Guy Otto Farmer, 83, a retired Washington labor lawyer who represented the Bituminous Coal Operators Association in negotiations with the United Mine Workers, died Oct. 4 at Sibley Memorial Hospital after a stroke.
Mr. Farmer, a former partner in the law firm Patterson, Belknap and Farmer, served as chairman of the National Labor Relations Board during the Eisenhower administration. He began his legal career in Washington in 1938 as an NLRB staff attorney and later served as chief of the NLRB staffs in Minneapolis and Los Angeles and as associate general counsel in Washington.
Mr. Farmer, who lived in Washington, was born in Fosters Falls, Va. He grew up in McDowell County, W.Va., and graduated from West Virginia University, where he also received a law degree. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University in England after law school, then moved to Washington to join the NLRB.
In 1945, he left the labor relations board to join the Washington law firm Steptoe & Johnson, where he remained until 1953, when President Eisenhower named him NLRB chairman. He held that position until 1955, when he returned to private practice with Patterson, Belknap and Farmer.
There, Mr. Farmer began a long association with the Bituminous Coal Operators Association, the labor bargaining arm of the coal industry. He later served as general counsel to the association, and he played a key role in contract talks with the United Mine Workers.
He appeared in the prize-winning documentary movie about the eastern Kentucky coal fields, "Harlan County."
He was a member of the Cosmos Club.
His marriage to Rose Marie Smith ended in divorce. His second wife, Helen Marie Joura Farmer, died in 1974.
Survivors include a son from his first marriage, Guy Otto Farmer Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla.; and three children from his second marriage, Mary K. Shaughnessy of Baltimore, Mark M. Farmer of Alexandria and Jane M. Farmer of North Potomac.