Obituaries » The Honorable James Sebrell Farmer, Sr.
The Honorable James Sebrell Farmer, Sr. died June 12, 2022, at Lynchburg General Hospital.
Born in Princess Ann County, Virginia Beach, July 17, 1933, to Isaac Herbert Farmer and Ann Bell Sebrell, both deceased, Jim grew up and attended schools in the Richmond area. After graduating from high school he enlisted in the United States Air Force. Following his service he enrolled in college, graduating from then Lynchburg College in 1957.
He then began a teaching and coaching career, which included 4 years at Virginia Episcopal School from 1958 to 1962, during which time he led the Bishops to their first ever Prep League Basketball championship in 1961. In that same year he met and married Frances Marion Love. In 1962, he entered law school at Washington and Lee and graduated in 1965. He returned to Lynchburg and practiced law until 1980 when he was elected by the Virginia General Assembly to General District Court Bench where he served until 1995. Upon his retirement he was presented with the Liberty Bell Award by the Lynchburg Bar Association in recognition of his “community service
that has strengthened the American system of freedom under law”. After his retirement he continued to serve as a judge, substituting in courts throughout the Commonwealth.
Jim’s teaching and coaching experience stood him in good stead during his legal career. Often beginning lawyers found him a willing mentor and during his tenure as a judge he tried to phrase his comments in a way that would help defendants learn from their mistakes. His colleagues found him innovative and easy to work with. He was praised for developing a work program for the 24th district which allowed people to work off their fines if they were unable to pay.
He was also described as having an unbelievable insight into human nature and the law, with an effect more personal than powerful, laid back and quick witted defying the image of a judge as a stern arbiter of justice.
He is survived by his wife, Marion Love Farmer and son, Robert Harris Farmer, Daughter-in-law, Rachel Lynn Farmer and two grandchildren, Mae and James Farmer of Kill Devil Hills, NC. He was predeceased by his son, James Sebrell Farmer, Jr. (1965-2014), one brother, Isaac Herbert Farmer, Jr., and three sisters, Mary Ann Sebrell Shackelford, Caroline Drury Mullaney, and Emily Nelson Reams.
The family suggests that those wishing to make memorials consider Virginia Episcopal School, 400 VES Road, Lynchburg, VA 24503.
Tharp Funeral Home & Crematory, Lynchburg, is assisting the family.
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