Gregg Farmer entered the world on May 3, 1949 in McCaysville, Georgia. Very early in his life he successfully waged a battle against scarlet fever. Although he won the battle, however, it is possible that the disease hung around to cause complications that led to Gregg’s untimely death some 35 years later.
Gregg was an outstanding all-around athlete growing up in McCaysville. He excelled at basketball and fortunately grew to a height of 6’ 3” or so which allowed him to mix it up with the bigger athletes of his era.
Gregg played basketball and football as a freshman at West Fannin High School. When he began his second year of competition, however, he decided to concentrate all of his considerable skills to the game of basketball. He made the varsity squad as a sophomore and was a valuable reserve for the Yellow Jackets in that season of 1964-65. In a game with rival Murray County that season, Gregg was given the opportunity to start, replacing the starting center who was injured. Gregg responded with an 18-point effort helping West Fannin upset the favored Indians, 71-64. Farmer earned a varsity letter as a sophomore.
The 1965-66 and 1966-67 seasons were two of the most successful basketball campaigns in West Fannin sports history. Those two teams won a total of 42 games and appeared in the Georgia Class AA State Tournament both seasons. Gregg Farmer was a starting player for both of those teams, averaging more than 15 points per game as a junior and as a senior. Early in his career he was primarily an inside player but developed a deadly mid-range jump shot by the time his junior season rolled around.
The honors rolled in for Gregg during his last two seasons at West Fannin. He was named as the team’s Most Improved Player as a junior and then as the team Most Valuable Player for his efforts during his senior year. He was elected as the team captain in 1966-67. He was named to the Region 7AA All-Tournament team as a senior and scored more than 1,000 points during his basketball career at West Fannin. His teammates as West Fannin use such words as ‘unselfish’ and ‘unflappable’ when asked about Gregg Farmer the basketball player.
Area college recruiters took note of Gregg Farmer’s hardcourt exploits at West Fannin and he found himself the recipient of a full basketball scholarship to attend Truett-McConnell Junior College in Cleveland, Georgia. Gregg flourished as an all-around student, campus leader and athlete at Truett-McConnell. As a freshman in 1967-68, he scored 325 points in 24 games for a scoring average of 13.5 points per game. He was successful on 136 of 231 field goal attempts for an average of 58.9%. That percentage set a school record. He also grabbed 169 rebounds for an average of 7 per game. He was awarded the team Sportsmanship Award for his efforts.
In addition to his basketball accomplishments at Truett-McConnell, Gregg, who was something of an introvert naturally, became an integral part of campus life. He was elected as the vice-president of the freshman class, was named as the Outstanding Sophomore Student and even made frequent appearances on the Dean’s List.
Gregg’s numbers fell slightly in his sophomore year to averages of 9.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Coaches at four-year colleges in north and central Georgia, however, were impressed with Gregg’s all-around game and, again, he found himself the recipient of another full basketball scholarship. This time the grantor was West Georgia College in Carrollton, Georgia. Gregg won two varsity letters as a competitor at West Georgia.
It was at West Georgia that Gregg met Shirley Lippincott, a coed from Rome, Georgia. After graduation, the couple married and settled in McCaysville, Georgia. The union produced three daughters, Cassandra, Jessica and Monica.
Gregg opened his own insurance agency in McCaysville, Southland Insurance. With his business savvy and local contacts, he was able to establish a successful business and later opened a second office in Blue Ridge. Shirley taught school at Epworth and McCaysville Elementary Schools.
Shortly before his 36th birthday in April of 1985, Gregg sought medical care for what he believed to be a hernia. While in the hospital, Gregg died on April 12, 1985. He actually suffered an aneurysm and his obituary reports the cause of death as a heart attack. Who knows whether the scarlet fever that Gregg had fought as a young child played a part.
In any event, Gregg Farmer left his family, friends, community and business associates far too soon. The Fannin County Sports Hall of Fame intends to do its part in keeping an important part of his legacy alive.