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- L-Town Expatriate
- Posts: 6838
- Joined: Fri Apr 23, 2004 12:00 am
- Location: Riding a Mule down the Katy Trail to the State Fair
Virtually everyone on this forum, not to mention everyone who has ever picked up a buzzer, tabulated a scoresheet, or sat in the back of a classroom, library or even gymnasium to take in a match of our august activity, has been impacted by Carol Lou Farmer, the North Shelby teacher who over 55 years ago, launched what's considered Missouri's first high school scholar bowl tournament and began the proliferation of our Varsity Sport of the Mind. I am saddened to post that Coach Farmer passed away Tuesday morning at the age of 88.
Much has been told of Carol's role in scholar bowl over the years. The Shelby County farm girl who had hoped to see the world channeled that passion into teaching her students about it, lighting the lamp of knowledge for thousands of Missouri youth who not only entered her classroom, but also took part in those inaugural tournaments that laid the foundation for scholar bowl. From those events at North Shelby, KSTC (now Truman), Scotland County, and beyond, Carol began leading her students to combine their competitive spirit with a passion for intellect and an eye toward camaraderie between scholars. From the fertile soils of Northeast Missouri, our activity grew, eventually catching on around the rest of the state, leading to the formation of the MAA in 1992, the first MSHSAA-sponsored state championship in 1996, and from there, the grassroots-driven MOQBA that has launched and promoted almost 400 tournaments in the past 15 years. It's a unique path that our activity took, in that it started among our smaller, rural schools, a legacy cemented by our national champions Hallsville in 2014 and Fair Grove this past April.
For all she's done for quiz bowl in Missouri, and for all the time I've spent in Northeast Missouri, I have to be candid in admitting that I'm struggling to recall any visits with her. When I debuted Scholars Weekly on KRES in 2015, she was one of the first to call the station and laud the increased presence of quiz bowl on the air. Most likely there were some passing conversations during visits to my grandparents in Clarence. But it's safe to say that every high school tournament I've played—from that first event Paul Nelson hosted at UMR in October 1999 to our state championship win in 2003, where Carol was on site—and the dozens of tournaments I've helped staff, launch and run across the state, had the influence and inspiration of Carol Farmer. Quiz bowl might have eventually caught on in Missouri had she not organized that first team nearly six decades ago, but it would have likely taken on a much different feel.
Missouri Quizbowl, as well as education and the pursuit of knowledge in Missouri, is better for having Carol Farmer at the helm those many years ago.
Thank you, Coach Farmer. You will be missed.