In Memoriam: Rainier Haines Farmer


by Tyler Farmer and Michael Zittle, CHP

Rainier Haines Farmer, Oregon State University radiation safety officer, passed away at the Evergreen Hospice Center in Albany, Oregon, on 5 June 2014 after a brave but short battle with cancer.

Rainier was born 29 November 1959 in Albany, Oregon, to Maurice "Lefty" Farmer and Mary Farmer. He has three brothers, Rogue, Revere, and Ryan Farmer, and a half-sister, Nancy Cullen.

Rainier lived his entire life in Albany, graduating from West Albany High School in 1978. He met his wife, Penny, while in high school, and they were married 2 July 1983. Son Tyler was born in 1986 and daughter Vanessa followed in 1990.

Rainier played bass guitar in several bands, beginning in high school, including Adobe Sky, Justin Tyme, The Safari Club, and the Bush Pilots. He also played stand-up bass in The Kindreds.

In 1983 Rainier received his bachelor of science degree in business administration from Oregon State University (OSU). He had begun working as a student employee at the OSU Radiation Center while attending classes. After graduation he took a temporary position in radiation safety, which led to a regular position. He was appointed radiation safety officer in 1990.

He earned his master's degree in public health in 1991. Rainier was active in several on- and off-campus committees, including chairing the Alternative Transportation Advisory Committee for several years.

Rainier joined the Health Physics Society in 1991. A very active member of the Cascade Chapter from the 1980s until the time of his death, Rainier served as chapter president in 1997 and secretary in 1994 and 1995.

In addition to work, family, and music, Rainier spent his time skiing, bicycling (both commuting and mountain biking), brewing his own beer, and travelling. He had also served on the Board of Directors for Cornerstone Associates, an organization dedicated to creating community-involvement opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, since 1995.

Some of Rainier's gifts were a great sense of humor, a genuine interest in a wide range of subjects, the ability to make friends easily, a true commitment to all his undertakings, a deep love for his family, a sense of responsibility for the environment, a keen intelligence, respect for others, and a desire to do things the right way.

His high degree of professionalism, expertise, and thoroughness will be greatly missed by his staff and the campus community. Rainier's care and consideration for people around him was evident in his many community-service activities, and he leaves a legacy as an extremely dedicated husband, father, mentor, musician, and friend.

A service to honor his life was held Sunday, 29 June 2014 at the Albany Senior Center. Memorial contributions may be made to Cornerstone Associates Inc. of Corvallis, where Rainier was a longtime board member.

"Rainier was a natural mentor to the students and coworkers who passed through his office. He was a good listener and a consummate professional. And it was a pleasure to watch him play with his bands—the relaxed atmosphere of his music came as naturally to him as his professionalism in the  office. He will be greatly missed at work and at play." (Dan Harlon, coworker and friend since 1989)