Farnham, Ray (1999)
“Mr. SPA.” (State Principals Association) was the way many coaches, athletes, and schoolboy sports fans came to know Ray Farnham. The diligence and efficiency he displayed for the State Principals Association maybe obscured the fact that he was once a top-notch baseball player.
Beginning in Brownville Junction, where he was born in 1911, Ray was a consistent performer through the late “20s and the 30s. He was usually on winning teams - and he was versatile.
At Brownville Junction he pitched and played 3b from 1925 to 238.
He played on county championship clubs. in 1931 he played shortstop for Higgins Classical Institute, which copped the State Prep School title.
At Colby College, where he received his B.S. in Education in 1936, Ray played ss for awhile - after a pinch-hit homer against Bates (or was It Bowdoin)??? - Capt. Paddy Davan moved to the outfield. The next three years Ray held down an outfield berth and Colby won a pair of state titles in 1934 and ‘35.
Farnham’s summer stints included the Brownville Junction Beavers in the Piscataquis County League, the Milo Merchants and Newport A.A. in the Eastern Maine League. He was described as a hard-hitting left-handed batter, who usually hit third. He must have been respected because against the Orono A.A. in 1936 he once received five consecutive bases on balls.
After graduation from Colby, Ray became Mr. Farnham. teacher coach, first at Milo 1936 to ’38 and then Madison 1938-'42. At both schools, Ray coached baseball, basketball and football.
In 1942, Ray embarked on an administrative career, beginning with the principal’s role at Madison. World War I] interrupted his new career, but he returned to Madison for 1946 to ‘49. Then it was on to Morse High in Bath from 1949 to 1967.
In 1947, Principal Farnham became chairman of the SPA physical activities committee. This committee initiated a plan for state baseball playoffs. The plan was soon abandoned. But in 1967 Ray became the first full-time Executive Secretary of the SPA and in this capacity, with the help of the Coaches Association, was able to revive the playoffs.
Of course, Ray’s work with the other sports from 1967 to 74 was equally noteworthy and this was recognized by his induction into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 1978.
He and his wife, Ruth, both retirees, live in Bath and have three adult “children”.
From Maine Sports Hall of Fame
Inducted in 1978
Raymond W. Farnham could most appropriately be designated as the "Father" of the State Principals Association, having instituted many of the policies now governing that astute and most powerful legislator of Maine interscholastic sports. As a most intimate associate best states it, "I know of no man that has given so unselfishly of himself to further the cause of Maine. Nobody can deny the the contributions made by this man." A native of Brownsville Junction, and graduate of its High School, this former basketball, football, and baseball star from Colby's Class of 1938 first exercised his native abilities as Submaster and Coach at Milo High School through 1938, followed by first the Coach and later Principal at Madison High School through 1949, and through 1967 as Principal at Morse High School in Bath. It was his appointment as the first Executive Secretary of the State Principals Association, a position he held from 1967 through 1974, that brought renown to this dynamic personality. In addition to his forty years of dedication to Maine interscholastic sports, Ray Farmham served with the U.S. Army from 1944 through 1946, served on the Western Maine Basketball Commission for thirteen years, and Chairman of the New England Basketball Commission in 1962-'63. Few men have built a finer monument to their accomplishments than has Raymond Willard Farnham.