I Love You Ema

My beloved grandmother, Elizabeth “Betty” Farson, passed away last week. My sister, cousins and I always knew her as Ema.  She went on to the next life in her sleep at my parents house in La Jolla, where she had been living during the final stage of her wonderful life.

Up until her final days, Ema was full of vitality, wit, and lust for life. After holding her head high, living 4 months longer than doctors predicted, her two-year battle with cancer ended. 

Ema had no fear of death. Everything she did was meaningful, adventurous, passionate, and loving.  Pure morals and values made her a tremendous influence on those who had the pleasure of knowing her.

Ema was on the cover of the Aspen Times newspaper because of her incredible ceramics. Shortly before she died, her fellow potters at the Anderson Ranch Art Center wrapped a log with her article in pryer flags from Tibet, which they used to fuel the wood-fire kiln. Ema had a tremendous influence on fellow artists.

Ema was one of the strongest people I have ever known (my parents are right there with her), and my greatest hero.  She always fought for what she believed in, never backed down from anyone or anything, and devoted herself completely to the people, places, and things she cared about.

Ema loading the wood-fire kiln one last time.

After raising my mom and uncle, Clark, at WindanSea, Ema moved to Aspen and started her own hotel rating business. My mom and uncle grew up sharing time between Aspen with Ema, and La Jolla with my Grandfather, Richard Farson, until they graduated from high school.

Ema and my mom became devoted to ceramics 20 years ago, and their incredible work has earned praise time and time again. Ema worked hard and shared a special bond with fellow artists whom she shared studio space with at the Red Brick Art Studio in Aspen. Before she died, Ema’s friends helped her have a pottery sale in her studio and everything sold in a matter of hours. Some of her work is still shown in various galleries.

Ema and my mom took a life-changing trip to Africa years ago. Her ceramic African bushman was inspired from the experience, is to scale, and one of my favorites.

Ema was a great skier up until she stopped about five years ago. Last year she completed her final bi-yearly solo drive from Colorado to San Diego to visit our family. She was a devoted democrat who poured her heart into elections and let everyone know why.  One of her final wishes was to see Obama get re-elected.

Ema spent over a year sailing from Florida to Hawaii in a small sailboat. She had tremendous experiences throughout her entire life which she shared with me at the beach this past summer.  Ema never wasted time on people or things that were of little interest. Her full attention was given to the people, places, and things she respected, and she always let everyone know what was on her mind.

Everyone loves Ema’s ceramic oil can replicas.

Ema and I were close.  We shared similar passions and lifestyles and were always on the same wavelength.  The values and morals Ema instilled in my family helped us grow to become close and supportive, and although I am so sad she is no longer here with us in the human form, her spirit is instilled in everything I do. Love you Ema.

Aspen declared August 13th Betty Farson day. She had such a positive impact on the town – amazing women.

Check out some of her ceramic work at www.ElizabethFarsonCeramics.com.

Visit Apsen Times to learn more about my grandmother in her obituary.

My dad took the images used in this post during our last trip to Aspen, shortly after we heard her cancer had become terminal.

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10 Responses to I Love You Ema

  1. Will Sooter says:

    Hi John,
    I am so sorry to hear that your Grandmother Ema is no longer with us.
    You were blessed to have had such a close connection to a wonderful, creative and passionate woman. She will always be with you in spirit John.

    I lost my Dad last month (he was 98) so I can relate to how you are feeling.
    John, I hope I get to visit with you while you are back in Cali.
    All the best,
    Will

  2. John Maher says:

    Thank you for everything Will, sorry about your father, you are an awesome person. Keep in touch when I arrive.

  3. that’s a really nice memorial to Betty. she would love it. her art was soooo good..! and she was super strong, right til the end. she had no regrets and seemed to have disappeared during her sleep.

    sorry about your loss johnny….

    uncle jeremy

  4. Brian Hill says:

    John, thanks for a thoughtful and insightful tribute. I was fortunate to meet Betty a few times, (I new her as Betty) and it was great to read her journey and the positive influence she had on you and everyone that knew her. Again thanks so much for sharing!

    Brian

  5. annika says:

    Johnny, I know I’m a little late on this, but I just read this and it’s beautiful. I remember you speaking so highly of your grandmother when I visited a couple years back. So sorry for your loss, but grateful for the time you had with her. She sounds remarkable.

    a

  6. Jeff Grimes says:

    Aunt Betty was a wonderful woman and we were lucky to have her in our lives. John; Although we are distant cousins, we have never met, know her spirit is still with us and she is loved in her hometown.

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