Obituary: Lan Stewart Farley

‘Renaissance man in the rough’

Stewart (also known as Lan or Lanny) Farley was a Renaissance man who left this world on October 5. Stewart’s last retreat was his own chosen version of desert solitaire: a night sky full of beautiful stars and surrounded by nature. “His suffering has ended, and for that, his loved ones are grateful,” his family shared.

He was born in Worland, Wyoming on February 10, 1940, to Bob Farley and Jeanette Dawson Farley. He started life on a homestead farm near Manderson, Wyoming, and progressed to the small town of Basin, Wyoming. Much of his childhood included exploring the Big Horn Mountains while riding his palomino, Blondie.

Stewart attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara and Claremont Graduate University, where he earned his master’s degree in teaching. In 1993 he earned his Ph.D. in training and learning technologies from the University of New Mexico. He was a devoted and creative teacher, and later served as an education administrator. Stewart worked in education for most of his career, and his commitment to youth was a contribution that positively impacted numerous lives.

Stewart’s talents were used in many ways. He opened a restaurant/bed and breakfast, launched a solar and construction business, started a school, and created video productions for the Eight Northern Pueblos in New Mexico, among other careers. He raced motorcycles, flew small planes, restored cars, built homes, collected tools, created fabulous meals, and cultivated beautiful vegetable and flower gardens.

Not just a man of action, but also a true intellectual, Stewart always sought knowledge and deeper meaning in life. He enjoyed thoughtful discussions in the hot tub both day and night. He also particularly loved mountain and desert camping with his longtime partner, Paula McGee, and their dog, Atti.

“Stewart was known for his initiative (there was nothing he couldn’t start!), his versatility (he was good at nearly everything he tried), and his breadth of knowledge,” his family shared. “He had incredible luck, both in smaller matters like finding parking spots, and in much larger daredevil pursuits. His antics were legendary. Those who knew him well have many stories to tell!

“Perhaps Stewart will be best remembered for his incredible generosity and soothing hugs. He reached out a helping hand to those he cared about, and he gave deeply of himself. His love and sense of adventure were a gift to this world, and he will be greatly missed.”

Stewart is survived by his partner, Paula McGee; ex-wife Elisabeth (Merriam) Farley; daughter Alicia Johnston and family; and sister, Janis Smith.

Several celebrations of life will be held in Stewart’s honor by his closest family members. If you wish to celebrate him too, please listen to his favorite piece of music: Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, and consider supporting his chosen nonprofit organization, Compassion & Choices, at


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