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Passion with a purpose: County commissioner crafts wooden pens for a cause

“I call these pens Margaret. My mom was Margaret. When we first came to America, she fell in love with Oregon’s myrtlewood. Myrtlewood pens are all made for my mom.”

Posted: Mar 1, 2021 2:19 PM
Updated: Mar 1, 2021 6:45 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- For nearly a decade, Lane County Commissioner Pat Farr has crafted personalized wooden pens from the woodshop in his Bethel garage.

He’s given out hundreds to people within nonprofits in Lane County, as well as to numerous individuals across the world.

“I love special wood that has a special meaning to people,” Farr said.

Each pen takes about 30 minutes to an hour to make, and they’re created with intention and detail.

A friend has even given personalized, unique cases to Farr for no cost.

They're crafted almost exclusively from wood made in Oregon -- Myrtlewood, Vine Maple and Black Walnut to name a few.

“A friend of mine, Bill Dwyer, a former county commissioner, had a cherry tree that his wife loved in particular," Farr said. "When he harvested the tree and had to cut it down, he gave me a piece of the wood and I was able to make a number of pens for him that will forever remind him of Janet, his wife. Those pens are called Janet."

Farr moved from England in 1965 as a child and came to Eugene in 1973.

“About three hours after I got to the University of Oregon, I met my wife,” Farr said.

He shared about one of the pens that holds a special meaning to him.

“This is myrtlewood,” Farr said. “I call these pens Margaret. My mom was Margaret. When we first came to America, she fell in love with Oregon’s myrtlewood. Myrtlewood pens are all made for my mom.”

There was even a Redwood tree around a thousand years old that was struck by lightning. Farr crafted a pen from the fragile wood of that tree.

Farr said he first began woodworking after helping a friend through a difficult time. They decided to learn the skill together. This sparked an even greater desire to help those who could need it the very most.

“I’ve been getting a little better as I go along, but I really enjoy doing it because it doesn't take me long. I see the results immediately," Farr said.

At the end of the day, Farr said it’s a rewarding feeling to see the joy on each face who receives a pen.

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