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‘Pem’ Farnsworth Dead At 98

5/02/2006 03:44:00 PM Eastern

Bountiful, Utah — Elma G. “Pem” Farnsworth, wife of Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of electronic television, died last Thursday, here, at the age of 98.

Born Feb. 25, 1908, in Jenson, Utah, Farnsworth moved with her parents to Provo, Utah, where she met and married Philo Taylor Farnsworth in 1926. She was on her husband’s lab team, handling technical drawings for his experiments with transmitting pictures through the air and was present on Sept. 7, 1927, in San Francisco when his invention of electronic television was first demonstrated successfully.

She was the first person ever to appear on television and is often referred to as “The Mother of Television.” Her drawings are part of the permanent collection in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington.

After her husband’s death in 1971, Farnsworth dedicated herself to preserving his legacy, keeping his name in its rightful place among great scientists and inventors of the 20th century.

She penned her autobiography, “Distant Vision: Romance and Discovery on the Invisible Frontier,” in 1990.

Thanks to her efforts, Philo Farnsworth was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame, is represented in statuary hall in Washington, and is featured with a handful of inventors on U.S. postal stamps. Her husband was also named to the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame.

Farnsworth is survived by her sister Lois, of Bountiful, Utah; her sons, Russell and Kent, from New York and Indiana, respectively; and 13 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Funeral services are pending, held in Provo, Utah, and for more information visit and

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