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In Memory of Earl Fairbanks


Saturday March 5th from 1:00 until 3:00 PM at the O'Connell Family Funeral Home of Hudson

Funeral Services

Saturday March 5th at 3:00 PM at the O'Connell Family Funeral Home of Hudson

Earl Roger Fairbanks, age 88, of Hudson, an advocate for the environment, died Wednesday Feb. 23, 2011, surrounded by loving family after a long and courageous journey.

Born Jan. 8, 1923, in Minneapolis, MN, he moved to Hudson 62 years ago. He graduated from Minneapolis Washburn High (1940) and the University of Minnesota Institute of Technology (1948) as a mechanical engineer who worked for United Refrigerator Co. of Hudson for 21 years, with 13 years as chief engineer. He did pioneering work in refrigeration.

He and Ruby, his wife of 62 years, raised a family in Hudson, spending most of it on the St. Croix River.

He loved dancing and Dixieland music and had a zest for life and love of nature. His interests included fly-fishing, hiking, canoeing and identifying and photographing wildflowers with Ruby.

Roger will be remembered for his commitment to protecting the environment. He helped organize the Kiap-TU-Wish Trout Unlimited chapter. He also helped start the Willow River OWLS at Willow River State Park to enhance the Nature Center and the nature education program. From 1979 to 1993 he received national and state awards for his environmental work. His message: “We have to get more people involved, more people interested in protecting the environment.”

Roger was a WWII B-24 navigator in the South Pacific. He and his pilot, Robert Ellingson of Roseville, wrote a history of their experiences, now part of the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. He served in the Wisconsin National Guard for 3½ years and was active in the Hudson VFW for many years.

He was a 13th generation descendent of Puritan immigrant Jonathan Fairbanke, who sailed from England to Dedham, MA, in 1633 and built what now is the oldest wood frame house in America.

Roger will be deeply missed but will be carried in our hearts forever. He was preceded in death by his mother, Gladys (Swanson) Fairbanks, and father, Earl Caswell Fairbanks. He is survived by his wife, Ruby (Edling); daughters, Sheryl Fairbanks (Warren Wolfe) of Roseville, MN, and Katherine Fairbanks of Hudson, WI; sister Phyllis (David) Gilbert & family of Florida and nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be at O’Connell Family Funeral Home in Hudson from 1:00 until 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 5th, followed by a memorial service at 3:00 p.m. Private internment at Fort Snelling National Cemetery will be at a later date. Memorial contributions are suggested to Trout Unlimited Kiap-TU-Wish chapter, Prairie Enthusiasts St. Croix Valley chapter, or another environmental group.

Services have been entrusted to the O’Connell Family Funeral Home & Countryside Crematory, 715-386-3725.

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