First Baptist Church Bitty Basketball Program
Jaroyce (Jay) Paul Farris, 75, El Dorado Springs, passed away peacefully at his home on March 5, 2015.
Jay was born in El Reno, OK on August 24, 1939, to Ulies R. Farris and Irene (Alford) Farris.
Jay was united in marriage to Rita Anne McMillian on May 29, 1965, in Kansas City, MO.
Jay loved sports and played college baseball at Oklahoma Baptist University under Coach Bob Bass in Shawnee, OK. Jay’s first coaching position was in Huntsville, MO. He was athletic director, baseball and basketball coach. He also coached girls and boys in Ashland, MO and St. James, MO before moving to El Dorado Springs in 1976.
Girls basketball was a challenge for Jay. He said they would cry if they won and cry if they lost and their emotions were hard for him, but they had talent and he gained a lot of enjoyment from those emotions.
After retiring from teaching and coaching, Jay became, what Rita refers to, “as an entrepreneur”. He worked in insurance, pawn business, car dealership, retail, and, until his health issues wouldn’t allow him to work any longer, real estate. Jay loved people, loved visiting and always wanted to talk about fishing, hunting and sports. He remembered every coach, referee, and student he worked with. One of his greatest attributes was his fairness and, of course, the big smile he always had when he saw you and then was ready to tease. He treated all his students equal and always had time to listen to them. You didn’t have to be an athlete to get his attention. He cared about all the students.
Jay did not go to the coffee shop after retirement. But, he had friends that did, and they were his fishing and hunting buddies. They told the stories. Several times Rita heard Brent Bland ask him, “Are all those stories true Steve Thomas tells?” Rita didn’t think he enjoyed deer hunting as much as the camping with the guys at Sue Sadler’s and, once again, the stories. These were a lot of memorable times for him.
One of his proudest accomplishments was starting the Bitty Basketball program at First Baptist Church several years ago. He loved to watch kids learn and play any sport.
Jay taught a men’s Sunday school class at First Baptist Church for many years. He was so proud of those men and would tell Rita stories every Sunday about his class and what they discussed. He loved to teach the lessons through present day experiences, which were mostly sports related. He didn’t know a newspaper had anything but a sports page. His Sunday School class was a great encouragement to him.
The year 2014 was a year Jay would not forget for several reasons. Being inducted into Southern Boone County Baseball Hall of Fame was a special honor and then in April his induction into Missouri Basketball Coach’s Hall of Fame in Springfield, MO. Jay was very humble and proud of these achievements.
Jay loved watching Asa’s baseball games. Asa, grandpa always talked about how coachable you are and loved working with you until his health made it impossible. So, work hard for grandpa because he will be watching your games. “May You Always be Granted Extra Innings.”
Adi, grandpa thought you were the most beautiful baby and now teen. He said you possessed class, poise and sweetness along with a little bullheadedness, which we know that you inherited from him. Your love for animals and deer hunting always pleased him.
Jay was very proud of his Indian heritage and took a lot of pride in hearing stories Adi and Asa told their friends about their being Indian. Asa recently researched the Absentee Shawnee tribe and wrote a book report on his discoveries.
Preceding Jay in death were his parents and niece.
Survivors include his wife, Rita, daughter Stacey and husband, Lee Wilson of Nevada, MO. His grandchildren, Lacie Smith, Adilynn Wilson and Asa Wilson, one sister, Shirley Megehee, brother-in-law, Charles McMillian and nieces, nephews and many cousins.