Mesa native, Ross Nash Farnsworth, Jr., passed away September 5, 2015, at the age of 59.
Born February 14, 1956, to Ross Nash and Anita Cox Farnsworth, Ross was the second of their 12 children. He attended Westwood High School, served an LDS mission to Bogota, Colombia, and went on to earn a business degree from Brigham Young University. He married Lori Barnes in 1979 and they had six children and 13 grandchildren.
An entrepreneur, Ross enjoyed working with many different people on many different projects, particularly those that helped lift others to overcome financial or personal challenges.
His sister, Carol Farnsworth Tingey, speaking at his funeral, said, “He was kind of irreverent, an extrovert and a rule breaker, with a “big personality” that was “larger than life.”
“His middle name should have been ‘fun,’” said long-time friend, David Jones. “He had a great sense of humor,” that was “often self-deprecating.”
At the same time, Ross had a “testimony and love for the Savior, gratitude for the atonement and love for the Lord,” Jones said.
Ross served for the past three years in the Mountain View Young Single Adult Ward bishopric and when he had surgery to have a brain cancer tumor removed and was given only a short time to live, “His Church calling was his biggest concern,” Jones said.
“He loved the single adults and prayed for them constantly,” said Ross’s daughter, Haylie Spencer.
This, she said, was part of his overall conviction of love for his fellowman and his testimony of Jesus Christ, both of which were “taught through example,” Haylie said. “I will remember my father as always trying to obey the two great commandments.”
“He lived a life of service and friendship,” said daughter, Brooke Martin. “In his heart, he could never do enough.”
“Dad was always striving to be better,” she added, and he tried to help others do the same, always, “lifting, encouraging and reminding others what they had to offer in this world.”
In particular, she said, friends and family have recognized Ross’s “Latino heart” and his determination to break the cycle of poverty through his charity, One Life At a Time (olaat.org). To date, OLAAT has touched the lives of 5,000 students and has helped 2,000 missionaries to serve from San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Ross’s son, Ashton, said, in the 12 months since his father’s diagnosis, the family had seen his legacy of love and service “come full circle.” He said they have been touched and lifted by those around them who reached out in love.
“He left things intact and the way he wanted them,” Ashton said. “He has done well with the short time he had on earth.”
“My dad lived life daily with the eternities in mind,” said daughter, Heidi Ainge. “His work here is done,” and “It was time for him to go home where he could better take care of his family, and to influence, help and guide them.”
“I know the influence Ross had will carry on for generations,” said David A. Christensen, OLAAT’s CEO. “He will have influence from the other side of the veil that will be important to many.”
Ross is survived by his mother, Anita; his wife, Lori; siblings: Beth Coons (Chad), Julie Ashby, Joe Farnsworth (Sharanette), Amy Ahlstrom (Craig), Janet Turk (Terry), Bonnie Shill (Mark), Ruth Collins (Dave), Carol Tingey (Mike), Sherri Gurr (Kevan), Tom Farnsworth (Melissa) and Jill Geigle (Jeremy); and children: Ross Nash Farnsworth III (Ashley), Brooke Martin (Brett), Heidi Ainge (Tanner), Haylie Nolen (Spencer), Ashton Farnsworth (Jill) and Aubrey Farnsworth. The family requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to One Life At a Time (olaat.org).