Mary Jane Farmer, lifelong resident of West Columbia, passed away June 25, 2020, after a long illness. She entered this world on February 20, 1944, in Bay City, Texas. Born to Robert Ruffin and Louise Scott Farmer, Mary Jane’s father was a descendent of a pioneering ranching family that lived in 19th Century Brazoria County long before Texas became a state.
After graduating from Vassar College and a 15-year stint on Wall Street, Mary Jane returned to her childhood home and built Sky Meadow Farms, a container-grown tree farm, on land that was part of the original Farmer Ranch. Live oak trees from her operation now grace the front drive to Texas State Capital and circle the entrance to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library.
Mary Jane attended school in West Columbia from first through ninth grade. She graduated from Holton-Arms, a girls’ boarding school in Washington D.C. Those who knew her remember her playing the piano by ear, a talent that surfaced when she was only three years old. Several summers were spent in Mexico City and Paris and she became fluent in both Spanish and French. Mary Jane truly enjoyed traveling with friends and family, especially to Europe, Latin America, and Japan.
She is survived by her sister, Elizabeth (Bettie) Anne Schwartz and husband, Bill, nephew, Tyler Schwartz, his wife, Jennifer and their child, Dylan. The family sends special thanks to Armando Garcia, who heads the tree farm operation, his wife, Martha, son Jerry, as well as Barbara Patterson, Mary Jane’s devoted bookkeeper. All of these persons lovingly cared for her in the last few months of her life.
A memorial service will be held for family and friends at Sky Meadow Farms later in the year. After the celebration, her ashes will be scattered over the land she so dearly loved.