Sibyl Farson Obituary – Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Sibyl Farson died on Sunday, September 25, 2022 in Beaumont, California. She was 93 years old. Her sudden passing was unexpected since she was consistently active, sociable and cheerful in her last days, just as she had been throughout her life.

She was born on November 11, 1928, an only child, to Florence and Frederick Mayhew in Norwood, Massachusetts. In reference to her holiday birthday, she always called herself “a peace baby.” It was a fitting description for a woman who loved parties and telling humorous stories. This love of stories ultimately propelled her into an award-winning career in journalism, but even as a young child she wrote plays and poetry and knew she wanted to be a writer. She also developed a great love of movies at a young age. It would serve her well.

In 1965, she was hired at the Worcester Telegram and Gazette as an editorial assistant. Shortly after her arrival, editors assigned her book reviews and lifestyle pieces on architecture and gardening. It quickly became apparent, however, Sibyl’s true calling was bringing to vibrant life the everyday occupations and activities of local residents.

In the 1970’s, she produced a weekly column, focusing on the “man on the street”: cobblers, strippers, carpenters, dog-trainers, even donut-makers. No one’s job was too small not to be made interesting by Sibyl Farson. She also spent many an evening reviewing theater productions, often returning home well after midnight, just to get up a few hours later to work on her signature columns or a feature story. Her output was prodigious and sometimes controversial. She wrote long, investigative pieces on unfair rental practices, incest, life inside prison and abuse shelters.

In the 1980s, she segued her passion for entertainment into a second weekly column. Before she retired in late 1991, she had ratcheted up over 300 interviews with celebrities and people in the film and music industries. Although she adored the early screen stars and their classic movies, she learned to appreciate and highlight the work of an up-and-coming generation of performers, like Tom Cruise, Susan Sarandon, Tom Hanks and Sally Field.

Sibyl joked that her struggles with weight were an occupational hazard. Many of her interviews were conducted over a meal. She was hard-pressed to turn down an invitation to dine with opera legend, Pavarotti, or share breakfast with actor Dustin Hoffman or attend a party for then Senator Joe Biden or even to chat with author Norman Mailer over appetizers.

In retirement, she wrote a restaurant column for Worcester Magazine and some lifestyle pieces for The Lowell Sun and created yet another celebrity column for the California senior magazine, Not Born Yesterday. In her mid-70s, she turned her love of stories and interviewing into a cable talk show, Worcester Here and Now on WCCA, Channel 13 where she once again spotlighted the finer aspects of local life. Once a month, Sibyl could also be found at Showcase Cinemas, introducing their popular classic movie series.

When she departed Worcester for California in 2009, the State Senate honored Sibyl for her far-reaching contributions.

Despite her public career, her final wish was for her cremated ashes to be dispersed in the Pacific Ocean in a private ceremony. She leaves behind her two children: daughter, Kristin Farson of Palm Springs, CA, and son, Gregory Farson of Las Cruces, NM and many loving friends and cousins.

Posted online on October 01, 2022

Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette

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