Christian values led Farthing down path to treasurer
JEFFERSON CITY — Preaching part time in college during the late 1960s began Rod Farthing's career as a minister in Missouri and across the country.
Born Aug. 30, 1949, in Mt. Vernon, Ill., Farthing was raised by his parents in a close-knit family environment.
PERSONAL: 59. He is married to Jan Farthing. They have six children and one granddaughter.
PARTY AFFILIATION: Constitution Party
CAMPAIGN WEB SITE: constitutionpartymo.org
OCCUPATION: Development director with American Rehabilitation Ministries
EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in Bible and ministry from St. Louis Christian College, 1971.
BACKGROUND: Former treasurer of the Alexander Christian Foundation, a scholarship group; secretary and chairman of the Dent County Salvation Army board.
WHAT'S THE JOB?
The state treasurer is Missouri state government's chief financial office. The treasurer's office manages $20 billion in annual state revenue, directs the state's banking services, and manages the state's $3.5 billion investment portfolio. The office safeguards more than $450 million in unclaimed assets that have been turned over by banks, businesses, insurance companies and government agencies, and it tries to find the rightful owners. The state treasurer also serves on the management boards of a number of public entities. State treasurers serve four-year terms. The salary is $104,608 per year.
"I had a very appropriate and balanced family life with parents who lived until very recently," Farthing said. At the time of his mother's death, his parents had been married 66 years.
All three children, each separated by seven years, ended up involved in the ministry. Farthing's brother is also a minister, and his sister is married to one.
Farthing cites the Christian values his parents taught him as leading him down his current career path, as well as preparing him for the role of Missouri treasurer.
"The nation has always been strong because its leaders have basic down-to-earth moral values," he said. "They may not all have come from strong families, but they have the desire to establish personal and family responsibilities as well as integrity that obviously makes them more prepared and qualified for leading in any capacity."
Farthing met his wife, Jan, at St. Louis Christian College in Florissant, where he pursued a bachelor's degree in Bible and ministry. They have been married for 38 years.
St. Louis Christian was a "small, small college, unbelievably small." Farthing said it had only about 120 students in 1969 when he and his wife met. The size of the school allowed Farthing to know nearly all his fellow students.
The Farthings have six children, ranging from 35 to 12 in age.
"We spread (the kids) out pretty good so it wasn't as onerous as some people would anticipate," Farthing said. "We had enough interval there that we never felt overwhelmed."
Religion and his own family life have always been closely entwined.
"(Being a minister) allowed me to merge family activities and church activities," he said. "It was just natural that you didn't make a distinction."
When he travels around the country making presentations for ARM Prison Outreach International, for which he is the national development director, his family would make a vacation of it.
Over the years, Farthing has worked for several different ministries, organizations and causes.
"I've always been one to get involved in things," he said. "It's all because I wanted to be involved in appropriate causes."
Besides serving as a minister for nine years at a church in Salem, Farthing also has worked for the Salvation Army, for a Christian scholarship foundation and as the chairman for a political group that worked to maintain the prohibition of alcohol sales in Madisonville, Ky.
When working on the Dent County Salvation Army board, the group raised almost $20,000 in a county of fewer than 15,000 people.
He has served as treasurer for several groups, including the Missouri Christian Convention, one of the largest church state conventions; and the Alexander Christian Foundation, an organization that provides scholarships to Bible college students.
"In all those cases, I learned how to work with people, I worked for good causes, and I learned a little bit about keeping track of foundation accounts," Farthing said.
Farthing said he would maintain the good policies he believes incumbent Treasurer Sarah Steelman has established, especially with anti-terror investments and investing in Missouri businesses.
"(The Constitution Party candidates) are trying to keep those good policies going as well as bring a heightened awareness that every state office and every state agency needs to be mindful of the Missouri and U.S. constitutions," Farthing said.
Farthing said he has based his work around helping others.
In his work visiting the elderly, he frequently met with a World War II veteran who was staying in a veterans' home care facility in St. James. During every visit, the man would quietly recite Psalm 23 with Farthing.
On a recent visit, Farthing quoted John 14, and the man said they were going to live in mansions in heaven. He then asked if Farthing thought they were going to live on the same street and said he hoped they would.
Farthing remembered that visit quite clearly, touched that the man wanted to be neighbors with him and that he was able to give the man some hope of better things to come.