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Lila Lee Farmer
40-year Manteca resident
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Lila Lee Farmer, 84, went to Heaven on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009 after losing her fight with leukemia. She was born August 20, 1924 in Silo Springs, Arkansas to the late Charles and Beatrice Clifton Wallingford, her father was English and Mother was half Otoe Indian.

She called Manteca her home for over 40 years; where she first worked at the old A&W drive in, Welch’s Café , the Scoop and Foster Freeze. She also worked for a short time in a nursing home in Manteca cooking for the elderly.

In her last years she volunteered at the Senior Brown Bag of Manteca until her illness forced her to quit. She still loved to go and chat with her friends even after she was forced to retire. Lila enjoyed working in her cactus, flower and rose gardens; she took great pride in keeping them looking their best. She also loved making quilts for her family and friends.

Lila cherished her family dearly and enjoyed visiting them in Oregon and Oklahoma; where many of them resided, as she came from a family of fifteen, she always looked forward to the family reunions they held every few years. She also loved to play the penny slots, to her winning a dollar was like winning a hundred dollars. She loved the noise of the slot machines.

She loved going shopping with her adopted daughter Mary whom she met while working at the A&W over 45 years ago. The two also enjoyed long car rides in the country with Mary’s husband, George Brum of Manteca. One thing that she loved to talk about was the secret 80th birthday celebration that her family and friends gave her at the Library Park, nearly 150 people showed up and she never suspected a thing.  

She read almost a book a day, staying up late some nights to just finish a great story. Two of her favorite things were doing crossword puzzles and watching Wheel of Fortune on TV. The only pet she ever had with the exception of a few stray kittens was her parrot “Homes”. When Homes died a few years ago it really broke her heart, she had him almost 27 years.

Up until last year she had this 50 year old English walnut tree in her front yard, from late October thru January she would be out picking up the fallen nuts regardless if it was day, night, raining or windy. She would clean them, crack them open, pick out the meat, dry them, then bag them tag them, and freeze them until she made cookies or her famous homemade sugared candy walnuts. It cost more to mail than they were worth but she love doing it this way. She did this for over 20 years. She was sad when the tree had to go but she understood.

She loved to cook for her family and friends. Most meals she still made from scratch as her Mother had taught her. It could be a hundred degrees outside but she still would be standing over a hot stove and make what seemed like a 9-coruse meal when ask why she would cook in the heat  she would just smile and say that we still had to eat and that you can’t live on a sandwich.

Lila and her husband RJ where married for 37 years before he passes away in May of 1980. Lila is survived by her younger siblings, Carmen Jelinek and Pete Wallingford both of Tulsa, OK. children; Sharron Alexander of Portland, OR and Chuck Farmer of Manteca. She was also preceded in death by three other sons Junior, Bernie, & Marshall Farmer. She had 9 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and 3 great-great grandchildren. Lila called many more her children and grand children as she was known to many as Mom or Grand Maw Farmer. One of those grandchildren named his first-born son after her late husband and his first daughter after her, Ira and Lila Brum. The walls in her home are covered with pictures of family and friends the many photo albums she has collected through the years scatter the house along with the many whatnots that she has been given over the years. She always found a place for them.

Lila never had an unkind word for any one. She will be missed greatly by her family and friends. Her Family thanks every one for the prayers, cards, food and visits and for just being there. They made the Family and Lila’s last days very precious and bearable.

A memorial service will be held at PL Fry & Son Funeral Home, 290 North Union Road, Manteca, on Wednesday, Aug. 19, at 3 p.m.. Final resting place will be at Valhalla Memorial Park, 10621 Victory Blvd., North Hollywood, CA in the family plot. In lieu of flowers remembrances can be sent in Mrs. Farmer’s name to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Donor Services, P.O. Box 4072, Pittsfield, MA 01202.  An online guest book is also available at
Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin
Sunday, Aug. 16, 2009