Dr. Henry Farrar, a pioneering medical missionary in Africa, died Feb. 22 in a Nashville, Tenn., hospital. He was 83.
Six days before his death, Farrar fell and hit his head after arriving at Carthage, Tenn., General Hospital where he worked. The fall caused a neck fracture and complications from which he never recovered.
In 1965 Farrar became the first located surgeon at Nigerian Christian Hospital, a church-supported medical mission in southeastern Nigeria. The West End Church of Christ in Nashville sponsored Farrar.
British physician Dr. Robert Whittaker succeeded Farrar 20 years later. Whittaker came to Nigeria after reading an article by Farrar inviting physicians to spend vacation time at the hospital.
Farrar earned his medical degree from the University of Tennessee. In addition to his work in Nigeria, he served as a surgeon at Chimala Mission Hospital in Zambia. In 2005 a leader of the Asa community in Nigeria gave him the honorary title of chief. He and his wife, Grace, had six children.
At his bedside, Farrar’s family sang his favorite hymns, including “Let the Lower Lights be Burning” and “We’re Marching to Zion,” said daughter Marty Highfield.
Janice Bingham, associate professor in the College of Nursing at Harding University in Searcy, Ark., described Farrar as an “icon in medical missions.”
In a message to Farrar, Bingham wrote, “You have influenced literally thousands of people to serve the Great Physician in Africa.”
[The Christian Chronicle]