Ross Nash Farnsworth Sr. was an educator, businessman, and philanthropist. He was born in 1931 in Mesa, Arizona, and lived there virtually his entire life.
Farnsworth served as a Missionary in the Midwest for The Church of jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which he is a member. After returning to Arizona after his mission, he played football at Arizona State University, where he was also in the Army ROTC, and after graduation became a commissioned officer. He also attended Brigham Young University.
He met Anita Cox before his mission and they married after he returned. They moved briefly to Tempe for Ross to earn a master's degree in history with an emphasis in a field called Solving Government Problems.
Farnsworth’s first teaching job was at Mesa High teaching history and later political science. He later turned down an offer to be principal of a school to join his father and brothers in a business venture.
He and his father began a successful real estate development business by building one home on a 10-acre piece of land they owned near the Superstition Mountains. Within a few years, they built one hundred homes and developed a retirement community that included golf courses, tennis courts, and community centers. The small beginning turned into real estate, finance, mortgage, plumbing and building supplies, and golf course development companies. Farnsworth eventually owned a minority share of the Phoenix Suns.
He served on the governing board of the Maricopa County Community College District, was a member of the Mesa City Council, and served on the board of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce. He had a special devotion for the La Mesita Family Homeless Shelter. He served as president, drive chairman, and member of the board of directors of Mesa United Way for more than twenty years.
He and his wife, Anita Farnsworth, donated to Brigham Young University’s Harold B. Lee Library for many years. They served as the BYU library and alumni board members. The Juvenile Literature Library is named in their honor. They served on the BYU President’s Leadership Council.
He died on March 2, 2013.