Beth Farokhi, a prominent educator with deep roots in Georgia and a former Georgia state school superintendent candidate who was active in the Democratic Party, died at her home in Kennesaw on Friday from ovarian cancer. She was 70.
An eighth-generation Georgian, Farokhi worked for 24 years at Georgia State University, where she coordinated curriculum development in the College of Education. She also headed The Galloway School and the LaGrange College Alumni Association and served on the college’s board of trustees. This year, she was honored with the college’s Distinguished Service Alumni Award.
Farokhi ran unsuccessfully for the Cobb County School Board and for state school superintendent. She was a member of the Cobb County Democratic Party and led the Georgia Federation of Democratic Women’s education committee.
She particularly enjoyed helping other women succeed, said her son, Atlanta City Councilman Amir Farokhi. While at GSU, she established a women’s leadership program, founded and published an international gender equity newsletter and held leadership roles with the American Association of University Women.
“She got engaged in politics, which can be rough and tumble,” Amir Farokhi told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday. “One of the things that struck most people is that she was always supportive and kind to anyone she came into contact with, even those who may have been in opposition to her.”
Farokhi worked hard at rebuilding the Georgia Democratic Party, said DuBose Porter, the party’s chairman.
“We are in a pretty good spot now because of people like Beth Farokhi, who stayed in the trenches, never left, kept moving things forward, knowing that you would be better,” Porter said. “She was kind, thoughtful – you just felt like the world was right when you were with her.”
Born in Augusta to Helen and Walker Dupree, Farokhi graduated from the Academy of Richmond County, where she starred on the basketball team. She attended LaGrange College before moving to Marietta to teach elementary school. She received graduate degrees in education from Emory University and the University of Georgia.
In 1973, she married Nasrolah Farokhi, who immigrated here from Iran and who now teaches at Morris Brown College. She became an ardent supporter of Atlanta’s Persian community, welcoming more than 35 young Iranians into her home as they resettled in America.
In addition to her husband and son, Amir, she is survived by another son, Arman Rashidfarokhi of St. Louis.; a daughter, Sanaz Rashidfarokhi of Los Angeles; and her brother, Len Dupree of Blairsville.
The family is set to attend a private graveside service in Augusta on Monday. A public memorial service has been scheduled for July 7 at 2 p.m. at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.