KENNETH EARL FARST
Ken Farst, age 79, passed away Thursday, May 6, at Miami Valley Hospital. He was born on April 6, 1943 in Mansfield, Ohio to loving parents, Earl Paul Farst and Marion E. (Miller) Farst.
Ken graduated from Ohio Northern University with a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree in 1965. Shortly after graduating, he joined Elder-Beerman in Dayton. He was placed at the company’s northwest hub, which controlled all the Dayton stores. Since Ken aspired to own his own drug store, he greatly appreciated being mentored by Arthur Beerman on the business side of retail pharmacy. In 1969, Ken bought his own store in Vandalia and named it Ken’s Pharmacy. It was a small 1,800-square-foot store, and he worked six to seven days a week until he brought in his close friend from college, Bill Willhelm, as a partner in 1971. Together, they opened Tipp Top Drugs in 1972, along with several Owl Drugs stores throughout the northern Miami Valley.
In the late 1970’s, Ken and Bill formed a buying group that enabled other independent drug stores competitive pricing. They also opened Advanced Medical in Dayton, which became one of the largest medical supply companies in the area. By 1985, Ken’s Pharmacy had expanded into a 12,000-square-foot space that gradually became an institution in Vandalia. Ken’s Pharmacy was awarded as one of the top 100 independent drug stores in America by Drug Topics Magazine in 1986. After more than 50 years in business, Ken sold Ken’s Pharmacy and retired in 2018. He served thousands of customers throughout the years while maintaining the motto of “treat the customer as if they were your family member.” Ken was kind, thoughtful and generous. He loved mentoring, and numerous employees used the skills he shared later in their professional lives. He felt blessed to be able to live and work in his community and be able to support local parks and recreation, schools and community needs. Ken served as President of the Vandalia-Butler Chamber of Commerce in its earlier years and participated in other community organizations and causes.
Ken lived an amazing life and accomplished many things – both personally and professionally. During his time at Butler High School in Mansfield, he was an All-Ohio quarterback for the Bulldogs. Known to most as “Kenny,” he participated in basketball, track and football, where he also quarterbacked the school’s 1960 team to an undefeated 9-0 season. He often was called a leader in the huddle and was later inducted into the Clear Fork Valley Athletic Hall of Fame.
Ken relished time with his family. He was an avid skier and enjoyed skiing with his six boys and wife, Candice, for many years at Holiday Valley in Ellicottville, New York. He also was able to include his grandchildren in this sport. He was an active golfer and member at Troy Country Club for many years with a cache of golfing buds. In 2001, Ken and Candice started their boating adventures and were often able to include family and friends on these voyages. It all began in Santa Barbara and quickly turned into 7 years in the Pacific Northwest, traveling from Olympia, Washington to the Broughton Islands in British Columbia, Canada. Recent years were spent traveling America’s Great Loop by boat, journeying more than 7,000 nautical miles with stops in small towns and big cities every 50-75 miles. Approximately 160 boats complete the loop each year, and Ken and Candice were grateful to be able to join those ranks. Ken counted his blessings often, and his family touts him as an extremely rare and special man, as evidenced by his abundance of family and friends, good works, adventures, and overall a life well-lived.
Ken was preceded in death by Earl Paul Farst (father), Marian E. Farst (mother), Kenneth (Kenny) Earl Farst II (son), and Matthew Levi Farst (son).
He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Candice (Brown) Farst; children Allen (Amy) Farst, Joshua Farst (Danelle James), Bradley Farst, Monte Farst (Megan Tower), and Kenton Farst; grandchildren Alexis, Cierra, Lynx, Celeste, Hadley, Vail, Userica, Hayden, Triton, Von, Calia, Violet, Zoey and Katherine; brother Steve Farst and sister Joyce Markley; along with much extended family including Natalie Farst and Harlo and Stacy Coburn and Heaven and many beloved friends that include his adopted brother, Mike Lawson.
Visitation Services will be held Friday, May 13 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Morton & Whetstone Funeral Home in Vandalia, Ohio. Funeral Services will be Saturday May 14 at 10 a.m. at the Vandalia United Methodist Church, 200 S. Dixie Dr., with Mr. John Seagraves officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Vandalia-Butler Foundation Fund #2185 in support of local community needs in Ken’s memory.
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