Dr. Mel Farnsworth began his professional career as an educator. He taught junior and senior high school for five years while at the same time obtaining his Masters of Education. While he thoroughly enjoyed the profession of teaching, Dr. Farnsworth realized that he preferred being his own boss and answering to the needs of those he served. As a result he went back to under-graduate school to obtain the pre-requisites for medical school. During the two years of gaining the pre-requisites he was reminded of the positive experience he always enjoyed during his eye examinations. Consequently he applied and was accepted to Southern California College of Optometry where he graduated with his Doctor of Optometry degree in 1983. After graduation he purchased one of the longest continuing practices of optometry in Washington, located in Anacortes, Washington. Since that time, Dr. Farnsworth has been very active in his profession and his community of Anacortes. He has chaired the American Heart Association fund raiser, he has served on the committee of the Anacortes Hospital Foundation, he has also served as a board member and President of the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce. In an attempt to use his educational background he has served as a board member and then Chairman of the Skagit Adventist School Board. When Dr. Farnsworth first arrived in Anacortes, he was asked to join the local Rotary Club. Over the years that he has been a member of that club he has served as Secretary and then President. He was then asked to be the Foundation Chairmen of Rotary District 5050 and then District Governor. During this time he was also very active in his optometric profession as member of the Washington Optometric Association and also president of the Mount Baker Optometric Society. Dr. Farnsworth has a long standing belief in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. As a result he has been an elder, board member, and chairmen of the Mount Vernon Seventh-day Adeventist Church. Subsequently he developed a church plant in Anacortes, where he served as board chairmen during its formative years. Dr. Farnsworth has a lovely wife, Sue; two wonderful children, Adam and Ashley and their spouses, Diana and Alan. Dr. Farnsworth is very proud that his daughter, Ashley will graduate from Pacific University College of Optometry in 2014 and come join him in practice to continue the excellent care that Island Optometry Clinic has provided since 1942 when the practice was established in Anacortes.
Anacortes American article, Fall of 1983
Anacortes optometrist Dr. Jack Reid announces the staffing of an associate at Island Optometry Clinic, 712 Commercial Ave.
Farnsworth and his wife, Sue, are not newcomers to the Northwest. Walla Walla, their original home, is where both attended college. He received his bachelor of science degree in 1972 and his master of education degree in 1975 from Walla Walla College.
Before deciding to enter optometry, Farnsworth taught school on the junior high and senior high level in Mountlake Terrace and in Pennsylvania.
“I loved teaching and working with young people,” he said, “and optometry allows me to continue doing that besides offering a specific health service for the community.”
The Farnsworths have a son, Adam, who arrived this past spring in time to be a special graduation present.
“Anacortes is the ideal place to raise a family,” said Sue Farnsworth. “It has a small-town atmosphere with opportunities and characteristics we are anxious to be a part of and enjoy.”