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Farmington mayor recalls recently deceased citizens during city council meeting

City also approves ordinance prohibiting marijuana use in public

 In the midst of running through a light agenda, Farmington Mayor Larry Forsythe spent a good portion of the Sept. 25 city council meeting recalling city residents who had recently died that had meant a great deal to him throughout his life.

After calling the meeting into session, Forsythe addressed the council, saying, “Before we start, I’d like to take a couple of seconds. We’re losing people, and for those of you who have been here a long time, you’ll know some of the people that we’re losing and some of them we don’t really want to lose, but that’s the way life is.

Reba Lois Mel died on Sept. 22, 2023. She was the wife of Bob Mel, who owned Mel’s Masonry in Farmington. Most of the brick houses and most of the buildings you see in town were built by the Mels. They’d brick the buildings, so our hearts go out to them. And also Doris Dennison, who was the wife of Marcus Dennison. They lived on Washington Street across from the Calvary Cemetery. Doris cared for many children in her home.”

Farmington mayor recalls recently deceased citizens during Sept. 25 city council meeting. (Kevin R. Jenkins)

Forsythe noted that Mrs. Dennison had cared for him and his brothers when he was four years old.

“When my mom and dad got divorced, she had no place to go with us, so she took me to Mrs. Dennison,” he said. And that’s why I’m saying her name tonight. She was a very sweet lady.

Also, we lost one of the true Farmington people who migrated from Rolla to Farmington. She was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, in 1948. I’m talking about Lynn Crites. Lynn was our librarian. It says in 1984, she was a part-time volunteer at the library, and in ’85, she became assistant librarian. In ’88, she was promoted to library director.

Forsythe recalled that when Crites took over as librarian in 1988, the library began to excel.

“It just went to a different plateau,” he said. “I’m not going to harp on the old librarians. I don’t even know who they were, but Lynn kind of took it to another level and made the library what it is today. I do believe that if it wasn’t for Lynn Crites being the director, we wouldn’t have the new library over here. And she was a very, very good [city] council person. I served with her for three years. So, have these people in your heart, please, because these people will never come back, but their memories will always be with you when you close your eyes — especially mine.”

Crites, who died Sept. 19 at the age of 75 years old, retired from the library in January 2022. That same year, she received the Journal/Press Leader Citizen of the Year Award. She served three full terms on the city council after being appointed to it on April 27, 2009. Crites stepped down from the council in April 2016.

Additionally, Crites served as Book Committee chairman for the History of Farmington publication. She was a former member of the Kiwanis Club and attended New Heights Church. A memorial service was held for Crites on Wednesday at Cozean Memorial Chapel, with her pastor, Rocky Good, officiating.

In other business, the city council held a first reading of an ordinance approving an amendment to the municipal code prohibiting the smoking or consumption of marijuana in public. Also, second readings of ordinances approved the reclassification of zone districts at 316 N. Jefferson St., as well as at 910 and 912 Joyce Drive. Finally, a first and second reading of an ordinance approving the city’s fiscal year 2023 operating budget and expenditures.

Kevin R. Jenkins is the editor of the Daily Journal and Farmington Press. He can be reached at or






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