Samantha Lynn Farnsworth passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
A special memorial service for Samantha will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, at Owens Livingston Mortuary-White Mountain Chapel, 320 N. Ninth St. in Show Low. The concluding service and inurnment will immediately follow at the City of Show Low Cemetery.
She was born Dec 9, 1941, two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, in Mesa with the given name of Gwendalyn Webb, and her siblings referred to her as “Sis.” She later legally changed her name to Samantha Lynn Webb.
Samantha grew up in Joseph City and graduated from Holbrook High School in 1959. She went on to attend Northern Arizona College (now NAU), where she obtained a degree in journalism.
She had a colorful work history. Out of college she was employed as an airline attendant based out of San Francisco. After putting her “stewardess” uniform away, Samantha ran public relations for a casino in Nevada. This was where she met the likes of Cher, John Wayne, Glen Campbell, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Johnny Cash, Sonny Bono, Hank Williams, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers…and many other celebrities of that time period. She was the neighbor and friend of Sammy Davis Jr. in Lake Tahoe, Nev. One of her favorite and regaled memories was when one early morning on the shores of Lake Tahoe Elvis Presley was coming off the water from skiing. It was early, around 5 a.m. Much to her delight, he danced around in the sand with her baby girl, singing Love Me Tender. This may have been the highlight of her life, a life which, anyone who knew her would agree, was lived to the fullest extent.
Samantha lived with her family in Lake Tahoe when she worked as a Washoe County dispatcher. She and her boys loved to snow ski and boat. After returning to Arizona in 1975, she initially worked for the Chamber of Commerce in Winslow, where she was interviewed on TV twice and met the governor of Arizona. When she moved to Snowflake in 1977, she began her illustrious career in the paper mill. She started out in the paper industry as an executive assistant and worked for three general managers (“mill managers”) before being promoted to systems vibrations analyst. As she pioneered systems vibrations analysis, as a leader in the field Samantha toured the country, where she taught and trained in the industry. Articles she wrote or in which she was featured were published in multiple magazines. She finished her career in Idabel, Okla., before returning to Snowflake in 1985.
In 1989, Samantha moved to Grenada, Miss., where she donated her time to GLAD teaching the underprivileged elderly how to read. After her husband, David Gibson, passed away in 1996, she moved to Parker, Page and finally Ft. Thomas, where she enjoyed being an Arizona Ranger.
She was married to Ivan “Ike” Farnsworth in 2000.
Samantha was well loved and knew how to have a good time. She had room in her heart for everyone in her life, and maintained lifelong friendships. Some of the most special people to her, besides her own children and siblings, were her stepkids and grandkids, whom she loved as her own.
She loved to dance, was an avid reader of books and poetry, a writer, a master gardener and loved to travel. Most recognized her from the fun convertibles she drove around, including her ‘77 MG Midget.
Samantha loved her rescued Besenji dogs, or whichever her current rescue was. She had hundreds over her lifetime.
Samantha’s very best friend was her sister Darlene, and oh, how much fun they must be having in Heaven now.
Survivors include her three children, Danielle (Dirk) Hancock of Snowflake, Dayton Livingston of Phoenix and Larry (Lori) Young of Tucson; three brothers, Edwin (Zella) Webb of Holbrook, Leroy (Jean) Webb of Clinton, Utah, and Kelcey (Cindy) Webb of Cheyenne, Wyo.; four grandkids, James Young, Jared Young, Kelci Hill and Dirk Gary Hancock; and a great-grandchild, Laker Hill. She is also survived by many beloved nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, David Kent Gibson; her husband, Ivan “Ike” Farnsworth; her mother and father, Gwendolyn and Burr Webb; her sister, Darlene (Steve) Smith; and her nephew, Patrick Smith.