Frances Farthing

Frances Farthing
Watauga County Nurse

Biographical Sketch of Dr. Frances Farthing by Sara Cook

Watauga County has produced many people who have contributed to North Carolina’s customs and society. Dr. Frances Farthing belong those ranks. Her contributions to nursing education have improved the quality of nursing schools throughout western North Carolina and Virginia. The many years of service Dr. Farthing spent have also earned recognition from her peers and most recently from Appalachian State University. Truly, Dr. Farthing is a remarkable individual.

Frances Marian Farthing, daughter of Benjamin Walter and Dixie Glenn Farthing, was born November 27, 1911 at the home of J.L. Glenn in Valle Crucis. She spent most of her childhood at her family’s farm on Beech Mountain at Heaton, North Carolina. The farm originally belonged to her great grandfather, Benjamin Greer. In 1920, the Farthing family moved to Valle Crucis. Frances graduated high school in 1928 at Cove Creek and earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Appalachian State Teachers College in 1935. From ASTC, she travelled to Cornell University’s New York Hospital School of Nursing, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing.

Farthing returned to North Carolina to head the newly-formed Cabarrus-County Hospital School of Nursing in Concord. She worked there nine years. In 1954, Farthing moved to Johnson Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Virginia, to head their School of Nursing and also serve as the Director of Nursing. She served in this position until 1960.

Farthing returned to Appalachian in 1960 to begin work on a Master’s degree in Counseling and Guidance, which she earned in 1962. Her education was completed in 1968 with the awarding of a Doctoral degree in Organization and Administration of Higher Education from Florida State University. Farthing was the first nurse to receive that degree in the history of FSU.

Farthing then worked at Grace Hospital in Morganton, North Carolina, in conjunction with Lenoir-Rhyne College’s School of Nursing. In this program, Farthing was instrumental in recruiting western North Carolina students into the School of Nursing. When she returned in 1978, Farthing’s nursing program was one of the most successful in the state. Ten percent of Lenoir-Rhyne’s nursing graduates would go on to earn a Master’s degree in nursing.

Many honors have been awarded Frances Farthing during her nursing career. She served for three years on the State Nursing Board, was inducted in to Delta Kappa Gamma, the national nursing society, and belonged to the American Association of University Women. In October, 1985, she received the Appalachian State University’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr. Farthing also is a member of the Watauga County Historical Society and also Valle Crucis United Methodist Church. At present, Dr. Farthing winters in Lake Dova, Florida, and works on her family homeplace on the Watauga River in the summer. Watauga County has every right to be proud of Dr. Farthing and her achievements.