Bodies of former Alaskans identified in Washington mudslide

Tegan Hanlon

Family members have identified the bodies of a mother and her son, two longtime Alaska residents, after a mudslide flattened their Washington state home March 22.

Fifty-nine-year-old Julie Farnes's name was one of 18 released by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office Monday afternoon. The next day, family said a medical examiner called asking questions about a body that was "undoubtedly" Adam Farnes, the 23-year-old son, said his uncle, Richard Urton.

The Farnes family lived in Cordova, about 150 miles southeast of Anchorage, for decades before moving to the tiny Washington neighborhood last year. Julie Farnes was Cordova's only UPS contractor and her husband, Jerry, worked for the local electric company. Together, they raised three boys in the small fishing village where Adam Farnes grew up and found employment as a police dispatcher.

The couple retired and left Alaska with Adam Farnes to a state where their oldest son, Brian, lived.

Friends described Farnes as caring, funny and well-traveled. He played drums, banjo and guitar and had a big laugh, said Kellie Howe, who lives in a nearby Washington town. "He's just one of the nicest people," she said.

Urton said his sister, Julie Farnes, knew everyone. She "never met a stranger, just new friends," he said. She was born in California, married to her best friend and her family was the only thing she loved more than quilting, he said.

Her husband was away from the riverside home the day the hillside fell. Urton said he remains in Washington with his oldest and youngest son, making daily trips to the rescue shelters to check on neighbors and friends.

Reach Tegan Hanlon at or 257-4589.