Claude “Lee” Farrester was born in sunny Corona, California on September 8, 1953 to parents Claude & Dorothy (Hinds) Farrester, the oldest of three children. Lee graduated from Imbler High School in Imbler, Oregon in 1971 with a dream of becoming a police officer. He worked a variety of jobs to support his family while pursuing that dream, including reserving with the Union County Sheriff’s department. In 1987, Lee graduated from what was then Eastern Oregon State College with a degree focused on criminal justice and worked as a juvenile probation tracker before finally realizing his dream of working full time in law enforcement.
Lee began his career with the Elgin Police Department, then served the Union Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Toledo Police Department, Oregon Department of Corrections, Pilot Rock Police Department, Madras Police Department and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. In 2002, Lee was sworn in as the Chief of Police for the Culver Police Department. He served the citizens of Culver with honor and dedication, and was well-respected.
In March 2005 while on duty pursuing a high speed vehicle, Lee’s police car was struck by a semi-truck. He was ejected from the vehicle and sustained life-threatening injuries. Even after making a remarkable recovery, Lee’s injuries were severe enough that he was disabled from active duty and unable to return to work. Lee officially retired from the Culver Police Department in December 2005.
Lee turned his attention to his other great passion--his faith in God--and for the last 15 years was an active member of Metolius Friends Church. He served as an elder, visited church members, participated in missions work, and taught Bible Study. Lee was a beloved member of his church and his absence has been felt deeply.
In church, the community and especially his family, Lee was always ready to lend a helping hand. He was kind, loyal and had a great sense of humor, and never turned down a cup of coffee and conversation. He loved butter pecan ice cream, animals, cooking, trips to the mountains and anything outdoors related, real life police shows, movies about police work, and televised church services. Above all, Lee loved God, his country, and his family.
Lee was called to heaven March 23, 2020 in Madras, Oregon. He is survived by his wife, Fawn Farrester; four children, Rebecca (Bryan) Farrester-Milligan, Jacob (Brenda) Farrester, Travis Farrester, and Kristen Farrester; three grandchildren: Bradley, Ashlee and Lane Farrester; his parents Dorothy Hinds and Claude (Brenda) Farrester; his brother, Dan (Samantha) Farrester of the Madras Police Department; and several nephews, nieces, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his sister, Donna Lynette Van Horn March 5, 1990. Though dearly missed by all, Lee’s family is grateful for the years they had with him and proud of his constant and faithful service to his community.