Gerald's son, Jim, grew up doing two things:
Testing tubes after school and tinkering with his race cars.
Well ok, he also played the drums and was in a few bands including
The Dynamics and The Playboys.
He was also able to travel to Haiti & Jamaica with Gerald for a church mission to repair their equipment. These are memories that Jim will cherish forever.
Pictured to the right - Young Jim and Jim while vistiing Haiti. A Farnsworth Electronics 1960 newspaper advertisement along with Jim's business letterhead and The Dynamics Band photo, Jim playing the drums.
Jim's passion was SPEED, spending most of his off time at Cedar Falls Raceway among other tracks racing across the midwest. He would race his 1931 Ford Model A Coupe deemed
'The Hustler.' After graduating high school in 1962,
he attended Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa until he was drafted to Vietnam in 1968.
He even started his own newsletter in 1966.
The Coupe in it's many forms along with a 1966 Newspaper Column. Also shown is a sample of one of his many newsletters and Jim working at his desk on Mullan Avenue.
Jim served in the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1970.
When he returned, he took over the Farnsworth operations. He married LeeAnn Wittstock and they later divorced.
1972 was a monumental year for the Farnsworth family. They celebrated 50 Years Of Business and Jim welcomed a daughter, Angela. Jim would bring Anji down to the store every chance he could, just like his dad did when he was a kid.
Pictured to the right - Jim during his time in Vietnam along with is Apprenticeship Certificate. Newspaper Celebration Ad, Jim received recognition with Gerald by his side, Billboard Ad, Farnsworth Electronics featured in the newspaper and inside photos of 201 East Mullan with employee Sue Ham. Jim receives another award, this time for top stereo sales manufactured by J.B. Lansing, a letter received from Hawkeye College and newborn daughter, Angela.
Jim, of course, continued Racing.
He had a 1970 Pontiac Firebird Funny Car and would use his 1966 Chevy El Camino or his old Chevrolet ramp truck to haul the car.
Pictured to the left - 1972 Race Ad and Jim's car. Featured mechanics John 'Pat' McGourty and
Jim 'Casey' Stanbrough, who also worked at Farnsworth Electronics.
Pictured below - 1972 Neita Raceway Cedar Falls Iowa News Program.
In 1973, Jim opened Farny's Fono on The Hill in Cedar Falls, where the old Sub City used to be, across from the UNI campus. Unfortunately, just a year later in 1974 , the store closed. Most college kids simply didn't have much money to spend on stereo equipment back then. It was just a poor location for the times.
Thankfully, the repair shop was still in full force repairing and installing microphone systems at churches & hospitals along with sales of telelvisions, radios, turntables, and a plethora of other electronics.
Pictured to the left - Farny's Fono Newspaper Advertisments and the line of Farnsworth Electronics service vehicles in the parking lot along Sycamore Street and a truckload sales is sure to boost sales. The Lee Corporation debuted their Stereo "Egg Chair" and was very popular for several years. Many units would be on display and sold.
In 1974, Jim opened Farnsworth Stereo in the Crossroads Mall in Waterloo selling stereo equipment. Huge renovations took place to build a store that had two interior soundproof rooms, all encased by wood and glass.
Jim was also instrumental in helping his wife LeeAnn open a Pier 1 Imports franchise store in Cedar Falls.
Jim also continued to race until this time. He used a Dodge crew cab ramp truck to haul his 1973 Chevrolet Vega Funny Car. He then quit to focus on the business and spend as much time with his daughter as he could.
Pictured to the right - Inside and outside view of Farnsworth Stereo along with newspaper ads, Pier 1 Imports letter, Jim's funny car and trailer, a 1974 Newspaper Article and one of the many microphones that was used at Cedar Falls Raceway (white handled).
In 1976 Jim opened another Farnsworth Stereo location in the College Square Mall in Cedar Falls. Many customers can remember Playboy Bunnies entertaining at Open House events at both locations promoting major brands such as Bang & Olufsen, TEAC, Panasonic, Zenith, JVC, Sony, RCA, and Yamaha, just to name a few.
Also in 1976, Farnsworth Electronics featured the first 7 Foot Projector Televsion made by Advent.
Jim can remember when Sony introduced the Betamax video recorder. It recorded for an hour and the price tag was $1,000. Soon after Sony brought out a two hour tape, Panasonic introduced the VHS format recorder, which could record for four hours. Soon Betamax was no longer and the VHS tape was here to stay. It was always said that the electronics business was the only business that was on the leading edge of technology today and that technology was obsolete tomorrow. That technology was also seen in high fidelity which later became stereo sound. Jim says "we went from vinyl records to wire recorders to 8-track to open reel tapes to cassette tapes to CD's and appears we're going back to vinyl again, which is pretty neat."
Pictured to the right - Inside the Mullan Avenue location, Farnsworth Stereo ad, Jim looking handsome, Jim and Nikki (Anji's favorite Playboy bunny), the 7 Foot TV Set and advertisement.
Jim would continue to try and increase sales by way of Playboy Bunnies at sale events, but by 1978, Farnsworth Electronics stereo sales were declining. However, replacement parts were still being sold rapidly. He introduced the first Farnsworth Electronics Master Catalog. The publication was expensive so he only had two years printed.
By the end of 1978, Jim would close both mall stores and 201 East Mullan Avenue would be the one and only location moving forward. As technology grew, electronic equipment became less expensive and more disposable. Big box retailers had better buying power so it was difficult to have competitive prices. Jim saw that shift and decided that distribution of parts and supplies would be the best direction to go.
Jim joined a service to mankind club called, Sertoma. This organization has clubs all over the United States and the world. They of course had had local clubs, one in Cedar Falls and one in Waterloo. Sertoma's focus is assisting the more then 50 million people with hearing issues. Gerald had several hearing problems. Jim was the Governor of Iowa from 1983-1985 and then served as International Director for Sertoma. Jim made some wonderful friends during his years with the club. He and his family traveled to yearly summer conventions to Denver, CO., Toronoto, Canada, Chicago, IL., Washington D.C., Kansas City, MO., New Orleans, LA., and Charleston, S.C. Anji was able to experience the great sites of each city in the kids program while Jim attended conferences all day.
Pictured to the left - Jim and a playboy bunny, 1978 Ads, Covers of the 1978 and 1979 Farnsworth Electronics catalogs and Jim's brochure when running for Sertoma International Director.
A big shift happened between the late 70's and 80's in the world of electronics. Computer technology was about to change.... everything.
In 1985, Jim met Robyn and they married in 1987. Robyn started working at Farnsworth Electronics
Jim officially closed the service department in 1989, but continued doing small circuit board repairs, testing tubes, assembling wire harnesses and other small repairs. Robyn enjoys soldering!
That same year, James II was born. They would nickname him Jamie.
Unfortunately, Pat Farnsworth passed away just 10 days after James II was born.
RIP Gramma Pat!
Pictured to the right - Jim at his desk, UNI award and his business cards over the years. Also featured is Jim and Robyn at their wedding with Gerald and Pat by their sides along with Pat holding James II with Gerald at the hospital.
In 1991, like anyone going through a midlife crisis, Jim decided to purchase a 1989 Chevy Crew Cab with a 42 Foot enclosed trailer and stuck a 1989 Dodge Daytona Top Alcohol Funny Car inside which he would drive going 245 MPH. He started racing the midwest NHRA circuit traveling to tracks in Denver, CO., Casper, WY. Brainard, MN., Topeka, KS. and many others. It was awesome to be around great friends again like Vern Moats. He was a true inspiration to many. Jim and Robyn met a lot of good people over the years. The car was mostly sponsored by a Jamaican hotel resort along with some other small sponsors. Jim continued to travel to Jamaica yearly and also introduced Robyn to the tropical paradise.
In 1992 after graduating college, Anji started working at Farnsworth Electronics temporarily, until she found a job in her career path, which was defintely not electronics. Jim's son, Jamie, would come down to work with mom, just like Anji did when she was little.
In 1999 however, Jim hung up his firesuit and Gerald passed away.
Pictured to the left - Jim and Robyn, Jim's TAFC's throughout the years along with his best friend and former racer Vern Moats along with Robyn celebrating her 40th Birthday.
As a new century turned, Jim's focus would continue on wholesale distribution of industrial electronic parts and supplies. Robyn and Anji would also continue to work with Jim.
Jim and Robyn would be active with their son, Jamie at the local BMX tracks. Farnsworth Electronics was a proud sponsor. Once again, meeting a lot of wonderful people from 2000-2005. The BMX bicycle soon got set aside for 4 wheels. Just like his dad, Jamie got the need for speed in his blood too.
Jim followed in Gerald's footsteps, changing the tower lights. The adrenaline rush would pass on because Anji was an avid climber as well. Jim fondly remembers climbing the tower one Saturday morning and looking down only to see a 6 year old Anji on the third row chasing after her daddy.
Pictured to the right - Jim pretending he's Ringo Starr, Robyn soldering in Gerald's old office, another close up of Jim, Jim's son Jamie taking a selfie with DaddyO, the Farnsworth tower along with Anji and Jim posing for a newspaper article.
In 2014, Jim put the tower up for sale. The property taxes continued to sore year after year and renters were very hard to find. Fortunately, Coloff Media purchased it in 2015 and would use it for broadcasting radio signals.
In 2015, Farnsworth Electronics hosted their first Open House in decades.
After some unfortunate turn of events, in 2016 Anji purchased the business and moved to a new location. It was hard leaving a building that had so much history nevertheless there's a lot of memories that will be cherished forever. Jim officially retired, but again, just like Gerald, you can often find Jim down at the shop helping out.
He still enjoys watching NHRA, loves to cook (and eat!) along with being with others. Robyn will still get out her soldering iron from time to time. They both continue to enjoy retired life!
Pictured to the left - Robyn enjoying soldering, Jim talking on the phone, cleaning windows while Mallory supervises, Jim pretending to be busy, the Farnsworth building along with the last two logos of Farnsworth Electronics on Mullan Avenue and finally Jim and Robyn together.
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