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This is the third in a series of profiles on members of the 2017 induction class of the Fike High Athletic Hall of Fame that will be enshrined Oct. 21 in a ceremony at the school.
Gary Farmer has been involved in so many endeavors in his adult life that it might be easy to forget he was a standout athlete at Fike High more than half a century ago.
Farmer, who will be enshrined along with eight others in the 10th induction ceremony for the Fike High Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, Oct. 21, was a key member of head coach Gilbert Ferrell’s Cyclone baseball teams and played football for head coach Henry Trevathan, both of whom were charter members of the Fike hall of fame.
Farmer had never played football until he got to Fike but ended up starting some as a sophomore at defensive end for the Cyclones under head coach Paul Marklin. Farmer spent his last season on Trevathan’s first Fike team in 1964 where he learned the importance of organization and attention to detail from the legendary head coach.
As a catcher and sometimes outfielder on Ferrell’s Cyclones, Farmer proved to be a reliable player with the bat and glove. More importantly, he gleaned valuable life lessons such as actions speak louder than words and to treat everyone with respect from Ferrell, who instilled confidence in Farmer as well.
Farmer then attended Atlantic Christian (now Barton) College, where he played for the Bulldogs baseball team and earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education as well as certification in deaf education. The latter would prove to be a defining point of Farmer’s career as an educator.
He spent more than 30 years teaching at Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf where he also served as a coach, athletic director, transportation director and, ultimately, dean of students. Farmer then spent the last seven years of his career as a teacher and coach at Elm City Middle School.
Farmer has been involved in numerous civic activities as well as serving on the Wilson County Board of Education. He was instrumental in the fight to keep ENCSD open when the North Carolina General Assembly pondered closing the school several years ago.
The lessons Farmer learned from Trevathan and Ferrell as a Fike Cyclone have served him and his community well.