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The Farris family was considered a prominent family in the Vancouver area, producing distinguished lawyers and scholars over several generations. The patriarch, John Wallace de Beque Farris (1878–1970) was a successful lawyer in Vancouver and an active member of the Canadian Bar Association. Farris was also active in politics throughout his life, and acted as the Liberal MLA for Vancouver, the Attorney General and Minister of Labour, and was called to the Senate in 1937. Evlyn Fenwick Farris (1878-1971) was a scholar and advocate for continuing education and women's rights. She was the founder of the first University Women's Club of Vancouver, and was elected to the Senate of the University of British Columbia. These eminent positions afforded the Farris family an elevated station in their community, and the opportunity to associate with families not only in the Vancouver elite, but with other prominent Canadians.
John Wallace and Evlyn married in 1905, and had four children, Katherine Hay, Donald Fenwick, Ralph Keirstead, and John Lauchlan. The Farris family's prestige also contributed to the success of their children. Evlyn and John Wallace's son, John Lauchlan Farris (1911-1986) was well-known as the Chief Justice of British Columbia, and was a Harvard Law School graduate. After being called to the bar in British Columbia in 1935, he had a successful legal career and became a leading litigation counsel in Vancouver. Dorothy Beatrice Farris (1912-2004), a University of British Columbia graduate, and homemaker, married John Lauchlan in 1933 and had three children, Ann, Haig, and Katherine.