Ocean Reef made this a very personal project. Countless hours were spent researching both anecdotes and facts, conducting interviews and selecting photographs to tell the authentic story of The Reef. Mr. Farmer and Ms. Shipley literally wrote the Club’s history. It is
a book that is today gifted to every new Member.
Dick, with wife Joyce by his side, was a beacon and guiding light at Ocean Reef for more than four decades. At his 2018 induction into the Hall of Fame poignant quotes filled the screen from friends and associates. “Thoughtful” “Counselor” “Role Model” “Determined” “Honorable” “Admired” These were just a few of many. The Ocean Reef Club will be forever grateful not only for his contributions, but for his passion of, and deep connection to, a place that he loved. “I just enjoy every minute I have spent in this place. This is the most wonderful place I have ever been.”
Dick Farmer, 1934 – 2021
Mr. Farmer’s obituary can be read on page 5.