Atlanta’s King family mourns passing of Isaac Farris Sr.


The family of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is mourning the loss of one of its patriarchs.

Isaac Newton Farris Sr., husband of Christine King Farris and brother-in-law of Martin Luther King Jr., died peacefully at home Saturday, the family announced. He was 83.

Farris, a founding member of the King Center Board of Trustees, married Christine King Farris in 1960 in a ceremony performed by her brothers, Martin and A.D.

Farris was an entrepreneur who served as a project manager for the construction of the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change. He also was a deacon and trustee at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he was a member for more than 60 years.

“My father was a very strong man, a very religious man,” his son, Isaac Farris Jr., told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Saturday. 

After the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and A.D. King, Farris said his father became “a pillar of strength” for the family. He also helped establish and build the King Center.

Farris did not seek out the limelight, his son said. 

“He did not have a large ego, but he was a secure man,” Farris said. “Because he didn’t need the spotlight, I don’t think a lot of people realized how important a force he was within our family.”

Farris’ daughter, Angela Farris Watkins, said her father was strong but “very loving and unassuming.”

“He was full of wisdom,” she said. “He was the rock for our entire family.”

In addition to his wife, a professor emerita at Spelman College, and his children, he is survived by a granddaughter, Farris Watkins; sister Gail Farris Joyce; and many nephews, nieces and cousins. Funeral arrangements will be handled by Willie A. Watkins Funeral Home in Atlanta.

Read and sign the online guestbook for Isaac Newton Farris Sr.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Man shot several times in the head in southwest Atlanta
Man shot several times in the head in southwest Atlanta

A man was taken to the hospital after he was shot in the head two to three times, Atlanta police said.  The shooting happened at the intersection of Ridge Avenue and Pryor Street in southwest Atlanta just before 9:30  p.m. Tuesday, Officer Stephanie Brown said.   “The victim has been transported to Grady Memorial Hospital...
Alleged Ghost Face Gangster on parole arrested in stabbing 
Alleged Ghost Face Gangster on parole arrested in stabbing 

A man police believe is connected to the Ghost Face Gangsters was arrested in a racially motivated stabbing, police told the Athens-Banner Herald. Emory Mason Dean, 25, was released Jan. 17 on parole from Ware State Prison in Waycross, the newspaper reported.  He was immediately arrested on charges of aggravated assault related to the beating...
Owner of Atlanta gay bar under fire after controversial posts surface
Owner of Atlanta gay bar under fire after controversial posts surface

Several people are expressing outrage after controversial Facebook posts surfaced on the account of the owner of Burkhart’s Pub.  Palmer Marsh, 70, has owned the gay and drag bar in Atlanta’s Ansley Square for decades. A screenshot that appears to show him using a racial slur about former President Barack Obama has been...
Fulton County residents want equitable transit plan in north and south
Fulton County residents want equitable transit plan in north and south

As much as they were interested in where any proposed Fulton County transit expansions would go, residents also wanted to know what good they would do. Would adding bus rapid transit bring more jobs? Would it help decrease the amount of traffic? And were county leaders thinking through the proposals, to make sure they would be putting transit in places...
DeKalb considers cutting penalties for marijuana possession
DeKalb considers cutting penalties for marijuana possession

DeKalb County wants to join the cities of Atlanta and Clarkston in decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, but a change in state law is needed. Clarkston in 2016 became the first city in Georgia to relax marijuana laws, making possession of less than an ounce of marijuana no longer punishable by jail time. Last year in October...
More Stories